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Obesity fears blamed as takeaway plans rejected for Sunderland street where more than a fifth of businesses are already permitted to serve hot food

Plans for a new hot food takeaway in Sunderland city centre have been turned down by development chiefs over public health and heritage concerns.

By Chris Binding
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 4:59 pm

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Proposals to revamp the site, in Vine Place, were submitted to Sunderland City Council late last year.

The business unit was last used as a retail outlet for arts and crafts goods, however the space is understood to have been vacant for a number of years.

The latest scheme hoped secure permission for it to be designated a hot food takeaway, with alterations made to the shopfront.

The site in Vine Place.

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But after considering the application the city council’s planning department refused to grant permission for work to go ahead, citing a clash with council policies trying to limit the number of hot food takeaways in certain areas, as well as heritage concerns.

Planners noted the Vine Place proposals were in a city ward where the obesity level of Year Six pupils is higher than 21%, and where the obesity level of Reception pupils is higher than 10%.

It was also noted that the planning application would result in the proportion of units accounted for by hot food takeaways in Vine Place exceeding 5%.

More than a fifth of units in the street are currently designated for hot food takeaway use.

As a result, local authority chiefs argued the proposals “would not support or improve the health and wellbeing of local communities” and “would not ensure the vitality and viability of designated centres.”

A third reason for refusal referenced plans to update the existing shopfront, with proposed materials deem to be of “inappropriate design and out of keeping with the character and appearance of the host property and the [Bishopwearmouth] Conservation Area in general”.

The council decision report adds: “The proposal is unlikely to result in any serious detriment to highway safety or amenity.

“However, the change of use is unacceptable in principle and the alterations to the shopfront will be detrimental to the visual amenities of the host property and the conservation area in general.”

For more information on the council refusal decision, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02868/FUL