'Deep concerns’ voiced over Asda proposal for Sunderland Shell service station site

‘Deep concerns’ have been voiced over proposals to demolish a petrol station and replace it with a new Asda store.

The scheme includes clearing the site and building a new convenience store with associated works and access. But Cllr Antony Mullen, who represents the Barnes ward where the service station stands and is also leader of the opposition Conservative group on Sunderland City Council, has misgivings.

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Blackburn-based applicants the EG Group, who operate the service station, say the store would “fulfil a local ‘top up’ function rather than [acting] as a comprehensive convenience store” and create eight jobs.

There are proposals to demolish the service station and build an Asda convenience store.

The Echo understands that four people are employed at the Shell garage. If approved, the Asda branch could be open 24-hours and have electric vehicle charging points.

But another Asda sits less than a mile away in Pennywell, while there is a Co-op a few metres from the proposed new branch.

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The story has attracted hundreds of unfavourable comments on the Echo’s Facebook page, with many mentioning the already existing traffic problems and the closeness of Broadway Junior School.

Cllr Mullen is to attend a meeting with his constituents on the matter. He has not categorically opposed the proposals, but has a number of serious questions and may attempt to block the the scheme.

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There is a Co-op across the road from the proposed Asda.

He said: “I have deep concerns about how these proposals will impact upon the road network and, particularly, the already very busy Broadway roundabout, which I believe needs traffic lights in any event.

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"There are also questions about how safe it will be for pedestrians, with a larger single entry/exit point carved out of the pavement on Chester Road proposed, compared to what currently exists.

“It is vital that the utmost importance is placed upon road safety and safe crossings for pedestrians if these plans go ahead. I am undertaking a consultation among residents to understand their views and concerns.

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“My aim is to ensure all their voices are heard as part of this process and, as their councillor, I will reflect their views at the Planning Committee that decides this application – even if that means encouraging the committee to block the application.”

Asda wants to open 200 more of their convenience stores nationally in 2022.

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The planning, design, access and retail statement reads: “It has been comprehensively evidenced that the proposal will result in significant economic benefits in the form of job creation.

“Further to this appropriate retail assessments have been undertaken – there are no sequentially preferable sites and the impact of the proposal will be minimal.

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“The proposed store will complement existing facilities in the area and provide additional choice and value for customers.”

The planning statement adds that the development would result in a “continuation of retail uses at the site” while creating an “increased level of choice and value for customers.”

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A decision on the proposal is expected to be made by late March, following a period of council consultation.

For more information on the planning application or to track its progress, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search using the planning application reference 22/00091/FUL.

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