Green light for new city venue

A HOTLY-ANTICIPATED addition to Riverside Sunderland’s leisure offer has been given the green light by the city’s planning committee.

A visionary plan to create a stunning new leisure and events destination in the Grade II Listed Stables at Sheepfolds has been granted planning consent, paving the way for the transformation of the building to gather pace.  Essential work started in January to make the building safe, but now the revamp of the derelict building can accelerate, with the site set to house eight new venues within its footprint. 

The disused stable, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, stands to the southern-west corner of Sheepfolds industrial estate, and will deliver an exciting new food, drink and leisure venue, that is part of the wider Riverside Sunderland redevelopment. Sunderland architects practice BDN has acquired the premises and is leading the £2m project to breathe new life into the site.  The same firm was behind the transformation of the former Simpson Street School in Deptford.

Sheepfolds, as the venue will be known when it opens its doors next year, will play host to music and performance on a large outdoor stage, and include a large open-air yard where a range of pop-up events, markets and daytime activity will take place.  The result will be an exciting new venue for residents and visitors to enjoy. It will also be connected to the city centre by the new Smartbridge that will provide a pedestrian and cyclist crossing between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site, both of which are being spectacularly reimagined as part of Sunderland City Council’s Riverside Sunderland plan. 

Richard Marsden, managing director at BDN, said: “The reaction to the plans we revealed for Sheepfolds earlier this year has been absolutely incredible, so we’re really pleased to have secured consent to make them a reality.

“Many of the team at BDN – including myself – come from Sunderland and we love the city, so we want to deliver high-quality schemes that improve the place.  Sheepfolds is going to be brilliant, and we’re already speaking to a number of really exciting bar, restaurant and café operators, who will bring something different to the city.”

An architectural, civil and structural engineering firm, BDN has already delivered a number of exciting schemes in Sunderland.  The Old Simpson Street School is now the firm’s HQ and also comprises eight high-spec apartments that are available to book for short stays.  The company also designed the exclusive Spire View housing development off Durham Road. 

BDN’s plans for the Sheepfolds building, which were submitted for to the city council for approval in January, include eight shop-fronted units, that surround two open courtyards, providing attractive outdoor spaces for events and entertainment. 

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The plans for Sheepfolds are exceptional, and the fact they are being brought forward by a developer that knows and loves the city is fantastic.

“Like other residents, I can’t wait to see this venue open its doors, and BDN have the full support of the council as they move forward with their plans.”

Businesses interested in finding out about the retail and commercial spaces within the building should contact Rochelle Richardson at BDN at hello@bdnltd.com or by calling 0191 535 6189.