Sunderland Echo - - News -

A leisure cen­tre or sport­ing at­trac­tion – known as the “leisure box” de­vel­op­ment – could be­come the largest num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties of their kind in the North East, with Hay Street iden­ti­fied as a po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion. Po­ten­tial at­trac­tions could include an in­door climb­ing wall, ice arena, velo­drome, tram­polin­ing, skate venue, soft play, in­door athletics and bas­ket­ball, with the sug­ges­tion many could be housed within a sports hall which could also be a con­fer­ence and mu­sic venue.

for­mer en­gine shed on Hay Street and old Rail­way Sta­bles, in Eas­ing­ton Street, are pro­posed as a base for food and drink busi­ness or cre­ative in­dus­tries or startup firms.

New ho­tels and events spa­ces to sup­port the sta­dium, the Beacon of Light, Hil­ton ho­tel and Vaux site as venues for na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sport­ing and cul­tural events are planned. A “strik­ing new” ho­tel and con­fer­ence cen­tre is pro­posed for the south west side of the foot­ball ground. A 4* bou­tique ho­tel, con­fer­ence cen­tre and wed­ding venue on the south east cor­ner of the south stand could take ad­van­tage of views across the river thanks to its “dra­matic cliff top set­ting.”

Up to 200 new homes, such as apart­ments, town­houses, du­plex, bun­ga­lows and Ty­ne­side-style flats, could be built in the Sheep­folds area. The area’s rail her­itage could be used to in­spire de­signs of homes for cou­ples, fam­i­lies and first-time buy­ers, as well as down­siz­ers, empty nesters and stu­dents, with cy­cle paths and green spa­ces to be in­cor­po­rated into the es­tates.

Restau­rants, en­ter­tain­ment, cul­ture and per­for­mance venues, with eat­ing places look­ing onto Sta­dium Way and the route from St Peter’s Way. The for­mer Rail­way Sta­bles is touted as a po­ten­tial build­ing to be­come a bar and restau­rant, with the sug­ges­tion be­come a mi­cro-brew­ery. It could also host a se­ries of busi­nesses and pop-up stalls, with New­cas­tle’s Boil­er­shop noted as an ex­am­ple of how it could work.

A base for arts, me­dia and pub­lish­ing firms, gen­er­at­ing jobs and sup­port­ing the hous­ing plans, with projects such as the Tof­fee Fac­tory and Hoults Yard, in New­cas­tle, high­lighted as a suc­cess. Again, the for­mer sta­ble block and en­gine shed could be used to house busi­nesses, with ex­hi­bi­tion spa­ces and a gallery also mooted for the area along with help for grad­u­ate start-up busi­nesses.

Im­proved and con­nected green spa­ces, with pedes­tri­ans and bikes to be given pri­or­ity over ve­hi­cles. A clifftop walk­way would serve the area and take ad­van­tage of the river views, with ar­eas for res­i­dents and the pub­lic, with the river­side space to be the “green lungs” of the area. Play ar­eas, out­door gyms and fit­ness trails, climb­ing ar­eas and boul­der­ing walls, tree-top plat­forms, den mak­ing and ed­u­ca­tion on wildlife are de­tailed. A Sta­dium Plaza to the south east area of the South Stand would cre­ate a flex­i­ble out­door space and fan zone – al­though Sun­der­land AFC shut down its ef­fort to run one at the end of last sea­son.

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