Flanagan Lawrence wins planning consent for £8.2 m cultural venue in

Flanagan Lawrence's design for a new auditorium for Sunderland Music, Arts And Culture Trust has been granted planning approval and funding this week. Construction work will begin later this year with the multi-use auditorium opening in 2019.

The Sunderland Music, Arts And Culture Trust is creating a Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter (MACQ) in the centre of Sunderland that will restore and re-establish the area's previous importance as the Edwardian heart and soul of the city. The MACQ will encompass a series of fine buildings all built in Sunderland's heyday in the early 1900s and a new auditorium designed by Flanagan Lawrence. Within the quarter will be the already successful Empire, the Dun Cow and the Londonderry pubs.

The focus of the proposed accommodation is a new auditorium – designed to accommodate audiences of 450 people seated or 750 people standing. The hall will be designed to work equally well for amplified music or a natural acoustic, for the staging of drama, dance or comedy and conference events. Foyers and back of house accommodation will serve the hall. The venue will capitalise on the surrounding public open space and create a destination in the heart of Sunderland. It will form a natural partner to the restaurants, bars and drama and dance rehearsal spaces proposed in the Fire station.