Improvements to Sunderland’s seafront and to the area around St Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth, have seen the two locations shortlisted for prestigious landscape awards.

Sunderland City Council’s in-house landscape design team will find out on 23rd November whether they have triumphed in the Landscape Institute Awards, which are considered the Oscars of the industry.

Sunderland Seafront – shortlisted for the Adding Value Through Landscape Award – has seen a range of improvements over the last decade.

Some of the seafront’s traditional promenades have been transformed into naturalistic coastal gardens with over 150 species of plants. The seafront has also gained attractive seating areas and wrought iron railings that twist and swirl, framing the beaches beyond.

Seaburn Promenade
Seaburn Promenade

St Peter’s Church – shortlisted for the Improvements in Heritage and Conservation Award – dates back to the founding of a monastery on the banks of the River Wear in 674 by Bishop Biscop. 

The area around the church has been landscaped, with informal patterns of seating placed within the monastery’s former precinct. The area has been enhanced with new footpaths, the resurfacing of existing footpaths, a new gateway, new parking areas, new lighting, and improved signage. 

St Peter’s will also benefit from new links to the riverside. Semi-mature trees and shrubs have been planted around the church and wildflower areas created.

A coastal garden at Roker

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet secretary, Mel Spedding, said, “We’re immensely proud of our landscape team and the work they do.”

“You only have to compare how the seafront looks today to how it looked 10 years ago to see what a transformation they have achieved.”

“The seafront has gone from being one of the areas residents of the city most wanted to see improved back in 2007 to being a jewel in its crown today.”

“Every year it attracts people in their hundreds and thousands – whether it’s just to enjoy a day out at the seaside or to attend events like the Sunderland Air Show and Illuminations.”

“The transformation of the landscape around St Peter’s, which was designed to increase public awareness of the historical importance of the site, has been no less dramatic. So even if they don’t win, just being shortlisted in itself is a huge achievement.”

The Landscape Institute Awards aim to highlight and reward the outstanding work of landscape designers, architects, managers, planners and researchers.   

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