Protestors speak out against Penshaw housing proposals beside historic building

Protesters in Penshaw have spoken out against a new housing development and raised a petition.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 5:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 3:04 pm

Plans were submitted in August to build a three-storey building with 72 apartments for people over 55, with parking and turning space and the restoration of a walled garden south of Penshaw House. The 1830 Grade II-listed building owned by Sunderland City Council, as is the site area.

The building is currently derelict and up for sale for £250,000.

Planning documents prepared on behalf of applicant Vistry Partnerships North East, outline the scope of the development, which proposes 100% affordable housing. But some residents are not happy and have voiced a number of concerns.

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Annika Martin is one of a group of residents opposed to new apartments beside the near 200 year-old Penshaw House.

These include the environment, the impact on the historic building, added traffic, noise and whether the new flats will be sold.

A statement from the protesters said: “Current proposals would negatively impact the status of Penshaw House and render it potentially unsaleable. Negative effects would also be felt on biodiversity and for the local community.

“Gilwood Court, next door to the site, already offers over-55 accommodation and has empty flats.

“The council’s own plan states 15 dwellings can be built on the site, yet this has been completely ignored. According to residents, the process has been ‘rushed through under the radar’ to avoid a full assessment.

Annika Martin is one of a group of residents opposed to new apartments beside the near 200 year-old Penshaw House.

“Public consultation took place two weeks after the deadline for objections. Residents are seeking support from the local community and political representatives to ensure that the site is developed in full consultation, whilst adhering to the council’s own regulations for the site.”

Sunderland City Council said: “The consultation period ran through until 1 October, allowing a full four weeks for any comments or objections, albeit representations can still be submitted until the determination of the application.

“The meeting in question relates to a public consultation event held by the Agent (Barton Willmore), not the council and is not something that the council has any control over. The Agent has submitted a summary of the meeting, which can be viewed on the public access website (dated, 7 October).

“As with all planning applications, this proposal will be considered on its merits and with regard to national and local planning policies.”

A decision from the council is due in early November.

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