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The future of Sunderland's disused port should become clearer following a new £850,000 study of the area by consultant Halcrow. The project, backed by the City of Sunderland and the regional development agency, One North East, is expected to identify a range of potential uses for the huge site, the second largest municipally owned port in England and Wales.

The study is expected to produce a new development plan and market and economic appraisals for the area. It is supported by site investigations and environmental, traffic and engineering studies. Halcrow project director John Irwin explained: 'After years of low investment, the port area demands highly imaginative solutions for sustainable development to be achieved'.

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