Plans approved to turn fire-hit former furniture store in Sunderland into builders merchant

Proposals to transform a former fire-hit furniture store into a builders merchant have been given the stamp of approval by planning bosses.

Earlier this year, a planning application was lodged with Sunderland City Council to redevelop the former Home Living store in the Ryhope ward.

The site, off Salterfen Road, hit the headlines in 2019 after a blaze left a large section of glass at the front of the building shattered, part of the showroom wrecked and the business damaged by smoke, with a mezzanine area used as storage also affected.

Traces of the retail use have since been removed, with the wider site gated shut and the building boarded up.

Plans have been approved for the former Home Living store

After remaining vacant for some time, new plans have now been approved to secure the building’s future.

Plans include fitting the building out as a builders merchant with a showroom and trade counter and the development of external areas to increase yard space for stock.

Builders merchants typically supply products to the building trade and general public.

While no operator has been named for the Ryhope site in planning documents, the development could bring a major jobs boost to the area.

Home Living store was devastated by fire.

According to a planning application, 11 full-time jobs and two part-time roles are expected to be created.

Following consultation on the plans, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved the change of use for the site on Thursday, June 24.

Planners said the proposal met the requirements of various planning policies and was acceptable subject to conditions.

The council’s environmental health department also raised no objections to the development and proposed opening hours.

The blaze at the Home Living store caused extensive damage.

A council report reads: “Given the nature of the proposed development and separation distances, it is considered that it would have no unacceptable impacts on the amenities of the occupiers of any neighbouring properties in relation to privacy, outlook and over dominance, or overshadowing.”

Under the terms of the planning permission, work on the builders merchant must start within the next three years.

Conditions also limit construction and associated deliveries to 8am-6pm on “any given day.”

For more information on the planning application, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/00851/FUL

Former Home Living store in Ryhope