In the course of 2019 we’ve had several site visits, from the architects, the funders, the local authority. They have been following how the buildings develop, how step-by-step the renovation takes place and the new design emerges.

For example, (May 2019) by Doonan Architects, the design team, visiting and inspecting the site, whilst also discussing the design ideas with future users Pop Recs (May 2019).

In July 2019 the OpenHeritage Finance taskforce (Joep de Roo and Rolf Novy-Huy) visited the project. They were introduced to the context and met with the key stakeholders in the project. They continue to work with the TWBPT to ensure a robust business plan is developed. The objective of the visit was for the Finance taskforce to get a clearer picture of the situation in Sunderland, so they can better the lab with ideas for process, financing, use and business case. We had a day long programme, including a tour in the building and the area, and meetings with relevant stake- and shareholders related to the buildings. There were meetings with various representatives of the municipality of Sunderland, working on heritage and on revitalising the Highstreet area, as well as with Pop Recs, and with Sunderland Culture and with not-for-profit and profit organisations that are running similar heritage renovation and building management projects in the area.

We welcomed the Architectural Heritage Fund team in Oct 2019 and introduced them to the Heritage Action Zone, High Street and the buildings. AHF is generously supporting the building works through their highstreets funding programme.

In March 2020 we also had a visit from Helen Green who is Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture.  The purpose of this visit was to discuss what works would be required to enable the space to be able to be used for Theatre and other art forms.