Ex-hostel plan gets go-ahead

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A CONTROVERSIAL hostel is being reborn as student lodgings – but not without a further row.

The Ingleside hostel for young gay people shut down this year after causing neighbours a string of problems with noise and nuisance.

But residents mustered fresh opposition after applicant Jasreigh Kaur and her family brought forward plans to convert the former care home in Tunstall Road, Ashbrooke, into student bedsits.

Les Cheetham, a spokesman for objecting residents from neighbouring Valebrooke Terrace, said: “We have nothing against the Kaurs, and we believe they will try.

“But we’ve lived through it. We’re the ones who have called the police when there have been problems.

“We really do believe there are enough houses of multiple occupation in the area.”

Mr Cheetham was speaking at a meeting to decide on a planning application for the student house, which would contain 10 bed sits with shared facilities.

Concerns were raised about noise from the students, parking and road safety problems in already congested streets and the impact on property prices in the area.

Councillors also voiced concerns about the growing number of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the Ashbrooke area and other parts of the city.

They also pointed out that if the development did not attract enough students, less desirable tenants may move in.

A spokesman for Mrs Kaur, however, defended the proposals.

He said tenants would have to follow a set of rules, and Mrs Kaur’s daughter and son-in-law would be living in manager’s quarters in the house.

“We want it to be a peaceful place to live,” he said.

“We’re looking at providing accommodation for international students. They tend to be more focused on their studies.

“Their parents spend a lot of money sending them here so they tend to be more devoted to studying.”

He added that international students also tended not to have cars. He said if neighbours had problems with tenants, they could take it up with the Kaurs.

Officers from Sunderland City Council’s planning department recommended councillors approve consent for the development.

Four councillors, including St Michael’s ward councillors Peter Wood and Margaret Forbes, voted against granting planning approval – but were outnumbered by other members of the committee.

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