Residents and businesses in Sunderland’s Seaburn have been viewing plans to put the area back on the seaside tourist map, and create new jobs, leisure facilities and homes.
The consultation event at the Seaburn Leisure Centre on March 11 and 12, which showcased the new proposals, was well-attended by more than 1,000 people who had the opportunity to give their feedback on the plans.
The consultation was organised by Siglion, the regeneration and development company managing the £100 million-plus project to regenerate five areas across the city.
Siglion’s vision for Seaburn aims to make the most of its fantastic seafront location and attract more visitors with an ambitious programme to create new cafes, restaurants, shops, a hotel and indoor and outdoor leisure areas, as well as space for events such as food and street markets, arts and craft fairs. The plans also include family homes and apartments to appeal to people of all ages.
Siglion development director, Katie Sully, said: “Seaburn has a fantastic heritage as a seaside resort, with a superb three kilometres stretch of sand along to Roker. It still has its promenade, amusement arcades, restaurants, and a hotel.
“Our plans will breathe new life into Seaburn, creating a 21st century seaside resort where people will choose to live, work and visit once again. We want to develop year-round facilities to attract visitors, create jobs and provide attractive housing suitable for families, couples and retired people.”
The place-making masterplan for Seaburn includes a new 20 metre wide central boulevard at right angles to the seafront, with a pedestrianised area for shops, cafes and restaurants, and a covered space for markets and entertainment.
A new promenade will create car parking for visitors and further space for cafes, restaurants, leisure operators and traditional seaside shops such as ice cream parlours and retailers selling buckets and spades.
The plans include space for a large two-storey leisure facility, plus walking routes and play areas at Cut Throat Dene. Siglion is also aiming to attract a new hotel operator and niche specialist shops to the area.
The residential aspect of the plans is based on attracting a variety of new residents, with both family homes and large, stylish apartments suitable for young people and couples who want to retire to the seaside.
Changes to the plans since the public consultation in October include 30% less housing, a reduction in the height of the buildings along Whitburn Road, with a range now between two and five storeys, and flexible retail spaces, to cater for the traditional seaside shops such as ice cream parlours to a large 50,000 sq ft leisure unit as well as outdoor leisure facilities including adventure golf and water based themed play areas to focus on Seaburn once again being a seaside destination that Sunderland, the city by the sea, will be proud of.
Mark Hird, owner of Roker Hotel, said: “I’ve had a good look at the plans and schemes. I’m very excited about them and would like to be part of that development. It’s what the area needs to move forward. We’ve sat with Seaburn being in a limbo state for a period of time. I’m 100 per cent behind the regeneration of it moving forward.”
Local resident Simon Burdus said: “This is finally an opportunity for something to happen at the seafront. I really think the people of Seaburn should get behind this. People have been crying out for something to happen.
“Go and see what Siglion have got planned. They really care about the redevelopment. It’s going to bring in leisure opportunities, bring in business opportunities, and bring in people from the city centre who might not have come down to the seafront previously. Go and speak to Siglion and find out what they’re doing. They’re trying to do something for everyone.”
Siglion chairman, Neil McMillan, said: “We’ve had a great reaction from local people to our ideas for Seaburn and we will be going through their feedback to incorporate their ideas where we can into our final plan for the area.
“This is a fantastic location, with huge potential to attract people from across Sunderland, the North East and nationally.”
Siglion welcomes feedback on the plans and a short questionnaire is at: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SEABURN2016.
The plans, video and questionnaire can all be found at the ShapingSunderland website
Siglion asks as many people as possible to complete the questionnaire and return it by March 31 to be included in the feedback report for future action.