Former Sunderland school site to be sold off for housing development

Council bosses have rubber stamped plans to sell the former site of a Sunderland school to a developer for affordable housing.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 14:02
The former Southwick Primary School site, where developers want to build affordable housing. Pic: Google Maps.

This week, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet backed plans to dispose the former Southwick Primary School site, off Northern Way.

The school closed its doors for good in 2009 as pupils made the move to a state-of-the-art building in nearby Shakespeare Street.

Bernicia Group wants to build 38 homes on the former site of Southwick Primary School. Pic: Google Maps.

Following the decision, the site will be transferred to North East housing association the Bernicia Group for a proposed 38-home estate.

Its plans include eight bungalows and a mixture of 30 two, three and four-bedroom houses with private gardens and parking.

However, the final decision on proposals rests with council planners, subject to a full application and designs for the site.

Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Stuart Porthouse, speaking at Sunderland Civic Centre, stressed the benefits of the scheme.

“The site is now closed and there are no operational requirements for the site,” he said.

“The council has been approached by Bernicia Group for the proposed redevelopment of approximately 40 affordable homes, with a mixture of tenure and house types.

“This development will meet a need for new affordable homes in the Southwick ward.

“Bernicia have also secured a Homes England grant for the provision of affordable homes which will be allocated to this site to assist in the viability and delivery of new homes.”

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He added the decision will see a conditional contract drafted to allow the developer to progress the scheme to full planning approval.

The land will also be sold at a “best reasonably obtainable” price and agreed by council officers and the cabinet secretary, a council report states.

Bernicia’s executive director of assets and growth, Michael Farr, said there was a “strong demand from local people” for high quality homes in the area.

“Our aim is to deliver the quality, well-designed new homes local people need and deserve at rents and purchase prices they can afford,” he said.

“We know this is an important location in Southwick with real significance to the local community.

“Our homes will be ideal for a range of people looking to rent or purchase, including young families, older people looking to downsize, as well as first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder.

“We own 1,450 properties in Sunderland and have 50 years’ experience of successfully working with people and communities to deliver houses people are proud to call home.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Sunderland City Council on this important scheme.”

If approved, some of the homes will be available for shared ownership, with purchasers buying part of the property and renting the rest from Bernicia.

As part of the proposals, an existing park on the north of the site will be moved to the east to allow access for the new homes.

The developer is hoping to submit an application to the council in the spring.

Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporting Service