MORE than 60 homes will be built in a community green space – despite fierce opposition from worried residents.
Persimmon Homes has been given the go-ahead by Sunderland City Council to create 63 homes on land east of Gillas Lane, close to the border between Houghton and Hetton.
Scores of residents had written to the council to speak of their opposition to the six-acre development, with many citing increased traffic, a loss of privacy and a possible negative effect on the natural environment as the main issues.
Just last year, plans to build 148 houses on the former Broomhill site and proposals to create a further 78 homes east of there, next to where Persimmon is to build, were given the thumbs up by councillors at a meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee at Sunderland Civic Centre.
Persimmon argues that the site will regenerate the area and also help reduce the shortage of housing on Wearside.
Hetton Road resident Iris McGough, who has lived in her home for the past 27 years, said: “At the moment when I open my curtains. I look out onto a field of about six cows and four calves.
“By next year I could be looking onto loads of houses, which isn’t what we want.”
The 64-year-old added: “We just hope it doesn’t affect us in terms of flooding, which has happened around here in recent years.”
Copt Hill councillor Derrick Smith, who has campaigned against the development, said: “I’m disappointed it’s gone through.
“There is no need for these kind of houses and what we are short of is affordable, rented homes.”
“I’m also worried about possible flooding problems which people living nearby could end up having.”
John Eynon, managing director of Persimmon Homes North East, said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been given. We’ve worked with council officers for more than 10 months to reach a high-quality, sustainable development.
“The approval grants permission for 63 executive family homes, addressing a real housing need in the local area.
“In addition, a large area of public open space will also be incorporated with pedestrian links to Rough Dene Burn, Seven Sisters and beyond.
“A ‘green corridor’ is being created to the southern edge of the development, adjacent to Rough Dene Burn, which will provide an ecological barrier to protect the area and create an attractive edge to Houghton-le-Spring.
“The Section 106 agreement provides for almost £48,000 to be spent by Sunderland City Council on ecological enhancements associated with Rough Dene Burn and Hetton Bogs, and around £44,000 is being paid towards improving local play areas.
“A contribution of more than £350,000 is being made towards affordable housing in the area and the council has said that this is likely to be spent in the Hetton Downs regeneration area close to the development site.
“In relation to concerns over possible flooding, it has been demonstrated that the proposals will not increase the risk of flooding on the site or to existing residents.
“This has been confirmed by Northumbrian Water, the Environment Agency, Sunderland City Council and a council-appointed independent hydrology and flood risk consultant.”