A NEW £100million community is set to be built on Wearside after it was given the green light despite impassioned pleas for the plans to be scrapped.
Bosses at Esh Developments initially went back to the drawing board over proposals to build 600 new homes, shops and an employment zone off Philadelphia Lane, near Houghton.
Plans initially given the go-ahead by Sunderland City Council were met by fierce opposition from residents living nearby, who argued the scheme would make their lives unbearable because of increased noise and traffic problems.
Calls for a public inquiry were heeded by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, but the plans were then taken off the table by Esh at the end of last year, however, they came back with a revised plan just months later, stating that up to 500 homes would be built, rather than the originally intended 600.
As well as the homes, a supermarket with up to 250 car parking spaces and a 57,000 sq ft employment and enterprise zone will also be created.
And the Grade II-listed former Philadelphia Power Station is set to be revamped and become a learning and enterprise centre with parking spaces for up to 140 cars.
A meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee heard from councillors and residents opposed to the scheme, citing increased traffic and a possible detrimental effect on retail trade in nearby areas as the main issues.
Copt Hill councillor Colin Wakefield told members: “The scale of the application is massive and the purpose-built college at Shiney Row less than a mile away is to close soon and is already subject to yet another planning application for 144 houses. “The application will have a huge impact on many people’s lives over a wide area.”
Karen Ramsay, who lives in Chapel Row, just yards from where the development will be constructed, said: “Philadelphia is a very small community and there is a real worry over lack of school places in the area and a lack of GP surgeries.”
In response, Christopher Harrison, of applicant Nathaniel Lichfield, argued that 80 per cent of the site is currently vacant and derelict and that the addition of new homes was something the area badly needs.
Councillors then voted 10 to two in favour of approving the application.
Following the meeting, Coun Wakefield said: “It’s disgusting.
“The site has been allowed to fall into disrepair and now three roads are going to come from it meaning traffic will become even more of a major issue.”
Work will be carried out in phases but could be completely finished by 2030.
Homes on church land
ANOTHER controversial plan to build housing, this time on land owned by the church, also received the go-ahead.
Durham Chapter and Croxdale Farms Limited want to create up to 96 executive homes on settlement break farm land in East Rainton, just off Durham Road.
More than 250 objections have been registered against the plans since they were submitted.
At a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee, Hetton councillor James Blackburn urged members not approve the scheme.
“It would add a boil to this quiet village,” he said.
More than 30 residents were present in the public gallery to show their anger at the proposals.
However, despite concerns over possible flooding and the housing density of the scheme, seven committee members voted to approve it, with just two opposing.