Feb 11 2013

Sunderland Set for £5M Investment for Seafront

Roker seafront: More changes coming!

Sunderland Set for £5M Investment for Seafront

SUNDERLAND’s seafront is set to receive a further £5m worth of investment.

The City Council today secured £2m from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, which with £800,000 in Council match funding, will deliver further infrastructure works designed to pave the way for the long-term development of the Ocean Park site and the seafront at Seaburn.

Sunderland’s £2m from the Coastal Communities Fund is the second largest allocation announced by the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government).

In addition to the Coastal Communities project for Seaburn, the Council has allocated a further £2.3m of its own resources for improvements at Roker, continuing the work that has already been completed through the Sea Change funded project. The first phase of these works is planned for spring and will see further promenade improvements for Marine Walk.

Improvements at Roker will also see the council invest a £1.35m in a rolling programme of restoration for the 110-year-old Grade II listed Roker Pier, starting with work on the lantern house this summer.

Private sector investment will also see the conversion and extension of the old lighthouse keepers’ cottages, near the entrance to Roker Pier, into a high quality cafe and the conversion of the former Seaburn Shelter into a cafe/restaurant/bar.

While Sunderland based Fitz Architects are seeking planning permission for a mixed use development at Marine Walk, with apartments upstairs and commercial/retail units downstairs.

Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding said: “This is a really exciting time for the seafront.

“We’ve seen a number of improvements to the seafront since we first held our seafront consultation in 2009 and things are really starting to gather pace.  This is borne out by the level of private sector interest we’re beginning to attract.”

“Private sector investment is key to helping us deliver the kind of facilities people tell us they want at the seafront.

“That’s why today’s announcement is so important. Because it’s all about helping us fulfil our long-term strategy to make the Ocean Park site more attractive to a private developer who can take it forward as a leisure-led development for families to use all year round.

“While we’re not talking about something that’s going to happen overnight, the future development of the Ocean Park site will be a major catalyst in the regeneration of the seafront, helping us deliver significant economic, cultural, environmental and social improvements to create a seafront we can all be proud of.”

The bid was put together with the support of local traders including the Marriott Hotel and the Sunderland Business Network.

The City Council is currently seeking a development partner for the 7.37 hectare Ocean Park site which has been underused for a number of years and is also putting £800,000 of its own funding into the improvements at Seaburn as part of the scheme.

The £2.8m will support the delivery of essential infrastructure work, which in the long-term will facilitate the comprehensive redevelopment of Ocean Park by a private sector developer, in line with the Seafront Regeneration Strategy and Seaburn Masterplan

The planned infrastructure improvements will include:

  • A second phase of promenade improvements
  • Improvements to Lowry Road behind Martinos to improve traffic flow
  • Environmental improvements to Cut Throat Dene to make it more attractive for wildlife and more of a natural play area in line with the Seaburn masterplan
  • Physical and environmental improvements to Whitburn Road including improved crossing points to improve the pedestrian environment, in line with views expressed during the 2009 seafront consultation.

At Roker, planned promenade improvements include extending the feature lighting which last year won a national award, the refurbishment of the existing play area and new play equipment.

Clinton Mysleyko of Fitz Architects said: “We are excited about the new proposals at the Seafront. Working hard with Sunderland Council we have had a huge involvement in the proposed regeneration after gaining planning approvals on the new bar/restaurant at the former Seaburn Shelter along with the new quality cafe at Pier Cottages, Roker.

“We have also just submitted an exciting planning application for a mixed-use development at Marine Walk, Roker. This is in hope of creating a new destination for the City. The coastline is an important feature for Sunderland which is currently under-used so we are proud to be a key figure in the regeneration proposals.”

The three seafront cannonballs, which played a major role in helping Sunderland win a £1 million contribution towards the regeneration of the seafront from the Department for Culture Media and Sport in 2010, will also be arriving this summer.

Inspired by the famous ‘cannon ball rocks’ found along the base of the cliffs at Roker beachfront, the three cannonballs are mobile spaces that can adapt themselves to a variety of uses.

As the date nears for their arrival, talks are underway with a number of community groups about using two of the cannonballs for use as a flexible base for groups who want to meet up at the seaside. Other possible uses include stages for music and other performances.

The third is being marketed to a commercial operator as a coffee shop and kiosk selling hot drinks, cold snacks and confectionary.

Cllr Speding said: “We think two of the cannonballs would lend themselves particularly well to use by community groups who would like to meet up at the seaside.

“They could even be put together with a stage in-between to create a performance area.

“We’ve already had quite a bit interest from some of the community groups we’ve been talking to and it may be that we appoint a community organisation to manage the cannonballs and then book them out to other groups.

“I think they could also be a fantastic facility for any school groups visiting the seaside so that’s also something we’re going to be looking at.”

Rose Peacock,
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 0191-561 1136
Fax: 0191 553 1138