Neighbours’ anger over eco-home ‘monstrosity’ planned for garage site

Doxford Avenue resident Mel Rudkin is unhappy with planning application.
Doxford Avenue resident Mel Rudkin is unhappy with planning application.
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Angry neighbours say a major extension to turn a garage into an eco-home will make their lives a nightmare.

People living in Doxford Avenue in Hetton, close to the Three Tuns pub, have hit out after a resident gained planning permission to turn a garage he owns in the street into a house.

It’s going to be a monstrosity and not in keeping with the rest of the houses around here.

Mel Rudkin, resident, Doxford Avenue

The changes will see a first floor extension added above the existing building, which used to be a stable for goats.

Mel Rudkin, who lives next door to the building, says the development will look “like a castle” and doesn’t think it is in keeping with the general look of the area.

The application, by Peter Ruddick, was approved by Sunderland City Council at a committee meeting last month.

Artist’s impressions show a home with a front garden, as well as a balcony on the upper floor.

Mr Rudkin, 74, who has lived in the house since 1981, said he and other residents have issues with possible drainage problems and also the fact that once finished, the building will overlook their homes.

“I just don’t know why it has been passed in the first place,” said Mr Rudkin, a former construction worker.

“It’s going to be a monstrosity and not in keeping with the rest of the houses around here.”

Another resident Steve Southam, of nearby Elmfield, wrote on Sunderland City Council’s planning site: “It will be inappropriate, and an overdevelopment, of this small, confined and ‘surrounded’ site.

“There will be a loss of privacy for the adjacent neighbours.

“There is insufficient parking being provided on the site due to its confined nature.”

Derek Craig, also of Doxford Avenue, wrote: “I object to the application as there will be a loss of privacy and light for the adjacent neighbours.

“It is not in keeping with surrounding properties, access to the rear of 1, 2 and 3 Doxford Avenue could become a major issue for emergency services, utility services and maintenance of properties.

“The planned access to the property could compromise access and parking of adjoining properties which already have a problem of congested parking and traffic on an already dangerous, narrow street corner.”

Mr Ruddick has however hit back, saying that two Government planning inspectors have looked at the development and it the final plans have been amended to suit their recommendations.

“This has gone past the councillors and planners and there are no issues with it,” said Mr Ruddick.

“It’s been done properly through Northumbrian Water so there will be no problems with drainage.

“We’ve chewed around with it for years and years to get it right.

“We tried to accommodate the residents and make it as low as possible.

“More homes are needed and this type of development would make a nice home for a young family.”