Transformation plans for station set to move forward
Plans to reimagine Sunderland’s Central Station are expected to take a major step forward next week, with the council’s Cabinet set to approve a £28m improvement programme.
Proposals outlined in Sunderland City Council’s Capital Programme include the redevelopment of Central Station and the construction of a new car park, which will cater for up to 500 cars.
Council papers set out plans to demolish and reconstruct the southern concourse of the Station above platform level, creating a new modern entrance, to improve the arrival to the station for people accessing Sunderland by rail.
Councillor Graeme Miller said the commitment of capital - £4.362m of which is from the council and another £20.157m expected to be supported by external funding from the Transforming Cities Fund – will send a message to residents – that Sunderland is serious about the transformation of its city centre.
He said: “The Train Station is a real priority and we are determined to move forward with plans to reimagine this gateway into Sunderland.
“We have substantial plans to transform the station, and we’re really excited to share these with residents in the new year.
“With budget set to be committed, the council team will move ahead with finalising designs, which we’re really looking forward to sharing in spring. Already, advanced works around site investigations are underway, so we should be able to move this on with pace, in line with other significant investment projects that are rapidly advancing across Sunderland’s city centre.”
The City Council is leading a programme of regeneration across the city, starting with Riverside Sunderland, a new urban quarter that extends from the former Vaux Brewery site, to Sheepfolds on the north-side of the river. It’s investment is accelerating the transformation of the wider city centre footprint, including the Train Station plans, which will be critical to achieving an attractive point of arrival in the city.
The council’s own investment is coupled with vast private sector backing, including a £100m commitment to the city centre from Legal & General, which is funding City Hall and two more office spaces on the former brewery site, that will stand alongside the flagship building, The Beam, which opened its doors in 2019
Big businesses are moving into the city centre, attracted by new spaces like The Beam, including Ocado which will create 300 new jobs in Sunderland. More are expected to follow, as old buildings are being brought back to life, including Gilbridge Police Station and the River Wear Commissioners Building - to create exciting new business spaces that will attract more new jobs to Sunderland.
Cllr Miller added: “As we grow the number of people living and working in the city, we will be working to enhance the transport infrastructure we have in the city centre, and the Station is naturally a key priority for us.
“The investment programme we are leading in the city centre is unprecedented and it will be truly game-changing for Sunderland, accelerating our transformation into a modern, vibrant city of real worth.”
The station provides a key route to the rest of the North East and UK, and – as Riverside Sunderland plans double the resident population of the city centre from 2,500 to 5,000 and increase employment by 50%, it will become an increasingly well-used transport hub.
To stay up to date with developments in and around Riverside Sunderland, visit www.riversidesunderland.com or follow @RiversideSund on social media.