Sunderland Amusements to be demolished and replaced with new ‘family entertainment centre’, cafe and apartments

The old Roker amusements building is set to be demolished and replaced with new “family entertainment centre”, Sunderland City Council has confirmed.

The building closed several years ago, facing a decline in business and the covid-19 pandemic, but under new plans, it will be demolished to make way for a modern two-storey development.

The plans describe a “a family entertainment centre and ancillary café at ground floor level and accommodation above”, with three apartments proposed, as well as an area for four car parking spaces at the southern end of the site.

Planning documents refer to the existing building as the former ‘Bellerby’s Amusement Arcade’ and say the site is in a “poor condition” and “no longer fit for purpose”.

If it goes ahead, the plan will create ten jobs, with five full-time employees and five part-time roles.

A planning, design and access statement, prepared for applicant Seldons Leisureworld Ltd, also provides more details on the proposed development.

This includes the two-storey building’s design mirroring the Pier Point development at Marine Walk and a planned replacement RNLI store to mitigate for the loss of the existing store as part of the development.

Those behind the proposed leisure facility have said it will “serve the needs of visitors without adversely affecting the environment or the character of the surrounding area”.

The planning, design and access statement adds: “In terms of scale, height and massing, the proposed development carefully responds to the context of the site to ensure any impact on the surrounding areas will be kept to a minimum.

“In this regard, the building’s form, styling and proposed materials take inspiration from the traditional timber buildings that have historically lined the lower promenade.

“It also follows the design theme of the more recent developments at Pier Point to the south of the site.

“In this respect, it reflects the mix of historic building types that once characterised the area in a contemporary fashion”.

A decision on the scheme will be made later this year once a period of council consultation has concluded.