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Spence Associates' Wear Bridge comes face to face with 'basic' rival

The rival to Spence Associates and Techniker’s New Wear Bridge has been unveiled and the public is being asked which one it prefers.

Last week (AJ 04.09.08) the AJ revealed Spence's original competition-winning design, kept under wraps by Sunderland Council for more than three years.

Since the competition in 2005, the council has had to lower its ambitions for the bridge, and has given the public two options: Spence’s iconic gateway to Sunderland, or a basic five-span beam bridge.

According to the local authority, the more impressive design would cost Sunderland’s tax-paying public £30 million more.

It is understood that regeneration agency One NorthEast has pledged £10 million for an iconic structure – money which is highly unlikely to be handed over if the beam bridge is chosen.

Council leader Paul Watson said: ‘We will be guided by what the people of Sunderland say. But we need people to be aware of the potential impact the "iconic" bridge design may have on their council tax or services.’

Speaking to the AJ last week, Stephen Spence said: ‘The people of Sunderland deserve a bridge like this. It is a structure that will last for 250 years.’

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