Published on: 21 March 2024

Sunderland's skyline has undergone a transformation as two towering cranes have been erected to help build the region's eagerly awaited eye hospital. 

The 35-metre and 50-metre high saddle cranes now stand proudly on the site, ready to assist with heavy lifting operations.

Cranes have been constructed on the new eye hospital site to help with its construction..JPG

The cranes in place on site, with other buildings on the Riverside Sunderland site and the Stadium of Light below.

Over the course of a week, the cranes were meticulously set up, marking a significant milestone in the development of the new eye hospital. 

Time-lapse footage captured from a camera overlooking the site showcases the assembly process of each crane, demonstrating the precision and expertise involved.

Aerial imagery captured by a drone offers a glimpse of the progress made on the site, revealing the start of digging work for the hospital's foundation. 

The broader view highlights the site as it begins to take shape. 

A photo taken using a drone shows the cranes on site and where construction work has begun on the new eye hospital..png

An image taken by a drone shows the site from above.

Situated on Plater Way, the new eye hospital is being built on the site of the former Vaux Brewery as part of the Riverside Sunderland development. 

Scheduled to take just over two years to complete, construction started at start of December, marking the beginning of a new era in eye care provision for the region.

Once open, the hospital will replace the aging Sunderland Eye Infirmary in Queen Alexandra Road, providing state-of-the-art facilities and services to patients from across the North East and North Cumbria. 

Designed by Ryder Architects and constructed by Kier Construction, the project is a collaboration between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Ken Bremner MBE, Chief Executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"The cranes are a sure sign work on our fantastic new hospital is well underway. 

"We're very excited to see the new building take shape.

"The cranes are a sure sign work on our fantastic new hospital is well underway. We will be able to see this equipment busy at work over the next year or two as they lift and carry materials across the site below.

"We’re very excited to see the new building take shape and I know our colleagues and patients from across the region share in our delight that this amazing new home for our eye care services is coming soon."

Dan Doherty, Regional Director for Kier Construction North and Scotland, added:

"We are proud to be working with Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust on this new hospital, which will provide superb eye care to Sunderland and the wider region. 

"Work is progressing well on site, and we look forward to the completion of the new building."

The new hospital is one of a number of significant developments underway at Riverside Sunderland, and part of a plan that will bring 10,000 new workers to the heart of the city, as well as homes for 2,500 residents and new leisure venues for people to enjoy. 

Councillor Kevin Johnston, Dynamic City Portfolio Holder, said:

"Riverside Sunderland is totally transforming, and the eye hospital represents an important addition, delivering a world-class health facility at the heart of one of the UK’s most ambitious regeneration schemes.  

"There can be few more visible signs of change than cranes in the sky, so this is a great moment."

The new eye hospital represents a significant investment in the region's healthcare infrastructure, underscoring the commitment to providing high-quality medical services to the community.

External view from residential area.jpg

How the new eye hospital will look once complete.

The STS Charity, which is run by the Trust, is leading the Vision Appeal. 

This aims to raise funds to help the hospital stay at the forefront of eye treatments and technology and will help but more equipment for the new hospital.

For more details click here