Decision looming on garden centre plans for Sunderland's 'abandoned' Elemore Golf Course
Plans for a garden centre and café at a former Sunderland golf course site are set to go before councillors for decision next week.
Sunderland City Council lodged an application with its own planning department last year for the former Elemore Golf Course in the Hetton ward.
Following a “Let’s Talk Elemore” public consultation, local residents expressed a desire for the site to be transformed into “usable green space.”
Ideas for the “overgrown” and “abandoned” site included the creation of a ‘Heritage and Eco Country Park’ with grazing areas, a miniature railway, woodland planting, wetlands and play areas.
Next week, a planning application for the first phase of works on the site will be debated by the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee.
This includes converting former golf club buildings into a community-run garden centre and plant nursery with “associated café, meeting, heritage interpretation and training facilities”.
In addition, four polytunnels are planned for the plant nursery and plant sales as well as associated infrastructure and landscaping.
Sunderland City Council planning officers have deemed the scheme acceptable and recommended it for approval.
According to a report prepared for councillors: “It is considered that the proposed development would be acceptable in principle at this location, and that it would be acceptable in relation to its design and visual impact (including on amenity green space) subject to the compliance with / discharge of recommended conditions.
“It would have no unacceptable impacts on residential amenity, highway safety, and ecology, or in relation to contamination subject to the discharge of and compliance with recommended conditions.”
According to planning documents, the site of the former Elemore Colliery and spoil heap was reclaimed in the 1990s to allow the development of a golf course within a woodland setting.
The 61-hectare site was shaped to blend in with the natural landscape and featured an 18-hole golf course – however this closed in 2019.
A decision on the future of the site will be made by the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee on Tuesday, February 1.
The meeting will start at 5.30pm in the council chamber at City Hall and will be open to the public.