Seaside shelters set for stunning makeover

Stunning visuals of reimagined seaside shelters have been released, as Sunderland City Council moves ahead with plans to breathe new life into historic coastal buildings.

Roker Shelter on Marine Walk is the latest little used building which the City Council is looking to bring back into use.

It joins the former Seaburn Tram Shelter, a disused council equipment store at Seaburn and a former toilet block at Roker which are already on track to take on a new lease of life, thanks to a £820,000 Coastal Communities Fund grant, matched with £440,000 City Council investment that will create new spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Businesses interested in operating out of Roker Shelter on Marine Walk, the former toilet block on Pier View or the former equipment store behind Seaburn beach - are being invited to get in touch with the council, as it finalises plans to convert the distinctive buildings into leisure venues including cafés and restaurants to complement the seaside’s existing offer. The opportunity to develop the former Tram Shelter isn’t part of the initial offer.


Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said he was thrilled with how designs for the spaces were taking shape.

He said: “We are blessed with a beautiful coastline, and through investment, we have an opportunity to maximise our natural assets and create a destination that draws visitors, who will spend their money in Sunderland and boost our growing tourist economy, year-round.

“The plans for heritage buildings on the seaside promenade will add an exciting new dimension to Sunderland’s seaside offer, and we would particularly like to see local businesses trade from the fantastic new spaces this programme of restoration will create. We’re calling for anyone interested in learning more about the opportunity to occupy these buildings to reach out to us.”

Income generated from the lease and operation of the redeveloped storage shelter and toilet block, and in the next phase, the former tram shelter, will support the Sunderland Seafront Trust, which currently operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours, to deliver a broad range of events and activities across the seafront, aimed at maximising its potential as a year round visitor attraction.

As well as old buildings, the council is also developing plans for 12 beach huts, that will stand just north of House of Zen. There will also be upgrades to the infrastructure of Seaburn Camp which will make the site more accessible to caravans. Teamed with developments including STACK Seaburn, which is taking shape on Whitburn Road and will open in time for the August Bank Holiday Weekend, and a new Inn Collection Group venue, the Seaburn Inn, which is likely to open in early 2021, Cllr Miller believes that Sunderland’s seaside will be firmly on the map for day-trippers.

“The success of both existing business and new investments at Roker and Seaburn, following the council’s investment into the seafront in recent years, demonstrates just how much potential our seaside has. Teamed with the restoration of the lighthouse, we have created a vibrant, bustling coastal community that attracts people from the city and beyond,” Cllr Miller added.

“Now, with Seaburn quickly reinventing itself too, we can connect the two areas and create an offer that will keep families entertained for the full day. This is an important part of our wider regeneration programme for the city that will establish Sunderland as an attractive place to live, work and play for all kinds of families.”

Businesses that are interested in finding out more about basing their business in one of the spaces being reinvented through the investment should contact:

Bradley Hall for enquiries about Roker Shelter, Marine Walk, Roker:
Joseph I'Anson 
0191 3839999

Lofthouse & Partners for enquiries about the former toilet block on Pier View, Roker and the former equipment store behind Seaburn beach:
Mario Jaconelli
0191 565 88 44