12 thoughts on “Welcome to the Vaux Blog

  1. is this not the same site that he mp for sunderland central was going to create 9000 high skilled high paid, dont know of many retail or leisure outlets that pay much above the lowest wage they are forced to pay by law. What about the empty office building situated not far from this proposed development?


    1. Thank you for your interest in the development proposals. Siglion’s focus on the Vaux site will be primarily for offices with ancillary leisure , food and drink and retail, plus hotel and residential buildings during future phases.The team, in partnership with the council, is looking to bring forward larger and more modern office accommodation than is currently available in the city in order to grow the jobs market in Sunderland. I hope that you will be able to attend future consultation events we will be hosting. For more details keep an eye on the project blogs.
      Kind regards,
      Emily of URBED.


  2. I welcome any new development in the city to attract visitors but i still feel we need a music hall or an arena. Buildings on this site should be lit up with large digital screens displaying sunderlands attractions & areas such as the seafront, penshaw, city nightlife welcoming visitors when approaching the city from Alexandra bridge. I agree more people need to live in the city to grow the economy but it also needs to be an attractive place to live with iconic buildings. Hoping for the best!


    1. Hi David,
      Many thanks for your comments and ideas on the scheme – it is great to get people’s thoughts and create momentum for the development. We are holding an exhibition in Keel Square between 5-10pm on Friday 18th and 12-6pm on Saturday 19th September, and hope you will be able to make it, to talk to us about your ideas for the scheme further.
      Kind Regards,


  3. I have made representations concerening the Vaux site on a number of occasions, including written representations on behalf of the Sunderland Civic Society with respect to UDP Alteration Number 2. The Council is (understandably) committed to its own agenda for the site. This makes it highly political. So there is little or no point in me or anyone else wasting their time making reasoned arguments concerning the development of this key site. Ruritania rules OK!!


    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry you do not feel represented by the council. Whilst we were not involved with the UDP Update Process, we were keen to have a consultation strategy in place for this planning application to get representations from as many people as possible. This will also continue once the planning application is in, so I have added you to our mailing list to keep you informed on when you will be able to comment further through the planning process. 
      We held two public consultation events as part of our masterplan development process and received almost 300 feedback questionnaires which have been used to inform the proposals. Whilst we are unable to take on board all individual comments, we feel that the results from the latest survey show that most people are generally supportive of our scheme. I will be publishing these results shortly and these will be available to view online.
      Many thanks,


  4. Hello,
    Modern office space within the city centre has been neglected. The city centre has concentrated on retail allowing office space to be located on peripheral sites at doxford and rainton bridge. This was an error.
    the city centre needs to improve by increasing the amount of people living and working in it. Since the realignment of st Mary’s road the Vaux site has became more compact. Therefore to maximise its potential, office and residential buildings need to be stacked upwards.
    The site is on an elevated plateau and is a prime location to add to sunderlands skyline.
    There has been clear reluctance by successive actors to develop this strategy. The city still has the look and feel of a town. It would be a popular decision to develop an ambitious development fitting of a larger city. People remember the Sunderland arc plans and thought they were too ambitious. But what is the point of developing an integral site with a mediocre end goal?
    It’s time to actively develop the city centre to the next level.


    1. Hi Keith,

      Thanks for your comments and we fully agree that Vaux is a prime site that can contribute to the ambitious development of Sunderland City Centre. We know there have been many unrealised plans in the past and we are keen to not repeat the mistakes made historically.

      Many thanks,



      1. Hi Vicky,

        Thanks for your reply. Although it maybe a deliberately guarded and ambiguous response! I agree there has been a lot of unrealised plans which raises expectation but that no less erodes people’s hopes and ambitions for the city. Certainly, the people of Sunderland want the best for their city as much as the people of Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham etc. want the best for their cities. The problem is the level of development that occurs with the former not graduating from the planning stage. Sadly its a perennial problem with Sunderland…..The Vaux site, Farringdon row, the sheepfolds and the port are testament to the inability to develop brownfield sites. This surely wouldn’t occur in other city’s with a surplus of development sites? The fact its approaching two decades since the Vaux brewery closed is a bad indictment of the development process within Sunderland. Although there are some positive signs occurring in Sunderland, I fear the city centre will continue to struggle unless the plans for the Vaux site are equally ambitious. Historically, there has never been any ambitious projects within the city centre that has come fruition. The fortuitous development of the stadium on the wearmouth colliery site (as opposed to the Nissan project) shows an ambitious project be a catalyst for other developments close-by. Hopefully future city centre developments are ambitious but I suspect they wont be.

        Thanks again for your response



      2. Hi Keith,

        Yes you’re right a little ambiguous unfortunately! It’s inevitable really as we’re not in a position to speculate/pass comment on previous proposals but I understand your frustration- I grew up in North Wales which also has low levels of investment, a VERY slow development pace and a history of stalled projects. I was at the Vaux consultation at the City of Culture launch event and the anger at lack of ambition/unrealised schemes came across really clearly so it is something we’re acutely aware of.

        I couldn’t quite tell from your comments- do you feel that the plans for the Vaux site are not ambitious enough? Or do you feel that they are ambitious but may not be realised?

        I can only assure you that Siglion are working hard to make these sites successful- it’s in their interest as much as the community’s that the vision for the site comes forward. As you say it’s about ambition and realisation- quite a balancing act!

        Kind regards,



      3. Hi Vicky,
        Hopefully my rhetoric comes across as constructive. The current plans for the vaux site are good but aren’t ambitious enough. I think your public consultation highlighted people’s concerns about the low height of the buildings. People are aware of the finite size of the site, especially since it’s partial annexation by the road realignment. The footprint of the new buildings will highlight the limited space available. People know higher building = greater potential = more jobs. The importance of the Vaux site can’t be overstated, the city centre’s future success is depending on its potential being maximised. Greater potential for jobs on the site is the best opportunity to compliment the current businesses within the city centre that require a boost.
        The opportunity cost of creating a development with limited ambition is huge. The plans for smaller units/offices doesn’t allow the vaux site to grow beyond its projected size. Contrast this with the tyne brewery site in Newcastle that shut after the vaux site. Similar sized sites with very different job creation projections. http://www.thersablog.com/2011/04/newcastle-science-central.html
        The opportunity to do something really good on the vaux site will not happen again. Sadly there’s ambivalence to the vaux site. I would suggest the plans shouldn’t restrict the total potential of the site to grow, and if necessary upwards. As I say, the opportunity cost of losing it potential could mean the city’s shirking population will continue as people look to move for employment.
        Sunderland is at an impasse. It can’t attract corporate rent to the city centre as there’s no suitable properties for larger companies to rent. This means jobs are lost to other towns and cities that have already speculated on office accommodation. In other cities workers are attracted into the city centre to compliment the bars, restaurant and other amenities.
        It the “chicken versus egg situation!” in Sunderland. This cycle goes round and round until someone realizes retail and shops can’t sustain themselves without a “primary producer” employees propping up the centres economy.
        Surely questions should be asked why other city’s strategy includes putting white collar workers within close proximity of their shops and bars, whereas sunderland has chosen to develop these on its periphery?
        Anyhow, I digress good luck with the vaux site.


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