Proposal to demolish former Sunderland school buildings to make way for new homes

Proposals to demolish a former city school building to make way for new homes have been lodged with planning chiefs.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 5:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 2:01 pm

Earlier this month, Sunderland City Council validated plans for a new development at Clifton Hall, off Douro Terrace.

The application, from The Vardy Foundation, aims to demolish the existing derelict building and to erect townhouses in its place.

This includes a total of nine three-storey properties with gardens and detached garages.

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Clifton Hall, Douro Terrace Picture: Google

The site sits within the Ashbrooke Conservation Area and was last used by Sunderland High School.

A design and access statement, submitted with the plans, outlines the benefits of the scheme and reasons for demolition.

It reads: “Whilst the merit of Clifton Hall’s Victorian architecture is apparent, it should be noted that it is not unique.

“Ashbrooke houses many halls and terraces of this era, many of which show similar and grander Victorian detail and as such are historically more significant and contribute greater to the local character.

Clifton Hall, Douro Terrace Picture: Google

“In fact, since Clifton Hall principally faces gardens with the main road running along its western elevation, unlike most of the neighbouring Victorian terraces, it is quite obscured and contributes to the street scene very little.

“The building has sat derelict for a number of years now and is deteriorating, its historic use and heavy asbestos contamination makes it unviable to convert.

“As such it is destined to worsen in condition until it’s eventual demolition, hence the recommendation to replace it with a new proposal which will contribute to the charter of the locality.”

According to planning documents, Clifton Hall was originally two pairs of semi-detached villas which were joined together to form a training college in 1933.

This included teaching facilities on the ground floor and residential accommodation above.

The building changed hands in 2000 with the first floor redesigned and second floor separated into dormitory rooms for use by Sunderland High School.

A ‘statement of significance’ submitted with the planning application adds the building is of “low-medium heritage value.”

It goes on to say: “Compared to its neighbours, this building has undergone major alterations and extensions through different building uses and has lost much of the original fabric and, consequently, its heritage value. ”

The housing plans for Clifton Hall are currently out for consultation.

Comments can be made by writing to Sunderland City Council’s planning department or leaving a comment on its online portal.

A final decision is expected by mid-November.

For more information, visit and search planning reference: 20/01005/FUL

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