Sunderland transformed - £1.3 billion investment as 3,6,9 years Vision published

A massive £1.3 billion is committed over the next four years to build new developments and infrastructure projects which will transform Sunderland and create a strong platform for long-term growth.

The city’s 3,6,9 Vision document is an exposition of the important physical infrastructure projects that were contained in the original 3,6,9 Vision published in 2015, and sets out details of how the Sunderland’s ‘Transforming our city’ strategy and action programme is set to dramatically change the cityscape, create thousands of new jobs, and boost the city’s cultural impact over the next three, six and nine years.

Sunderland’s Economic Leadership Board, which includes Sunderland City Council, Siglion, the University of Sunderland, Sunderland Football Club, the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust, the Sunderland Business Improvement District and key city-based businesses are working closely together to ensure the plans come to fruition within the timescale.

The city with a blueprint for future growth is already celebrating success with major projects now underway such as the Vaux development in the city centre, the New Wear Crossing, and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), all of which will create thousands of news jobs and open major new opportunities for people who live and work in the city.

Over 40 projects are identified in the 3,6,9 document covering the five key themes of economy, connectivity, education, culture and housing.

The pace of change at Sunderland is unrelenting.  The three phase Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor is now well into its second phase. St Mary’s Boulevard has created an attractive, accessible tree-lined route into the city, and the New Wear Crossing structure is already dominating the river. The third phase, the £57m dual carriageway linking the city centre and the Port of Sunderland will begin next year and be complete within two years.

The International Advanced Manufacturing Park, following planning permission, will begin to be developed in partnership with South Tyneside Council, in 2019. It will create over 5,200 job opportunities. and bring in more than £300m of private sector investment during the next decade by attracting a wide range of international companies to invest in the area.

Construction at the city centre’s Vaux development began in December 2016 ,at this historic gateway site and the first phase is scheduled for completion in June 2017.

Work has started on Sunderland’s arts and entertainment complex which will form the centrepiece of a new cultural quarter. The Old Fire Station off High Street West is being developed into a £3m restaurant, cafe, heritage centre and dance and drama studio due to open next autumn. Arts Council England has awarded £2m over the next four years to Sunderland Culture. The city has also been awarded £175,000 to create a new exhibition space for the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art at the National Glass Centre.

In the last year, the Hilton Hotel at the Stadium of Light and the new campus at Sunderland College opened their doors.

Businesses are investing in the city across key sectors.  In the last five years Sunderland’s automotive companies created 3,742 new jobs, invested £917 million and built two million sq.ft. of new floorspace on 88 acres of land.

The recently published Tech Nation report confirms that Sunderland is one of the best places in the UK to start and grow a digital tech business.  It reports that the turnover of the city’s digital tech businesses grew by 101% between 2011 and 2015, and supports over 5,700 jobs. The Guardian described the city as ‘one of the fastest-growing software hubs outside London’. 

Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Economic Leadership Board said: “The 3,6,9 plan underpins our long-term strategic view which has brought jobs, investment and major developments to the city. 

“ Smart, sustainable Sunderland is a growing reality, one which we are all determined to continue to invest in to bring new opportunities to the people who live and work in the city, and to secure our position worldwide as a first-choice location for business investment.”

The sustainability of the big names already based in Sunderland – such as Rolls-Royce, Vantec Europe Ltd, Lear Corporation and Liebherr – is matched by a host of smaller, innovative, technology-led local companies setting up and growing strongly across its many business locations.

Nissan, Lear, Vantec, ZF TRW and Rolls Royce have all recently expanded their operations, giving a clear vote of confidence in the city as a long-term base for thriving businesses.

The city thinks big, targeting transformative infrastructure and connectivity projects and winning many millions of government funding to build the New Wear Crossing, boosting access across business districts and sculpting a new cityscape for Sunderland; developing the ‘game-changing’ IAMP; and completing the dual carriageway connecting the city centre to the Port of Sunderland.

The joined-up thinking behind the 3,6,9 Vision means that the infrastructure and connectivity offered to businesses and residents contributes to the quality of life accessible by a city looking to the future. 

John Seager, chief executive of Siglion and chair of the Economic Leadership Board Infrastructure Results Group said: “The 3,6,9 vision is really inspiring stuff. It’s fantastic that we’re now building at Vaux, and our major development sites have the size and impact to make a huge difference to Sunderland’s long-term success.

“Our approach is very much about involving the community, and that is echoed in the 3,6,9 Vision which brings together all aspects of working and living to create the ingredients for a vibrant city which appeals to residents, businesses, visitors and students alike.”

The action plan includes major schemes such as:

  • Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor: Phase one St Mary’s Boulevard: Phase two new Wear Bridge
  • International Advanced Manufacturing Park
  • Vaux city centre development
  • Port of Sunderland rail link
  • Crowtree retail extension
  • Chapelgarth housing
  • Washington Business Centre
  • MacQ and Gilbridge
  • Holiday Inn Keel Square
  • Old Fire Station and auditorium
  • High Street West
  • University of Sunderland sciences
  • University of Sunderland Centre for Enterprise and Innovation
  • Sunderland College campus
  • Seaburn development
  • Sunderland Station
  • Beacon of Light
  • University Centre for Advanced Manufacturing