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Raft of big names and new talent lands slice of huge Sunderland win

A who’s who of architectural talent has been lined up to work on a massive £800 million regeneration programme in Sunderland

Practices including FAT, dRMM, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Ash Sakula, Arca, FaulknerBrowns, Mae and Studio Egret West are among a dozen outfits involved with the Carillion and Igloo Regeneration-led consortium which was named preferred bidder by Sunderland City Council for the huge project earlier this week.

The firms are joined by local outfit Fitz Architects, Newcastle’s xcite and fellow up-and-coming Geordie firm Mawson Kerr. Set up in 2010, Mawson Kerr, was spotted by Igloo after winning the RIBA Forgotten Spaces North East 2012 ideas competition with its eco-driving range.

Urbed is also working on the masterplan for the first phase of the 20-year programme which will see the long-awaited regeneration of the Vaux Brewery site.

The practices at a glance

  • FAT
  • dRMM
  • Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Arca
  • FaulknerBrowns
  • Mae
  • Studio Egret West
  • Ash Sakula
  • Fitz
  • xcite
  • Mawson Kerr
  • Urbed

The plot has been empty since the brewery closed in 1999, despite numerous attempts to redevelop it, including a scheme by CZWG for 1,000 new homes, shops and a hotel (see below).

It is understood that the consoritum is also looking at sites in Chapelgarth and in Seaburn where it intends to ‘build on’ the local authority’s existing masterplanning work there.

John Tatham, partnerships director of Igloo Regeneration said he hoped the joint venture with the council would lead to a ‘step-change in the Sunderland economy’. He said: ‘[We] believe that good design combined with a deep understanding of a place creates developments where people want to be. This in turn translates into demand for property, better values, successful businesses and ultimately successful, viable developments leading to economic growth.   

He added: ‘In evolving our proposals, we considered how the ages of commerce in Sunderland have influenced the city and how the design of the past can inform us in planning the future.’

The two other shortlisted bidders were Langtree Land and Property plc and a consortium including Ramboll, Calmont Project Services, Barratt Developments, Kier Construction, BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisory & Property Management UK Limited.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council said:’This decision marks an important milestone in the joint venture agreement which will breathe new life into under-used publicly owned land in prime sites for development. 

‘The programme will invigorate key areas of the city and offer new opportunities for employment, housing, shopping and leisure.’

Previous story (AJ 09.08.07)

CZWG tightens its grip on Vaux Brewery site

CZWG’s grip on the hotly disputed Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland is looking increasingly firm after a second government inspector found against a rival bid for the plot by supermarket giant Tesco.

Yesterday (8 August), a planning inspector agreed with the proposals laid out in Sunderland’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for a mixed-use redevelopment on the former brewery site, and went on to rule out any major retail scheme in the area.

The move effectively sinks Tesco’s plans for a huge retail-led project on the site - originally designed by Michael Aukett - even though the retailer owns the brewery plot.

The green light for Sunderland City Council and regeneration company Sunderland Arc’s ‘overarching strategy’ comes hot on the heels of an earlier decision by ex-communities minister Ruth Kelly, which also supported CZWG’s scheme for 1,000 new homes alongside office, leisure, retail and hotel space.

Although Tesco has subsequently taken legal action against Kelly’s decision ( CZWG’s Vaux Brewery win to be challenged in High Court ), it now seems the retailer’s chances of building a large store on the site are becoming ever more slim.

David Walker, chief executive of Sunderland Arc, said: ‘We welcome the inspector’s report into Sunderland’s UDP and are delighted at his decision not to allow large-scale retail on the Vaux site.

‘It is great news for the Arc and the people of Sunderland and comes on the back of the Secretary of State’s approval of our plans in March this year.

‘This is another step towards realising our vision for Vaux, which is a crucial gateway site. We now need to take the report away and analyse it more thoroughly in relation to Vaux and the Arc’s other key sites,’ he added.

The altered UDP will be formally adopted by the city council next month.

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