‘The UK’s best library’ is set to rise from the ground in Sunderland as part of an ambitious delivery plan to reimagine the heart of the city.

The Culture House, a state-of-the-art library and community hub, is among the exciting new buildings that will be included in a stunning Masterplan for Riverside Sunderland, which maps out the development projects that will take place in the coming months and years to establish the city centre as a leading place to live, work and play.

A prominent site overlooking Keel Square has been earmarked for the new visitor centre, which is expected to attract more than 600,000 visitors per year.

The Culture House is one of a number of exciting developments planned for the heart of Sunderland, and will create an attractive, engaging community meeting place, which will generate footfall, vitality and expenditure in the city centre.

Standing four storeys high, The Culture House – planned for the site of The Corner Flag on the south side of Keel Square – will house libraries for adults, children and young people, as well as spaces for making, creativity and innovation, and a local studies and archive centre that will complement the local studies library that will stand a stone’s throw away in the Elephant Tearooms.

The Culture House will combine traditional and digital resources, and will comprise a range of flexible spaces for meetings and community gatherings, as well as a coffee shop, and roof terraces overlooking Keel Square.

The main space in The Culture House, The Forum, will be a hive of activity, where families will learn and play together.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to share proposals for what will be a fantastic new addition to the city’s visitor offer – and a place that we know will also be a brilliant community hub for residents to enjoy too.

“The Culture House will be a library – but unlike any we have seen in the city.

“It will be an engaging, interactive, playful environment, where people of all ages will feel inspired and enthused and can learn in fun new ways.

“And where we celebrate Sunderland’s rich history and heritage, and it’s contribution to the culture of the North East – as well as the role it is playing now in supporting UK Plc, through advanced manufacturing, exporting, innovation and technology.

“Community resources like this provide the glue that brings people together.  They fuel imaginations and stimulate a thirst for knowledge.

“But they’re great fun, and our vision for Riverside Sunderland has to be about creating places people want to visit and enjoy.”

The Culture House is expected to be built by 2023, one of 17 projects either underway or planned for completion within the next three years, that will all be brought to life in the Riverside Sunderland Masterplan, which will be released within days

The masterplan will set out how Sunderland City Council will kick-start the transformation of the 33.2 hectare Riverside Sunderland site, which will transform the former Vaux Brewery site, High Street West, Galley’s Gill, Farringdon Row and Sheepfolds, creating a spectacular mixed use site.

Cllr Miller added: “The Culture House is one of a number of transformational new buildings planned for Riverside Sunderland, and the scale of the ambition for each part of the plan is to deliver something that will stand on a national stage – that will help elevate the city and its offer as a place to live, work and play.

“We are transforming Sunderland, brick-by-brick and bit-by-bit and The Culture House is just one component that will help make Riverside Sunderland a stunning new addition to the city centre.”

To read the full Masterplan, and to keep up to date with the latest developments on Riverside Sunderland, visit www.riversidesunderland.com or search @Riversidesund on social media.