New Investments To Boost City Assets And Infrastructure

New starts for the City Council’s next round of investments includes boosts for housing, schools, business, transport, culture and allotments.

More than half a billion pounds of investment (£623m) is earmarked for Sunderland over the next four years.

New starts of £234m are being examined at the council’s next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9 February.

Subject to the meeting, the projects then go to the full budget meeting at the beginning of March.

As capital spending, these long-term investments improve city assets and infrastructure and are different from the revenue spending that covers yearly running costs for services. The service and revenue spending, including proposals for next year’s Council Tax, are also being examined at the Cabinet meeting next week.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “These are all part of our City Plan and examples of its progress. Our City Plan is delivering pledges we have made to our residents, businesses and visitors for a more dynamic, healthier and vibrant Sunderland.”

Investments include:

  • Riverside Sunderland, including the popular plans for the new high-level footbridge over the river (£32m) as a centre piece of the development
  • Developing ambitious plans to enhance the cultural offer through the new Culture House (£27.2m) and the Washington F Pit visitor centre (£4.6m)
  • Vaux Housing and the Future Living Expo, to showcase regional skills and housing innovation (£40m)
    Northern Spire Park investment to develop the site for housing (£23m). The site has already been identified for more than 1,000 homes
  • Further investment in supported living for adults (£16m at Willowfields Supported Village) and for those facing homelessness (£7.2m for an Inspiring Futures scheme)
  • Investment in transport, such as the redevelopment of Sunderland Station (£28m) and cycling network plans (£5.6m)
  • Housing Innovation Construction and Skills Academy, to develop skills for residents in modern methods of construction (£11m)
  • Refurbishment of Barnes Junior and Fulwell Junior schools (£5m)
  • Further allotment and open space proposals to meet growing demand (£3.5m).

Cllr Miller added: “We are attracting external funding wherever possible and many of these investments will generate an income stream for the council. The investment in housing, for example, will help generate future income from both sales and rents that can then be re-invested.

“We need to make wise investments in the city, and do so in a way that is financially sustainable and prudent. Our City Plan and these proposals do just that.”

The council’s budget is on Wednesday 3 March 2021.

Because of Covid, the City Council’s Cabinet has begun meeting remotely. Meetings can be viewed on the council’s YouTube channel.

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