Much regeneration and redevelopment has taken place across the Wear region in recent years. Local business leaders tell us which Wear local building, construction or infrastructure most excites them.

With more to come, what is the building, construction or infrastructure scheme which most excites you?

Paul Callaghan, CEO Leighton Group
As someone who likes to see bridges built, literally and metaphorically, I’m delighted we’ll have a new Wear footbridge, bringing together north and south sides of the river.
Connecting both the Stadium and Beacon of Light with Keel Square and the renewed city centre, it complements the Northern Spire, Queen Alexandra and Wearmouth bridges and, as a footbridge, is another step in creating a unified and people-friendly city.

John Mowbray, chairman of University of Sunderland
The fire station in Sunderland’s cultural quarter.
I’ve been fortunate to be there since the door was opened on that derelict building full of pigeons when the hunt was on for an iconic venue and a site for our music and other performing arts. Part of it utterly transformed, the other being built.
The new auditorium looked great on paper but wonderful now as it grows up with stages inside and out and new spaces for performance and people.

Jan Dale, Director of Urban BASE, the residential property specialists
I choose the magnificent monster that is Milburngate, positioned at the heart of the six-acre regeneration site on Durham’s unrecognisable Riverside.
Phase one includes a 92-bed hotel along with cool new bars and established restaurant brands, and this will attract further international travel to our city.
County Durham is expecting to see £3.4bn of investment and the creation of 30,000 new jobs over the next 15 years, through developments such as Milburngate.

Graham Soult, Canny Insights retail consultant
I’m interested in schemes that repurpose existing spaces and places, so I’m choosing the Durham Distillery, Prince Bishops’ Shopping Centre, Durham.
Opening this year, it is converting a former bank into a gin shop at mall level with a huge still room, bar and visitor attraction beneath the street.
Interesting and distinctive developments like this are just what our high streets need more of.

Mark Doherty, managing director, Identity Consult
The Beacon of Light has won national awards for its design and construction and rightly so.
We were honoured to work on the building and can testify first-hand to how much complexity is contained in what appears to be such a simple structure.
The facility cost £19m to construct but is worth every penny for the wonderful way it delivers on the aspirations of the Foundation of Light to deliver a real beacon of hope and possibility to the people of Wearside.

Rob Lawson, chair of Education Partnership North East
The “twin resorts” of Roker and Seaburn are changing.
I love the developments along Marina Walk, where cafes, bistros and a classy fish and chop restaurant have added so much vibrancy to what in my childhood was a wasteland.
Further north, unused buildings are being transformed into more cafes to complement existing restaurants, the Stack and the new hotel.
These developments are creating a critical mass of places to lure more visitors to Sunderland’s wonderful seafront.

Alison Gittins, CEO, Durham Business Group
When a business club member introduced me to Lambton Park and a peek at the development plans in 2018, I knew it was meant to be. A year later we were the first residents to move into our new home.
The next phase of the development will include a retail complex, office space, bistro and wellness centre, which is really exciting and great news for our region.

Graeme Anderson, Wear Business editor
I’m going to cheat and choose two – neither of them yet built!
The £10.4m plans to redevelop Durham bus station and £28m plans to transform Sunderland railway station are exciting and long overdue.
As gateways to their cities, they’re often the first impression a new visitor gets, which makes them so important.
For too long, both have been an embarrassment. Hopefully, they’ll soon be something for local people to be proud of.


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