Sunderland ‘riverside village’ blueprints are approved

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BLUEPRINTS for a new “riverside village”, pictured above, with 650 homes, a school and businesses on a former industrial site have been given the go-ahead.

A mix of different types of homes, a small shopping area, a riverside park, sports pitches, a commercial area and the landing point for the new Wear bridge are all proposed for the former Groves Cranes site in Pallion.

Landowners O&H have now drawn up a final development framework for the site after a consultation with Wearsiders, and members of Sunderland City Council’s planning and highways committee have given them the green light.

Chairman Phil Tye said: “This is an important site and a fundamental part of the city and I’m pleased we’re making a step towards getting something done there.”

Keith Lowes, the council’s head of planning and environment, said: “The over-arching vision for Groves is to deliver a high quality mixed-use residential community on the edge of Sunderland city centre.

“The Groves site will also be the southern landing point for the proposed Wear Bridge Crossing and accommodate part of the Sunderland Strategic Transport corridor.

“As such, this site is really important for the future regeneration of Sunderland.”

O&H unveiled its initial plans in August and asked Wearsiders to give their opinions. It is the second time the firm has brought forward plans for the Groves site, which closed in 1998.

In 2004, an outline planning application for the 37-hectare site was submitted by O&H.

It proposed 1,500 homes – predominantly apartments – 10,000m² of office space, 2,500m² of shops and office and business space, a primary school and the Grace House Children’s Hospice, which is now being built in Southwick. But the planning application was withdrawn in 2007, and talk of developing the site fell quiet during the economic downturn.

A total of 32 people took part in the consultation on the new plans, with 27 expressing support and five offering neutral comments. There were no objections.

Councillor Margaret Forbes, who represents St Michael’s for the Conservatives, said she was pleased there would be a mix of housing – including executive properties.

She said: “Sunderland seems to have missed out in terms of ‘des res’ and I’m pleased this will go some way to correcting that.”

The development framework will now be used to draw-up more detailed plans for the future of the development and regeneration of the Groves site.

O&H will have to have detailed planning applications approved by Sunderland City Council before any construction work can begin.

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