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Shopping centre set for £15m expansion
Thursday September 23rd 2010, Sunderland Echo



A NEW £15million development in Sunderland city centre looks set to create more than 150 jobs.

Land Securities, owner of the Bridges shopping centre, has announced its intentions to build a three-story, 60,000 sq ft Primark store at the High Street West and Walworth Way entrance to the retail space.

Plans will be submitted for consultation next month and the company is hoping work on the expansion will begin in 2011.

Jonathan Buckle, portfolio manager for the Bridges, said he was delighted to be bringing good news to Sunderland.

Speaking to the Echo he said: “This is a significant investment programme which demonstrates Land Securities’ commitment and confidence in Sunderland.

“Our objectives are to enhance the shopping experience we provide for the 21million customers who visit the centre each year by ensuring more of their favourite high street fashion brands are located within the Bridges and to enhance the centre’s reputation as one of the best shopping and fashion destinations in the North East.

“Primark has outgrown its existing store, located on Fawcett Street, and is very keen to remain in the city.

“The Bridges is fast becoming a fashion hub and with the likes of Bank, H&M, New Look, Top Shop, River Island and Schuh already part of the retail offer, we are confident that this is the right location for the brand new Primark store.”

The swathing cuts in the public sector set to be announced next month mean that the announcement of growth and investment in the city centre has been warmly received throughout the area.

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) said the news was all the better, given the financial climate of the region.

He said: “This is excellent news for Sunderland.

“A wider choice of retail outlets in the city will lead to an increase in the number of people shopping in Sunderland.

“This, in turn, will boost our local economy and give us a platform on which we can further develop the city as a whole. The city centre has been recognised as a key area in need of support and the NECC will do just that.

“By working with the city council and other key partners we aim to continue to help our city centre to reach its full potential.


Read More - http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/shopping_centre_set_for_15m_expansion_1_1609783
 

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Some earlier posts, transferred from the "RETAIL" thread . . .

Its great news!

Not only is it investment in new development and improving the quality of the shopping experience, but it also frees up the large Primark unit on Fawcett Street for another large retailer.

Most big retailers are looking for big premises at the moment, so I can see a decent retailer going into this unit quite quickly.

Hopefully it'll encourage more investment in High Street West, as the rest of it is looking pretty run down.
They need to bulldoze the derelict buildings, it really does look a mess at the moment. It has the potential to widen the street scene within the city centre but people just don't want to go there in it's current state.

Would you want to live/work next door to this??



:eek:hno:
A couple of pics to add.


PROPOSED SITE PLAN


PROPOSED ENTRANCE VIEW


CURRENT ENTRANCE VIEW.
 

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Some more posts from the "RETAIL" thread . . .

I saw an interesting article, which I have scanned in, in Property Week magazine:



It seems very positive overall, especially the comments from the portfolio manager regarding how busy and how surprised retailers are that the centre is so busy.

This is what I have always thought about Sunderland. It seems to have a potentially large enough catchment area in terms of access and population as anywhere else in the North East, and has the population there to exploit. The retail centre is busy as it is but the main problem is that a lot of people from Sunderland tend to shop elsewhere, it's not like they don't shop at all. If enough quality retailers come on board and quality 'transformational' developments happen, I think we could not only see a claw-back of leakage from NCL and MC, but also see more people being drawn into the centre from wider areas such as Seaham, Hartlepool, Peterlee, Durham and even South Tyneside.

It looks to me like Land Securities are starting to show some faith in the city and in its spending power.

I have heard on the grapevine that a major department store is close to committing to becoming the anchor tenant for ANOTHER extension of the Bridges. I don't know where the new development will be but I hope that it involves the development of Crowtree.

Shopping centre expansion moves step closer
Thursday November 4th 2020, Tim Booler, Sunderland Echo


A £15million shopping development has moved a step closer to fruition.

A planning application has been formally submitted to Sunderland Council for an extension to The Bridges.

The scheme proposes a three-storey 60,000 sqft Primark store and a new entrance to The Bridges at High Street West. If approved, work is expected to start next year.

The development is expected to create up to 150 much-needed jobs and provide a boost to the city centre economy at a time when business confidence is low.

The official application includes the full results of a two-day public consultation exercise in Sunderland.

Footfall counters showed that more than 109,000 people passed through Central Square over both days, and therefore had a chance to review the exhibition of the plans and ask questions.

A report for Bridges’ owner Land Securities, which accompanied the application, stated: “During the public consultation there was a strong and consistent flow of people stopping to review the boards and discuss the proposals with the senior team.”

A total of 175 comment forms were filled in.

The results showed that 84 per cent backed the plan for a new three-storey Primark, and 78 per cent agreed that it would attract more people to shop in Sunderland.

The survey showed that 68 per cent said the development would have a positive impact on the range of shops on officer in Sunderland, which already has high street fashion retailers Bank, H&M, New Look, Topshop, River Island and Schuh.

