NEARLY £200m of new investment projects could become part of next year’s Sunderland City Council budget.

The projects include design work for a new Wear footbridge, and developing more of the riverside, city centre and seafront. Plus, new schools at Sunningdale, Thorney Close, and Hetton and multi-million pound school updates for Newbottle Primary and Barnes.

These will deliver regeneration benefits across the city and drive forward the council’s emerging City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland.

The proposals will be set out at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 15 October.

Earlier this year, the council agreed an ambitious capital programme for investing £404m across the city over the next four years. That £404m is part of an estimated £1.5bn investment in Sunderland between 2015 and 2024, including half-a-billion pounds in the city centre.

This Cabinet meeting is looking at £198.993m of new capital and investment proposals for an updated programme. All the costs are factored into the council’s budget planning as long-term investments, not yearly running costs for services.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “This City Council is looking at more long-term investment projects to help grow our city’s wealth and health.

“The council is already delivering and building up our city, and these investment plans for our next budget are about more aspiration and more delivery.”

The capital investment costs can be met by:

* external grants such as the Transforming Cities Fund grant, which would help develop Sunderland Railway Station;

* capital receipts such as from land sales;

* funding from council reserves or through prudential borrowing.

Councillor Paul Stewart, the City Council’s Cabinet Secretary, said: “This council is determined to continue shaping our city by investing and improving it for all of our residents, our workers, and our visitors.

“These proposals are all very much in line with our emerging City Plan to help make our city more dynamic, healthy and vibrant.

“Some of the projects, such as whether and where we can build a new footbridge over the Wear are in very early stages. We need to look at how we deliver them and make them reality, and this is why we have set down early development and design costs.”

These investment plans include:

* A £36.3m development on Farringdon Row that would be supported by a long-term lease with a prospective tenant;

* A £6.8m pot of funding towards feasibility and design works for a footbridge over the Wear, more Railway Station and Vaux development, works in Holmeside and looking to develop more leisure and housing developments;

* A £9m Vaux multi-storey car park to meet future site occupiers and general city centre use;

* £15.1m Riverside Sunderland Infrastructure to support developments on the Vaux site and surrounding areas;

* £46.5m towards strategic land acquisitions that contribute to city regeneration priorities;

* £7.5m Crowtree Square retail development;

* New build primary schools at Sunningdale (£13.035m), Thorney Close (£6.9m) and Hetton (£4.8m) plus updates of £4.6M at Newbottle Primary and £2.9m at Barnes Junior school;

* £2m for Seaburn public realm works at Ocean Park:

* An extra £303,000 of updates to Jacky Whites Market to bring refurbishment works up to £400,000;

* £750,000 towards restoring Roker Park Lodge and opening a café, kitchen garden and outside eating area;

* £650,000 for updating café and events space at Herrington Country Park’s site office;

* A new £1.4m Cork Street Day Centre for people with physical disabilities.

(A full list of the new proposals is pasted below in Notes to Editor and also in the PDF Cabinet link below)

Councillor Stewart added: “There were sceptics when the City Council purchased the Vaux site and began cleaning it up and linking it up into the rest of the city centre.

“Many years ago there were sceptics at the thought that a Japanese car company was coming to Sunderland. I can remember others who were sceptical about the Northern Spire or creating thousands of new jobs at the IAMP. This is a council that is investing in our city, continuing to attract investment to our city, and it will continue to deliver.”

Subject to the Cabinet and further decision-making, the council’s final budget is decided in March 2020.

For an infographic of the investment plans click here: October 2019 proposed investment in Sunderland.