Hole in the wall gang: Neighbours furious over problem gap in Sunderland street

Coun Rosalind Copeland, right, with the petition received from Coldstream Avenue residents, Elizabeth Stafford, Kimberly Williamson, Margaret and Stephen Divens, concerning the wall.

Coun Rosalind Copeland, right, with the petition received from Coldstream Avenue residents, Elizabeth Stafford, Kimberly Williamson, Margaret and Stephen Divens, concerning the wall.

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Families on a Sunderland street are being driven up the wall by a planning row.

Residents on Coldstream Avenue, Southwick, are unhappy over a gap left in a wall at one end of the street, which they say now allows people to use their road as a short-cut to nearby shops.

It comes after a piece of fencing, filling a gap in the wall, was removed by developers Housing and Care 21 after it recently completed building work on sheltered accommodation development Gillbaker Fields, on nearby Bardolph Street.

Concerns were raised by residents after they noticed an increase in people passing through the gap and using their street to gain access to Thompson Road, and the Aldi supermarket on Carley Hill Road.

Now Margaret Dizens has launched a petition to get the gap in the wall covered again amid fears a permanent pathway will be established.

Mrs Dizens, 61, and her husband Stephen, 63, believe the long term effect would be an increase in rubbish and anti-social behaviour and say people remain in the dark as to whether this gap is permanent.

Mr Dizens said: “I live at the end of Coldstream Avenue near the wall. Housing 21 did some new development and put a fence up while the building work was going on.

“Now the building has finished, a hole in the wall has been left. We are under the impression they will knock the whole of the wall down to create a pathway.

“It’s never been a right of way and we don’t want people using our street as a short cut to get up to the shops. All the residents have said they are really against it, as it is a quiet cul de sac and has always been that way.

“When we moved here 25 years ago, the wall was always there and people had no access before. It is going to spoil our quality of life.”

Mrs Dizens started the petition on February 3 to gauge the reaction of residents and says 29 homes have signed it.

A spokesman from Housing and Care 21 said the Gillbaker Fields development provided extra care apartments and retirement bungalows which have now been completed and residents have moved in.

He added: “The builders had metal fencing up to protect the site and the public while the work was carried out. The fencing has been removed permanently now the work has been finished.

“The wall has been damaged over time and parts are in poor condition.

“We are currently talking to Gentoo, another housing provider in the area, to try and establish who is responsible for the wall and repairing any historic damage.

“If people living nearby have concerns they are welcome to contact us so we can discuss this with them.”

A spokesman from Sunderland City Council said residents were notified of the application, but they would respond to any specific concerns which may be raised.