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Business & Economy

Approval for new building to spearhead Sunderland regeneration

Plans for a new building to spearhead the regeneration of Sunderland’s city centre have been approved.

The second building on the former VAUX brewery site, which has been described as a City Hall that will house a range of public sector organisations, including the council, has been granted planning consent.

Construction work will start this year.

The new building, which spans 190,000 sq ft, has been designed by award-winning North East architect practice, FaulknerBrowns.

Set over seven storeys, City Hall will become the workplace of up to 2,000 staff, creating an accessible public building that will make it easy for people to seek out the support services they need.

Staff from eight locations across the city will be brought together under one roof for the first time, including the Customer Service Network, Revenues and Benefits, Housing Options, Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Coroner’s Office, Social Care Financial Assessment and Financial Safeguarding.

Developer Siglion, which submitted the planning application, said it was delighted to get approval for work to begin on phase two of the VAUX site.

The building is an important part of an emerging city centre vision, which will see more than £0.5billion pumped into the city centre in the 15-year period to 2030.

John Seager, Siglion chief executive, said: “This is another huge step forward for VAUX.

“I’m really proud that, before the first building has even opened, we are already in a position to advance with the second development on VAUX. This was exactly what Siglion was set up­­ to deliver – spades in the ground, foundations in place and buildings emerging that are transforming the landscape for future generations.”

The building, which it is understood will house at least two other public sector organisations, as well as the council, will stand forward from THE BEAM, adjacent to The Keel Line overlooking St Mary’s Boulevard.

THE BEAM is due to open in spring and is expected to house more than 300 people, with the first occupier anticipated in the near future.

Mr Seager added:“Investment breeds investment.

“The decision by the council to move ahead with its plans for City Hall shows its ambition for Sunderland – and it will make the ears of investors prick up.”

Siglion, formed in 2014, is a fully-council owned delivery vehicle that is leading Sunderland’s most ambitious regeneration priorities, including VAUX and Seaburn.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “City Hall feeds, not only into our city centre vision, which is about creating a prosperous heartland for Sunderland, but it is an important part of our wider city plan, which will deliver a vibrant, dynamic and healthy city that everyone here can be proud to call home.

“As a catalyst for change in Sunderland, City Hall is unique and we’re delighted to see it moving forward.”