Plans for new shops on Crowtree site in Sunderland "will have to be seen to be believed"
By Niall Hodson
A local councillor has questioned the announcement that Sunderland Council wants to build new shops on the site of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre, saying it could be the latest in a string of broken promises about redevelopment of the area.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Millfield and the city centre Niall Hodson said redevelopment of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre site was long overdue.
The areas has sat as an empty grassed plot between the Bridges shopping centre and the Peacock pub since the building was demolished following the leisure centre's closure in 2013.
But whilst the local councillor welcomed the announcement of a plan for new retail units, Niall Hodson warned that it would have to be "seen to be believed".
It comes after former plans to expand the Bridges onto the site, to build new retail units there and most recently to build a large new Next store have all failed to materialise.
Commenting, councillor for Millfield and the city centre, and Lib Dem group leader on Sunderland Council, Niall Hodson said:
"The former Crowtree Leisure Centre site has sat as a grassy wasteland in the heart of our city centre for years. Redevelopment is long overdue, and I would certainly welcome the building of new shops and facilities in the area.
"However, residents are understandably extremely sceptical about whether this is just the latest promise from Sunderland Council that will come to nothing. We've had several plans for this site - from a previous plan for new shops, to extending the Bridges or building a new Next superstore. All of these have failed to become a reality.
"With the Council's record of failing to deliver redevelopment projects time and time again it seems that new retail units on the Crowtree site really will have to be seen to be believed."