A rapid pace of change

October 8, 2021

The Wearside skyline is changing fast. Spearheaded by the flagship Riverside Sunderland scheme, the city and its surrounds are transforming before our eyes. But, with a slew of further multi-million-pound plans revealed over the summer, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of the city’s council, says there is even more to look forward to.

Following Just Eat’s announcement that it will create more than 1500 jobs in the city, we’re delighted to be delivering on our promise of ensuring Sunderland remains a desirable place to live, work and play.

Having already attracted Amazon and Ocado in recent years, Sunderland is fast establishing itself as a city ready – and open – for business, providing employment opportunities for residents and helping drive the North East economy, both figuratively and literally.

I say literally as, during the summer, Nissan and Envision AESC unveiled ambitious plans to invest up to £1 billion into the development of a battery ‘gigafactory’ in Washington.

The plans promise to deliver thousands of jobs across the automotive supply chain and further strengthen Sunderland’s reputation as a European centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing.

And, just down the road from Nissan, I had the pleasure of visiting another global automotive giant – MAGNA – for the official opening of its factory.

When fully operational, this world- leading hub will deliver 280 jobs, with the aspiration that the company can enjoy further growth.

Its commitment is further reflected in developments such as the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which is being led by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside City Council, and is augmenting the area’s position as an advanced manufacturing powerhouse.

Having already attracted French automotive giant SNOP UK and Japanese vehicle trim maker Faltec, the green light was given for the demolition of two derelict farm buildings that will pave the way for further development on IAMP, with the park expected to create more than 7000 jobs when fully complete.

And that’s not all.

Housebuilder Bellway relocated its Durham headquarters to Rainton Bridge during the summer, and Barclays has announced plans to move 1000 Barclaycard employees from Teesside to Doxford International Business Park.

Looking to the future, with the delivery of the transformational Riverside Sunderland masterplan and £60 million Hillthorn Park – both of which have received significant backing from Legal & General – we have high hopes the ingenuity and hardworking nature of the people of Sunderland will continue to attract employers to the city and help drive the North East’s recovery post-COVID-19. Put simply, Riverside Sunderland will help the city centre become an economic motor.

This ambitious urban scheme will transform the heart of Sunderland, making it home to 10,000 jobs and 2500 residents.

And it is advancing at pace.

Work is almost complete on City Hall, which stands alongside The Beam business centre, and it will be followed quickly by The Auditorium and a new hotel at Keel Square.

Construction will begin on a car park,
a transformed southern entrance to the railway station, the first tranche of new homes, a river pedestrian crossing and two new office buildings from Legal & General.

The pace of change is rapid.

Sunderland is a city undergoing a skyline-changing transformation not seen for generations, and it is a privilege to be leader of a place that has such vision and ambition, and is ultimately delivering it.

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