Plans have been submitted for two drive-through outlets on the former Dewhurst site at Pennywell Industrial Estate, next to the existing ALDI supermarket, KFC and Wickes store.
But councillors say measures are needed to avoid traffic problems on the roundabout linking the retail park to Chester Road and the A19 if the development goes ahead.
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They are also calling for a new pedestrian crossing to allow safe, ground-level access to the new outlets.
At present, the Hastings Hill subway under Chester Road is the only link from Grindon and Hastings Hill but ward member Coun Margaret Crosby said many local people preferred to risk crossing the four lanes of traffic.
“For years this subway has been notorious and subject to regular vandalism, anti-social behaviour and arson which means many residents don’t feel comfortable using it,” she said.
“With two new retail units now on the cards and more local people wanting to cross from Grindon and Hastings Hill estates to the new Greggs and Starbucks, Sunderland Council needs to get a grip and urgently commit to installing a safe, ground-level pedestrian crossing.
“A new crossing could be part of efforts to improve the traffic flow on the Hastings Hill roundabout, where peak-time traffic lights could well be needed to deal with extra traffic from this new development.
"This would also help local people to get out from Hastings Hill and Grindon onto the main road which is an absolute nightmare in rush hours.”
A Sunderland City Council spokesman said funding to improve the Hasting Hill underpass had been part of the previous planning permission for the site and a new crossing had been considered but ruled out: “One of the planning conditions for the Dewhirst development was that it should help fund improvements to the Hastings Hill subway and its approaches.
“The subway improvements were completed as required and funded by the ALDI development.
“There have been requests for a pedestrian crossing to replace the subway but this is not considered to be feasible based on highway constraints.”