Sunniside Public Realm

CEEQUAL Very Good (66.2%) – Whole Project Award
Version 3, Jul 2011 | Sunderland, England

Client: Sunderland City Council
Design: Sunderland CIty Council, Robinson Landscape Design, Kapok and Lightfolio
Construction: Lumsden and Carroll Construction

Project Summary

The Sunniside Public Realm scheme involved significant public realm improvement works within the Sunniside area of Sunderland City centre. The strategic aim was to create safer, more attractive, pedestrian friendly connections between the City Centre and Sunniside, as well as enhancing the area and encouraging new business and attractions from the private sector to this area of the city.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, Sunniside City Council developed the Sunniside Planning and Design Framework which informs development control decisions. Under the Framework the client outlines that the project should aspire to reach a ‘Very Good’ CEEQUAL Award. The project team successfully achieved this benchmark.

The works involved the complete refurbishment of a number of streets. This included new paving, highway surfacing, street lighting and provision of new street furniture; which maintained the character and conservation status of the area. Also included within the works, were themed series of art projects incorporating light and sound to various locations within the scheme.



  • Design and delivery of a high-quality public realm
  • Creating a pedestrian friendly environment within the city centre
  • Improve movement spaces for pedestrians
  • Creation of an environment to revitalise and stimulate regeneration of the area
  • Obtaining a suitable local area to use as site compound; enabling off-site works and storage of materials; mitigating aspects such as dust, noise, vibration and general visual pollution

Design and Material Use

  • The pavement design considered the existing precast flagging, and where appropriate, these have been re-used. This was in accordance to maximising the use of recyclable material from sustainable resources and minimise construction waste, outlined in the Sunniside Planning and Design Framework.
  • High-quality paving in granite and granite blocks as well as Yorkstone paving has been utilised to enhance the scheme and tie in with adjacent improvement schemes
  • A combination of street lighting and artistic lighting, as well as projections and calming audio, created a safe public realm environment.

Effects on Neighbours

A key aspect to the project was to maintain a good relationship with the local community, Local Authority Highways, Environmental Departments and local bus companies. This was achieved through a series of public meetings, letter drops and media advertisements. Regular weekly consultation meetings were conducted to discuss forthcoming works to enable all parties to plan to alleviate the disruptive effects of the works.