Sections of historic orphanage to be demolished

The old orphanage building at Sunderland's East End
The old orphanage building at Sunderland's East End
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DEVELOPERS have been given the go-ahead to demolish part of a former orphanage to make way for a specialist dementia care facility.

The proposals, which were passed by councillors at a planning meeting, will see sections of the Grade II-listed building in Moor Terrace, in Sunderland’s East End, knocked down.

The work will also involve the demolition of a community association, which will be re-housed both during construction work and once it has been completed.

City councillors were told how the proposals would enable the refurbishment of the property and help fund its future maintenance and upkeep.

However, the Sunderland Heritage Quarter Project raised concerns about the plans, highlighting a “lack of justification” for knocking down parts of the orphanage and the “unsympathetic design” of the new building.

Similarly, English Heritage expressed reservations about the project, mainly about the appearance of the new centre.

But councillors recommended that the plans be approved, subject to conditions concerning habitat and bat surveys.

Coun Tom Martin said: “There is a heritage area there, and we need to keep as much of that as we can.

“But I welcome this and the plans for the new facility.”

A spokesman from English Heritage said: “The former orphanage is a prominent building in Old Sunderland, and from across the churchyard its Italianate tower can be seen standing proudly.

“The building’s condition has been of concern for some time, so we welcome the proposed new use of the site as it offers opportunities for it to be repaired and used again.

“The rear ranges of the building are of less significance than the frontage building, and the design of the new building must be of a quality to justify demolition of these ranges.

“However, our main concern is that the future of the main Grade II-listed building is secured.

“We have therefore recommended to the local authority that the listed building is repaired as an early phase of the overall development, and that both the quality of these repairs and the future maintenance of the building are assured through a legally binding agreement.”

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