Houghton homes plan revived after successful appeal

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MORE than 180 new homes could be built on a former industrial site.

Developers have submitted detailed plans to build a mix of family homes, flats and bungalows on the SIG factory site at Sedgeletch Industrial Estate, Houghton.

The SIG Combiblock packaging plant in Blackthorn Way ceased operations in 2006 and since then the site has sat largely vacant.

Property advisors Storeys SSP, working on behalf of the developers, said: “The principle of development at this site on the Sedgeletch Industrial Estate can be supported by national policy which aims to create sustainable, safe and mixed communities that will enable the economy to prosper.”

The plans have been submitted to Sunderland City Council by SIG Finanz AG.

The proposals include 30 flats, 29 bungalows, 31 four-to-five bedroom houses, 92 two-to-three bedroom houses and 346 parking spaces.

The plans come after SIG Finanz won its appeal against the council to press ahead with plans for the development.

Councillors refused to give outline planning permission for a mixed residential and business development at the site when proposals were put before a planning committee last year.

The original outline plans were for 71 homes to be built together with business units.

Planners recommended members rejected the proposals because the land was not suitable for housing.

Officers said the development would lead to a loss of employment land and building homes near industrial units would lead to noise problems creating an “unacceptable residential environment”.

Concerns were also raised about access and children’s play space.

SIG Finanz appealed to The Planning Inspectorate last December, and inspector Kevin Ward found in favour of the developer.

Mr Ward said: “The main operations at the SIG factory ceased in mid 2006. Whilst there has been some limited disposal of smaller buildings and land, the main complex has remained largely vacant since then, despite continuing marketing attempts.

“The council accepted at the inquiry that there is little prospect of the site coming forward for employment purposes in the foreseeable future.”

Councillors on the Houghton, Hetton and Washington development control committee were angered when they were told the appeal had been upheld.

Members said they had simply followed the planners recommendations, which they believed were in accordance with policies.

The council must now pay costs incurred at the appeal by SIG Finanz.