A FORMER cafe in a mostly commercial city centre street is to be converted into student accommodation after planning permission was granted, despite the reservation of neighbours.
The building in Norfolk Street – previously Lunch&Go – will now be developed into five en-suite bedrooms after planners at Sunderland City Council rubber-stamped the plans.
The two-storey terraced property, within the Sunniside conservation area, will also include a communal living and kitchen area in the basement.
However, neighbours have expressed concerns a residential development is not in keeping with the commercial nature of the properties or the area as a whole.
Next-door neighbour, Sean Coates, of Hustler Fashion, submitted one of two objections to the planning application. “Sunniside was meant to be a commercial area with restaurants, bars and small independent shops,” he said.
“More and more are closing in the area, and rather than tackling the issues that are driving them away, or to attract businesses to stay, you are converting more businesses into student accommodation.
“The last few businesses will just jump ship for this to become a cheap accommodation area, instead of the historical quarter that is was meant to be.”
Christopher Anderson, of The Post Office, West Sunniside, said: “The long-term plan for Sunniside was to develop an alternative place to go with nice restaurants, cafes and really nice bars. I feel if this goes ahead it will be another step back for the area.
“We need to boost the Sunniside economy with cafes, shops and top-end bars. Not get rid of a cafe.”