Plans for a new creative community in the heart of Sunderland which would boost the economy and attractiveness of the city centre as a place to live and work are being considered by the council.
If given the go-ahead, more than 80 new homes in Niles Street and Villiers Street in the Sunniside area of Sunderland will be transformed into a new creative residential community
Proposals will see the streets turned into homes with adjoining workspaces which will lend themselves to artists and creatives looking for studio-properties where they can live and work.
The council is expected to give the green light to Town and Create Streets – two organisations who will collaborate to develop the new homes – working up more detailed development plans for the ‘Living Arts Hub’, which will build upon earlier regeneration schemes in Sunniside, looking to establish the area as an ‘exemplar’ creative community.
As part of the plan, the council will bid for a Levelling Up Fund (LUF) grant, which it hopes will help underpin the regeneration project, and Back on the Map – a charity that was set up to enhance the quality of life of people living and visiting Hendon and the East End of Sunderland – is also working with Town and Create Streets to develop proposals that will best support artists and creatives.
The designs will feature modern methods of construction, low carbon and renewable energy solutions and will be surrounded by green, community spaces which will complement the existing public face of the redeveloped Sunniside area.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunniside has seen significant investment in the past which has created a beautiful area, but one that does not have the critical mass of people and businesses to make it the vibrant community it is capable of becoming.
“Attracting investment, in the shape of new homes and workspaces that will support our creative community will help not only stimulate the wider regeneration of Sunniside and Old Sunderland but also complement work at Riverside Sunderland, where there will be 1,000 new homes, as well as the Civic Centre site which will also become home to a vibrant new community, increasing the number of people living and working in the city centre, which in turn will benefit local traders, with more footfall by day and night.
“We’re excited to see the teams at Town and Create Streets, working with our team at the council and partners like Back on the Map, move forward with proposals which will greatly enhance this changing part of the city.”
Under the agreement, Town and Create Streets – both of which have a proven track record in regeneration schemes of this kind – will have an exclusivity arrangement, giving them 12 months to firm up their plans and come up with concrete proposals to move forward with development in the area.