However, one worry which cropped up mirrored that raised by Echo columnist Linda Colling. The survey report said: “The only concern people expressed was that they felt that Fawcett Street could become less popular. Our response to this concern was that Land Securities will be working hand in hand with Primark and Sunderland City Council to try and secure another occupier.”

The council’s official public consultation period for the planning application has started, and runs until November 18
 

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Really looking forward to seeing this develop. Should be a huge improvement in that area of the town. And hopefully more news on further extensions will follow soon.
Yeah agree marra, ----the High Street entrance will be much improved, --and lets hope further expansion is also on the cards.
 

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I think the change in the nature of John and Fawcett Streets from retail-focused to office, commercial, residential and entertainment-focused is a continuation of the 200-year process that has seen the retail heart of the city move further and further westward. I don't think it's anything to be overly concerned about, so long as intelligent use is made of the vacated space. The Sunniside initiative is a part of this, as are other plans such as Hilton's plans for the old Joplings store. The apparent plans to turn the Crowtree Centre over to retail will further this evolution.
 

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I think the change in the nature of John and Fawcett Streets from retail-focused to office, commercial, residential and entertainment-focused is a continuation of the 200-year process that has seen the retail heart of the city move further and further westward. I don't think it's anything to be overly concerned about, so long as intelligent use is made of the vacated space. The Sunniside initiative is a part of this, as are other plans such as Hilton's plans for the old Joplings store. The apparent plans to turn the Crowtree Centre over to retail will further this evolution.
I agree with this.

As much as Fawcett Street is traditionally a shopping street, originally it was a residential street. I think we need to be bold with the street and totally gentrify it.

I wandered down it on Saturday and was saddened by the low quality of retail that exists there. The street is dying, unfortunately but I think there's a big reason for this, which is also the reason that the Sunniside area seems so 'cut-off' from the rest of the City Centre. Fawcett Street is completely overrun by buses and street clutter. Its been mentioned before, but if it was pedestrianised you would have a continuation of pedestrian flow and permeability from the retail core to the Victorian and Georgian streets in Sunniside. It needs a big investment in the public realm and needs to become a safe-refuge from traffic where people can sit, where cafes and restaurants can spill out on to the street and be the focus for street entertainment.

This goes for the junction between High St and Fawcett Street also; this should be a major public space, a natural annexe between two primary civic streets, with important historic buildings standing on 3 out of the 4 corners of this space (the old Olan Mills building needs to be replaced as soon as possible).

Im rambling on now but the City Centre has a serious lack of Civic Space and public gathering and refuge space, and I think these two historically important streets should be the focus for it.
 

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I agree with this.

As much as Fawcett Street is traditionally a shopping street, originally it was a residential street. I think we need to be bold with the street and totally gentrify it.

I wandered down it on Saturday and was saddened by the low quality of retail that exists there. The street is dying, unfortunately but I think there's a big reason for this, which is also the reason that the Sunniside area seems so 'cut-off' from the rest of the City Centre. Fawcett Street is completely overrun by buses and street clutter. Its been mentioned before, but if it was pedestrianised you would have a continuation of pedestrian flow and permeability from the retail core to the Victorian and Georgian streets in Sunniside. It needs a big investment in the public realm and needs to become a safe-refuge from traffic where people can sit, where cafes and restaurants can spill out on to the street and be the focus for street entertainment.

This goes for the junction between High St and Fawcett Street also; this should be a major public space, a natural annexe between two primary civic streets, with important historic buildings standing on 3 out of the 4 corners of this space (the old Olan Mills building needs to be replaced as soon as possible).

Im rambling on now but the City Centre has a serious lack of Civic Space and public gathering and refuge space, and I think these two historically important streets should be the focus for it.

I think the points you put forward, --make perfect sense YM, ---Fawcett Street has been clogged with buses/street furniture for many years now, ---and I think your idea of pedestrianising this Street is a very good one, --like you said, --buses could easily be re-routed, ---alas I don't think the powers that be --don't share this vision.
 

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The street does indeed look a bit shabby, certainly in terms of lots of its retail offer. Gentrification should certainly be encouraged. There's no reason West of Fawcett Street (Wesfawst), including Fawcett Street, can't become a Marylebone or Fitzrovia of the north, while the retail moves westward. The removal of commercial retail from the street also negates the footfall argument, the main one used against pedestrianisation.
 

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Walked by yesterday and noticed the former electric board shop is occupied by a ladies clothes store? A short-term lease presumably.
 

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The planning application has to go through Sunderland City Council so they've probably agreed a long term lease.
I may be wrong, but I thought an application had to be submitted only when there was a change of use or physical alterations to the outside of the building. Since it is a continuation of retail use, this would mean that no application is required?

My guess is that the clothes retailer has secured a lease to shift some stock in the run up to Christmas. I seem to remember last year or the year before Debenhams temporarily leased a second unit in the Bridges to shift some end of line stock at Christmas.
 
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