THE long-awaited redevelopment of a city centre brewery site has moved a step forward.

Work on the re-alignment of two roads that run alongside the Vaux site, overlooking the River Wear, Sunderland, was officially launched today (Monday June 3).

The scheme to alter St Mary’s Way and Livingstone Road will pave the way for work on the former Vaux land. 

is expected to be complete by next spring, will be followed by the  creation of  a new public square in the heart of the city centre.  The whole scheme will be finished by autumn 2014.

The full cost is £11.86m, with £2.34m coming  from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £2.5m from the Growing Places Fund) managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP).

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said:
“To be breaking ground on this hugely important scheme for the Sunderland and the city centre is a tremendous step forward towards achieving our long term vision, which is to have a vibrant and prosperous city centre.

To achieve this we need more people living and working centrally and a productive central business district, improved retail offer, new public space and better pedestrian access onto Vaux will all support this.

“I’m pleased to be standing alongside our contractor Balfour Beatty and our funding partners from ERDF and the North East LEP. Working together I’m confident that we will deliver this ambitious scheme on time, which in turn will support the long-term economic growth and prosperity for Sunderland that is our goal.”

Communities Minister Baroness Hanham said: “European Regional Development Fund investment is supporting the redevelopment of this brownfield site, creating a distinctive identity for Sunderland and integrating the site with the rest of the city centre.

“This will accelerate commercial opportunities and remove barriers to investment.

“Creating a new and inspiring business location coupled with a high quality urban quarter will reinvigorate Sunderland city centre, generating crucial private sector investment and consequent local growth, with the potential for 4,000 jobs on site.”

Councillor Watson and Phil Morgan, Director of Operations at Balfour Beatty, dug the first sod to officially mark the start of work.