Early plans have been unveiled by Sunderland City Council for a 10,000-capacity arena and events space in Riverside Sunderland that will involve an £80m leisure development.

The project has so far attracted over £20m in funding from Sunderland City Council and national Government and will move into advanced design stages if Sunderland’s Cabinet sign off the proposed budget for the scheme.

The space will sit on the site of the former Crowtree Leisure Centre and will feature a food hall, restaurants, a hotel and studios.

The council said the arena will be created following its successful bid to the UK Government’s Future High Street Fund, and that the council is looking to sign a long-term agreement with a venue operator.

Sunderland City Council leader councillor Graeme Miller said, “We set out an ambition to bring more experiences to the city as part of our Riverside Sunderland investment strategy, and you only have to look at the change to date in the city centre to see that it is more than an aspiration – it’s something we’re determined to make a reality.”

“We’re transforming Sunderland – we’re delivering on our promises to residents – and we’re proud to be spearheading a programme of change in Sunderland that is unlike any period of change in living memory. This new investment will be an incredible addition to the city centre.”