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Campaigner’s ‘Christmas present’ as student flats plan scrapped for former Sunderland pub

Councillor Barbara McClennan accepting a petition from Ray Boddy and concerned residents unhappy about plans to turn the former Eastenders pub into student accommodation.

Councillor Barbara McClennan accepting a petition from Ray Boddy and concerned residents unhappy about plans to turn the former Eastenders pub into student accommodation.

DEVELOPERS have pulled out of plans to turn a derelict pub into student accommodation.

Protestors living near the Eastender, in Sunderland’s East End, said news the application have been withdrawn was a “brilliant Christmas present”.

A bid to transform the former boozer into a four-storey building attracted hundreds of complaints.

Members of East End Residents’ Association collected nearly 400 signatures on a petition objecting to the plans by Naji Property.

Chairwoman Shirley Williams, 66, said: “We are delighted.

“We were positive that we would get some satisfaction, but we certainly did not expect it this soon.

“It is a brilliant Christmas present for everyone.

“I think the people who thought they might develop accommodation in the East End for students have realised that it is not needed.”

Neighbours were afraid the building would become a hostel if students could not be found to fill it.

As well as residents’ complaints, English Heritage had objected that it was not in keeping with the surrounding conservation area.

Councillors and planning officials at Sunderland City Council ruled the would-be developer must prove a need for the 41-bed accommodation.

Hendon councillor Barbara McClennan welcomed the news and added that the council had now changed its policy.

She said: “It was brought to light that there was no policy in place to evidence the need, so the council are changing the policy now.

“They made an exception rule and said because of the number of objections, he will have to prove that there is evidence of need for 41 student accommodation, when the university is saying ‘We are the cheapest in the UK and we can’t fill our beds’.”

An email sent to council planners on behalf of developers said: “We have now had extensive discussions with your design team regarding SCC (Sunderland City Council) requirements for the site, which will probably necessitate the demolition of the existing building, which my client was seeking to avoid.

“This will increase the cost substantially, as will the design philosophy being promoted. My client needs to reflect on this in terms of viability and accordingly we wish to withdraw the planning application.”

 

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