Last year, Sunderland City Council lodged an application with its own planning department for the former Elemore Golf Course.
Regeneration plans for the site, which is earmarked for a major revamp as part of a wider vision to create a “Heritage and Eco Country Park”, were developed through the council’s ‘Let’s Talk’ public consultation, with local residents expressing a desire for it become “usable green space.”
The first phase of work, which includes turning the former golf club buildings as a community-run garden centre and plant nursery with “associated café, meeting, heritage interpretation and training facilities”, went before the city council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee this week.
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And the proposals for the site, which has previously been branded “overgrown” and “abandoned”, won unanimous support from city councillors.
Councillor Melanie Thornton, chair of the Planning and Highways (West) Committee, described the scheme as an “absolutely fantastic development.”
Cllr Thornton went on to say:“I think it’s great to see investment across the city and the fact that this is right on the boundary of the city.
“We sometimes have levelled at us that it’s only the city centre that has investment.
“So this is demonstrating that Sunderland City Council are happy to invest right across the city, across all wards.
“I think this is a fantastic development and a community-run project – we can only encourage those sorts of applications.”
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.
Under new plans for the site, the golf course buildings will be altered to provide an entrance foyer, kitchen and toilets, a vehicle and equipment store, a café and external servery point, a ‘horticultural training room’ and a garden centre retail area.
According to a report prepared for councillors, the development would have no “unacceptable impacts” on residential amenity, highway safety or ecology.