Blacks Corner is pleased to have the opportunity to share with you our submitted proposals for Sunderland City Council's development of the Seaburn Tram Shelter, creating a community asset that can be enjoyed by all.
As you may be aware Sunderland City Council invited Blacks Corner, amongst others, to draft up proposals for the restoration of the Seaburn Tram Shelter in 2020. Earlier this year we were appointed as the preferred custodians of the Coastal Communities Grant funding available for the Tram Shelter restoration.
This grant, coupled with Blacks Corner's matched investment could see the Tram Shelter restored and shifted from the responsibility of Sunderland City Council into the Sunderland Seafront Trust.
Our submitted Listed Building Consent proposal can viewed using the download links below:
We feel it is important to point out that our Listed Building application is independent to the planning application that was granted in 2019. Our application which can now be found on Sunderland City Council Planning Portal is limited to the works we would undertake at the Tram Shelter, and how we would operate should approval be given.
We are holding a focus group with relevant Councillors and interested members of the Seaburn community later this month, that will enable us to gain a rich insight on how we can create a space that brings maximum benefit to Seaburn and Sunderland if our plan is approved. This will include a shared Q&A with the Councillors on development and our Blacks Corner proposal.
This focus group will also explore how the formation of the Sunderland Seafront Trust can influence future development & bring back the community feel of our seafront.
We want this to be the start of an ongoing conversation with local residents, businesses and stakeholders, as we develop a plan in partnership that ensures the Tram Shelter development is the best it can be and contributes to the creation of the Sunderland Seafront Trust.
You can also find out more, as our plans progress, on this webpage – we will be posting regular updates to keep you informed.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring back a piece of heritage to our seafront. We believe our proposal fits with the spirit of a Seafront from days gone by, and our involvement in the Sunderland Seafront Trust and its community outlook will benefit many areas for years to come.
We hope that our proposal clearly demonstrate that our considered restoration proposal, combined with locally sourced materials and expert workmanship can create a long lasting environment with minimum impact on our surroundings"
Q. Will the restoration be fully in timber?
A. Other than structural materials - yes, all sash units shall be timber. The main inspiration for the design proposed is the once close-by enclosed Tram Shelter on Marine Walk. Please see item 6 above 'Proposed Joinery Details' and image below:
Q. Will the bin store be sited adjacent to the Grade II public toilets, and be so visible to onlookers?
A. The bin store is shown on the plans as per the councils original 2019 planning permission that was granted long before our involvement. Our intention is to submit a further planning application to relocate the bin store behind original white picket fencing that would have once surrounded the Tram Shelter. See image below:
Q. What will happen to the Tram Shelter if Blacks Corner moves out?
A. Blacks Corner shall undertake the restoration work using our in-house design & build company, End Developments. On completion we shall also operate Blacks Corner By The Sea, at the Tram Shelter location providing a complete turnkey project, this also includes agreeing what would happen if Blacks Corner was ever to exit.
We have expressly written into our agreement with Sunderland City Council, that should this occur, the Tram Shelter shall default into the control of the Sunderland Seafront Trust thereby securing a clear future for the building generations from now.
Q. Is Blacks Corner planning on utilising outside space?
A. We believe this is necessary to use outside space in order to complete the 'envelope' as close to its 1920's original look. This will allow us to fully involve interested persons in how the Tram Shelter could look in the vista of the seafront as a whole, bringing the immediate outside area into the look and feel and use of the building.
We shall look for community support in additional planning for the white picket fences to be reinstated, the flower beds that once surrounded to be reinstated and to increase seating directly in front of the Tram Shelter, much as we created our Community Garden free to all at Blacks Corner. We would also like to see a history board instated celebrating local memories and images.
Q. Will the accessible parking spaces remain, adjacent to the Grade II toilets?
A. Our listed building application is limited to the Tram Shelter only and we understand the council has no plans regarding these.
Q. Will you consider the new cycle lane in your operations?
A. We are very excited at the prospect of a new cycle lane. We think this will bring immense value and we hope to give the Coast-to-Coast a celebrated finish destination. The adjacent bus stop shall also remain unchanged and free covered seating shall be provided on that side of the Tram Shelter.
Q. Have you considered increased traffic from Blacks Corner customers?
A. Yes, we operate an online reservation system at Blacks Corner East Boldon for this very reason, it allows customers to book allotted times to visit, rather than having walk in queues.
In addition to this we would install cycle racks tastefully, and link in with the new cycle lane.
Q. Will you be active members of the Sunderland Seafront Trust once formed?
A. This is one of our main motivations. We thrive on being actively involved in the East Boldon village community where we both live and work. The Trust is the vehicle in which the Tram Shelter will leave Sunderland City Council's responsibility and transition into something that community members can actively be involved in.
From one aspect we are a commercial business that is breathing new life into the shelter however we also see the Tram Shelter being celebrated 100 years from now, and the trust will have a crucial part to play in that.
Q. Do you have experience of this kind of sensitive work?
A. Chris, our Finance Director and Principal Builder for End Developments restored Akeld Station in Northumberland. Here is an informative link to its use today - note the timber unit restoration on the station side is incredibly similar to the timber work at the Tram Shelter :
We appreciate all of the constructive contributions to collate what we think is a considered restoration, appreciating the craftsmanship of the original building within the constraints of the Councils planning permission, granted in 2019.
The sensitivity around this project became apparent after our expression of interest was made known and we have sought very hard since to present the best possible plan for the council to decide at Committee in the New Year, on what the future of the Tram Shelter will be.
Should you wish to express your support or comment on our vision of what can be achieved with the existing planning permission, you can do so officially on Planning Portal by clicking here.