A turf cutting ceremony marking the start of a multi-million pound pub with rooms has taken place on Sunderland seafront.

Leader of the council, Councillor Graeme Miller, joined award-winning leisure and hospitality specialists The Inn Collection Group and principal contractor Metnor in donning hi-viz and hard hats for the ceremony, to cut the first patch of turf at the site of The Seaburn Inn.

The 40-bedroom, four-storey venue is expected to open in winter 2020. It is being constructed on redundant land alongside the STACK Seaburn development on the main coast road after plans were given the green light by Sunderland City Council in October.

The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin said: “This really is a ground-breaking moment for us all and marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Sunderland seafront officially being underway.

“We’re proud to be bringing our first Sunderland pub with rooms into The Inn Collection Group’s award-winning portfolio. That work has begun on what will be a tremendous new asset for Seaburn and the surrounding community brings that vision a step closer.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see work get underway on what we know will be a tremendous new asset for Sunderland’s seaside.  With places for families to dine, children to play and visitors to enjoy, this really is a welcome addition to Seaburn and will complement the new STACK development perfectly.

“There is a real sense of Sunderland being a highly investible place – a city on the cusp of major transformation with developments like these, and other major new additions across Sunderland.  We can’t wait to see the inn rise from the ground, as this brilliant new addition takes shape.”

Metnor Construction project manager Mark Doyle said: “We are delighted to be working alongside The Inn Collection Group to bring a fantastic new venue to Sunderland seafront. It’s an exciting moment to be celebrating the official start of construction work on this project.”

The Seaburn Inn will include a bar and dining area and children’s play park for customers. In line with The Inn Collection Group’s eat, drink, sleep and explore model, the inn will be open all day, 365 days a year, serving homemade bar food, drinks and serviced overnight accommodation.

The Seaburn Inn development accompanies a new strategic direction from The Inn Collection Group to develop a completely freehold estate as it continues to roll out ‘buy and build’ growth plans, to more than double its ten-strong portfolio of pubs with rooms by 2022.

The Alchemy-backed group, which has been shortlisted for Best Pub Employer of up to 500 employees and Best Accommodation Operator in the national 2020 Publican Awards, will continue to seek out new development opportunities in the Lake District and Yorkshire as well as within its north east England heartland.

Its most recent new-build developments include The Commissioners Quay Inn, in Blyth and The Amble Inn in Amble. The group recently added to its portfolio with the acquisitions The Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire and The Pheasant in Bassenthwaite, Cumbria last month.  It is set to open its second Lake District venue, The Coniston Inn in Coniston next month.