A PLAN to breathe new life into Sunderland’s seafront has been given outline permission by the city council yesterday [Wednesday, June 28].
A planning application from regeneration business Siglion, that will see Seaburn transformed into a vibrant mixed-use family seaside destination, now has the green light, with work set to start on a more detailed proposal setting out specific details of what the scheme will include.
Permission was given for Siglion to proceed further with its outline plan, which currently sets out areas of Seaburn that are earmarked for leisure development and those for housing. A masterplan will now be established, and work will progress on formally marketing the development, to attract the best retail and leisure operators to the city.
John Seager, chief executive of Siglion said that the company’s vision is to create a seafront with a unique offer, that will establish it as a genuine destination and a place that helps to retain wealth in the city.
He said: “Seaburn is a really special place, with stunning natural assets and we want to maximise those, with a development that will establish it as a genuine leisure destination.
“We are delighted to be able to move forward with our plans, and look forward to delivering something really special that the people of Sunderland and beyond can enjoy.
“All of the developments we deliver are focused on creating environments that promote happiness, health and wellbeing, and we are excited to start pinning down the detail before delivering a development that will capitalise on the vast potential of the seafront as a distinctive, vibrant community where people can come to enjoy, and ensure that the city can attract and retain people who have perhaps not been able to find housing to meet their needs in Sunderland. It’s a beautiful site and we want it to be somewhere everyone can enjoy.”
Once a bustling seaside location, Seaburn has seen a decline in visitor numbers in recent years. However, a significant landscaping project running the length of the seafront, delivered by Sunderland City Council, has helped to deliver an attractive space that Siglion will build upon.
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council and chair of Siglion, said: “Seaburn is a truly beautiful part of our city, but one that is underutilised as a leisure destination.
“Siglion’s proposal sets the scene to create a truly special place, that will add even more shine to what is already an idyllic beauty spot, only a short distance from the city centre. Over the coming weeks, they will be working with local residents to help develop a vision for the area that will deliver not only for people living here, but will prove attractive to people visiting our seaside.”
Local residents are taking part in a series of workshops and field trips to explore how they would like the Seaburn site to look, and the kinds of activities they would like to see available during the regeneration programme.
As part of that design phase Siglion will appoint a local artist, who will work with in collaboration with Pad Architects and Landscape Projects to inspire the look and feel of the site, and develop a strategy capturing how art can be woven into Seaburn to create the most interesting and exciting seaside development.
The artist – who will be appointed this week – will help make Siglion’s ideas of a 21st Century seafront location a reality; a space day-trippers, walkers, cyclists and families can enjoy. They will also collaborate with landscape architects to develop a public realm strategy, making the most of Seaburn’s outdoor spaces.
The plan will develop into a detailed proposal for a mixed-use site, comprising retail and leisure space as well as housing. It is hoped that the plan will attract interest from boutique hotel operators and on the retail side, anything from ice cream parlours to independent shops. The proposals also include outdoor adventure play areas, with green space on the edge of the development area expected to be transformed into an open-air managed play-park.
The seafront scheme is one of a number of prime sites in the city that falls within Siglion’s portfolio – including the Vaux site, which is currently being redeveloped with its first building – a 60,000 sq ft office space – due to be completed next summer.