New £100million ‘town’ to be created in Sunderland

Philadelphia Lane, Philadelphia

Philadelphia Lane, Philadelphia

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A NEW “town” will be created with hundreds of jobs in a scheme reportedly worth more than £100m, after plans to build hundreds of homes along with a range of facilities were approved.

The huge investment by Esh Developments on land off Philadelphia Lane with see 630 homes built, along with a supermarket, petrol station, shops and a learning and enterprise centre.

There will also be improvements to listed buildings, including the former power station, and new roads, woodland, footpaths and cycle links.

Sunderland City Council’s planning and highways committee last night voted to allow the redevelopment of the Philadelphia depot and surrounding area, leading up to New Herrington.

Employment opportunities will include 188 full-time roles in construction – which will prove good news for the estimated 620 people in Sunderland looking for work in this sector.

In addition, 132 jobs will be created in the food store and petrol station, 45 in the retail units, and 15 in the learning and enterprise building.

An additional 64 spin-off jobs within the supply chain and related services are also expected.

This will almost treble the 133 jobs on the industrial estate, which will also be retained.

Concerns were expressed about the lack of formal play space on the plans, as well as concerns over available school places.

However, almost £1million will be contributed towards education as part of a £2.7million package, while £4million will build a new infrastructure.

The old engine sheds on the site were also a debating point, with the applicant agreeing to offer them to Beamish Museum so their future can be safeguarded.

A total of 77 individual representations and a petition with 184 signatures were received in objection to the plans.

Concerns included the increase in traffic and noise that such a big development would inevitably bring.

Potential flooding problems and building on part of the green belt also caused many to object.

However, Councillor Sheila Ellis was the only member of the committee to vote against the development. She said: “This is building a new town and I can’t see that this report justifies it.”

Esh Developments’s managing director, Geoff Woodcock, said after the meeting: “This has been the culmination of both hard work from the team and the help and support we have had from the many consultations and discussions with stakeholders, which have helped to refine the scheme.

“Sunderland and the North East in general need more schemes like this to revitalise communities and provide homes in order for families to either get a foot on the ladder, or to move forward.”

The development will be built in five stages and is expected to be complete by 2030.