Petition launched against Sunderland eco homes bid for heritage site

editorial image
Have your say

CONCERNED residents have vowed to fight the development of bespoke eco homes on the site of a Bronze Age settlement.

People living near Humbledon Hill, Barnes, fear the proposals for 13 futuristic properties – drawn up by Sunderland architect Richard Marsden and a team from Northumbria University – will adversely impact the heritage site.

Various petitions, including one on, have been set up to collect signatures.

Fourteen years after a previous development proposal, and three years since part of the hill was granted ancient monument status, people living in the area have been angered that they have to fight again.

“This should have safeguarded any development from taking place in this area,” the petition reads. “This would be damaging to the setting of this beautiful wildlife-inhabited historic land.

“Unfortunately, only part of the hill was granted ancient monument status, leaving some of the land unprotected and vulnerable to future development. This unprotected part is still an integral section of the hill setting and is inhabited by many types of wildlife. All of these creatures will be driven away from their homes to an uncertain future.”

English Heritage has given the plans its full support after Mr Marsden, a director of Durham-based BDN Ltd, wrote to its inspector of ancient monuments, Rob Young, for advice. In a six-page letter, which is available in full on Sunderland City Council’s planning portal, Mr Young states that it is unlikely that the proposed development would have any impact on significant archeological remains.

“In my view, the proposed development would not have a further deleterious impact upon the monument setting,” the letter reads, adding that “English Heritage would have no objections to you proceeding with a full planning application”.

David Crossley, 53, who lives in Tudor Grove with his wife and elderly mother-in-law, fears the development will affect wildlife including birds, bats and badgers.

“This development can’t be eco-friendly if it’s going to ruin a whole habitat,” he said. “We moved here nine years ago because we were told it was a heritage site and couldn’t be built on.

“It was the reason we bought the house.”