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The Vaux Brewery in city centre Sunderland once held a dominant position, overlooking the dramatic gorge of the River Wear. Now demolished, the site has been taken over by Sunderland City Council and its partner Igloo Development, with a remit to develop according to a mixed-use masterplan.


Landscape Projects were commissioned with URBED to develop the planning application for the masterplan, and the first phase of the development. The landscape plan exploits the dramatic location by positioning a new square on the cliff edge, linked by a artwork walking route (the Keel Line) to the city centre.


The plan also includes a comprehensive surface water drainage strategy, which responds to two key constraints : the requirement to reduce surface water outflow to minimal (Greenfield) levels, and the requirement to minimise penetration of surface water into the underlying (limestone) substrate.


The resulting Sustainable Urban surface water drainage (SUDS) system, devised in conjunction with Cundalls Engineering, creates a network of interlinked swales, integrated into the street design, which channel water from adjacent surfaces to a balancing pond created from a hollow left over from the Vaux Brewery site. The project is still under construction.

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