Sunderland’s plans for a first-class railway station have moved a step closer to becoming reality.
Yesterday (Tuesday 18th June) it was confirmed that plans for a new station concourse – to be built on the site of the old station – and a new station carpark will be included in a bid the north east region intends to make for money from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
The decision to include the plans in the bid was made by the North East Joint Transport Committee yesterday afternoon during a meeting at South Shields Town Hall.
It is estimated that the new station concourse would cost £14 million and the carpark £5 million. The committee will ask the Transforming Cities Fund for £12.6 million toward the concourse and £4.5 million towards the carpark.
The carpark would be built on vacant land at the bottom of Holmeside. Depending on the amount of funding secured, it could be a surface carpark or it might be a multi-storey carpark with space for retail outlets on the ground floor.
The leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller, said, “I’m delighted that our plans have been included as part of this ambitious £377 million regional bid to transform the way people travel around the north east.”
“We have been working closely with our partners Nexus and Network Rail for some time to realise this long-held ambition and this is an important milestone in the process.”
“A new station concourse, providing Sunderland with the kind of transport gateway it deserves, is an important part of the transformation plans for the city centre, which will see £0.5 billion of investment ploughed into the area by 2030. Much of this will be seen over the next few years – and that is just the start.”
“We have an emerging vision to create a vibrant destination that will deliver the step-change we know residents want to see in the heart of the city.”
“The council’s own investment – which will see regeneration and acquisitions across the city centre – will spearhead change.”
“It will drive a transformation that will make our city centre a place to be proud of with more people working in and visiting it, and more and better homes, with new housing on the former Vaux Brewery site and in the long-term on the Civic Centre site.”
“Alongside a new railway station on the current site with a new car park to serve it on Holmeside, we will also see better connectivity in the form of improved road links and a new footbridge across the river connecting the stadium with the city centre, new leisure developments and a stronger daytime and night economy.”
The leader of Gateshead Council and chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, Cllr Martin Gannon, said, “We are seeking to transform the way people travel around the north east because that unlocks access to jobs, training and opportunity, and drives the whole economy.”
“We have built an ambitious programme which reaches all parts of our region from Northumberland to Durham to put simple, sustainable, environmentally friendly travel at the heart of our plans for the north east’s future.”
“Our final programme follows extensive engagement with businesses, developers and transport operators in the region. It ranges from smaller walking and cycling schemes to major upgrades to our rail network, but all focused on the key corridors people use to move around the north east.”
The Transforming Cities Fund was launched by the Department of Transport in 2018. The fund was allocated a total of £1.28 billion, for which 12 city-regions were encouraged to make bids.
An announcement about the success of the north east’s bid will be made in early 2020. Any schemes which are approved will be delivered between 2020 and 2023 by the relevant local authority in partnership with Nexus – which owns and operates the Metro – and other development agencies.
In more north-east transport news, work recently began on a new station in Horden, County Durham.
(Featured image courtesy of mini_malist from Flickr Creative Commons)