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Green light set to be given to stunning Riverside Park

8 March, 2024

Riverside Park CGI

Spectacular new parkland on the edge of the city centre is set to be developed, in plans unveiled by Sunderland City Council today.

Riverside Park, which sits at the heart of Riverside Sunderland, will provide a stunning new landscape of green accessible spaces, water gardens providing a new habitat for plants and animals and accessible pathways that enable people who live in, work in, or visit the city centre to escape into a stunning natural environment with sweeping views across the river.

Delivered in phases, more than 13 hectares of biodiverse parkland will be redeveloped across Riverside Sunderland, with the proposals for phase one set to be signed off at a council cabinet meeting next week.

The Southern Gateway and Water Gardens - a haven for nature, habitat and ecology; Kingsley Gardens - a new community garden and growing space; and a flexible Social and Event Space will be created in Galley's Gill by summer next year and have been depicted in newly released CGI's which showcase the exciting plans.

The proposals will create accessible new community and family orientated social and activity space that will make Riverside Sunderland yet more attractive to prospective residents and employers moving into the high-quality new homes and modern office spaces taking shape on site.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, Portfolio Holder for Dynamic City at Sunderland City Council, said the plans would add an exciting new dimension to a transforming city centre.

He said: "These are exciting times at Riverside Sunderland, with the built environment transforming day by day. Surrounding these developments are swathes of parkland which have such immense potential and transforming them into community assets will support healthier lives for the people who live, work, and play in the city centre."

The Southern Gateway and Water Gardens will feature natural stone boundary walls, attractive walkways, and pretty ponds, that will enhance biodiversity and sustainability and create a sculptured landscape and new natural habitats. The area will also feature terraced seating with feature lighting and planting to create beautiful spaces for people to relax and socialise.

Kingsley Gardens - which will also be delivered by summer 2025 - will be a key community space within Riverside Park, providing a growing and gardening hub for residents from the new and existing city centre communities. By accessing the space, local people will learn about healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, and food sustainability, with amenities including allotments, a community orchard, and high-quality landscaping.

The space will be a focal point for Expo Sunderland - a series of events that will showcase the city as a place to live, work and play - with an event in spring this year providing an opportunity for local residents, stakeholders and community groups to shape and complete the design, delivery and management of the space.

And finally, a large social and event space will be created between the Gill Bridge and the river corridor, comprising areas to relax and socialise, as well as locations that are designed to accommodate pop-up events and activations that bring the space to life and attract footfall to the park.

These will be delivered under the first phase of work, with longer term ambitions including the delivery of a play area, skate park and riverside café; the formation of a visitor attraction in the former railway tunnel portals; the creation of an ornamental garden which is inspired by and showcases the local geology and flora; and the creation of a new riverside amphitheatre providing seating and views of the river and an attractive area to watch performances and events hosted on the river and the north bank. Riverside Park will eventually become a network of green spaces and corridors that burst to life with plants and wildlife - part of the city's aims to improve health and sustainability.

Cllr Johnston added: "We are transforming our city - and there is a golden thread through all that we do when it comes to sustainability and promoting good health. Riverside Park really exemplifies that and we can't wait to see this project advance."