Award-winning ‘Future Homes’ begin to take shape at Riverside Sunderland

The first of 1,000 new homes – that will form one of the UK’s most ambitious residential developments – are rising from the ground, part of Sunderland’s transforming city centre skyline.

The steel and timber frames supporting the first apartment buildings and homes at Riverside Sunderland are the latest developments adding to a fast-changing landscape on the edge of the city centre. 

The Vaux housing scheme – which comprises the first of 1,000 homes that will eventually stand across the Riverside Sunderland site – will see 132 ultra-modern, eco-friendly homes brought to market.  And the frames of the homes, which are being built by North East construction specialist Tolent, can now be seen behind hoardings at the prominent site, that has views over the river. 

Vaux is the first of four new residential communities being delivered by the council at Riverside Sunderland, that will eventually provide city centre housing for up to 2,500 residents.

Included in the scheme will be a cluster of award-winning homes, that were selected as the best in the national Homes of 2030 Design Competition – which explored how homes will look and function in the future.

The development will comprise apartments, townhouses, and maisonettes, using modern methods of construction, renewable energy systems and smart technology to reduce the carbon footprint of the development, while producing high quality, energy efficient properties in the beating heart of the city.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It is fantastic to see yet another of our ambitious Riverside Sunderland developments begin to take shape.

“Vaux housing will see over 100 homes of the highest quality rise from the ground, providing a huge lift to the city centre economy by increasing its population and increasing the number of people that will go on to shop and dine in the city and support local businesses.”

All homes at Riverside Sunderland will provide a future living offer that will attract new and existing Sunderland residents to live in the vibrant city centre, with the properties sitting alongside the orchards and allotments of Kingsley Gardens and nearby Riverside Park, which is continuing on its journey towards becoming an accessible, attractive and ecologically diverse parkland. The Vaux neighbourhood will be the site of the Expo Sunderland in 2024, an event that will showcase the homes of the future and the aspirational lifestyle that Sunderland provides.

The Homes of 2030 competition, whichwas launched in March 2020, and managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), to encourage the design of environmentally-friendly homes that support people in leading independent, fulfilling lives as society ages.  +Home designed by igloo Regeneration with Useful Projects, Expedition Engineers and Mawson Kerr and Connector Housing designed by Openstudio with Hoare Lea, LDA Design and Gardiner & Theobald were the joint winners of the competition, and it is their designs that will stand proudly on the site, shining a spotlight on future living and showcasing the ambitious plans the council has to make Sunderland a world-class place to live, work and play.

The first tranche of homes will be completed towards the end of 2023. 111 of the homes will be built to 2025 Future Homes Standard and 21 to PASSIVHAUS standard, delivering high levels of energy efficiency. Hyperfast fibre will connect each home ensuring they’re fit for modern living and homes will also come with bike storage and a ‘city growing space’ to encourage people to grow their own herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Paul Webster, chief executive officer of Tolent, said: “Our highly experienced team on site are making great progress as the various foundations and structural works take shape. We’re successfully managing a busy, city-centre site in an area of the city that is bustling with various construction works – which is fantastic to see. It’s exciting to be a part of such significant investment and change in a city we’re local to, surrounded by some of the biggest national contractors in the UK.”

Tolent has committed to delivering significant social value during construction, working with local people and supporting the local supply chain, as well as voluntary and community organisations across Sunderland. In all, over £17m of social value activity – including supporting local jobs for a range of people including apprenticeships and placements, a commitment to spend in the local area through the growth of regional supply chains and a variety of schemes to engage with local community groups – will be delivered during the construction phase of the project.

Vaux housing is part of an ambitious and exciting masterplan for Riverside Sunderland that will include residential, commercial and leisure developments. It is part of a programme of development projects in the Riverside Sunderland area that, taken together, aim to double the residential population in the city centre and increase employment by 50 per cent and also fits with the city’s housing strategy, which will see 7,000 new homes built by 2030. 

Vaux housing is being delivered with £6.1m of grant support from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, £2.1m from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities to support the delivery of the Homes of 2030, and £2m from the European Regional Development Fund to support the delivery of a smart energy network.

To stay up to date with Riverside Sunderland developments, visit www.riversidesunderland.com or follow @RiversideSund on social media.