Washington neighbours fight plans for Gentoo housing development - housing firm claims scheme will help tackle affordable housing shortage

Residents are fighting plans for a proposed housing development over fears about the impact of traffic, parking and green space.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 1:16 pm

Residents of Lowthain Terrace, in Columbia, Washington have raised concerns about the proposed plan by Gentoo to build 13 homes on the land next to Willows Close, but claim their worries have been ignored with the final planning meeting for the development set to take place later today (November 17).

A total of 26 residents from the street objected to the plan via the council’s online portal, though some fear their concerns over the limited parking, volume of traffic and taking up of green space may not be sufficiently taken into consideration.

One resident, Mark Lloyd, 53, is worried additional housing will lead to more congestion in an area where parking and traffic is already a problem.

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Keith Bartlett (front) with Lowthian Terrace residents Theresa Madden, Graeme Wright and his dog Jasper, John Wright, Cllr Dianne Snowdon, Janet Hattersley, Donna McParlin, John McParlin, Michael Kean and Andy Gray on land that is due to be developed by Gentoo.

Speaking on behalf of the group of residents, he said: “We have no objections to affordable housing.

"However, Columbia is already very overbuilt. We’ve made our views known but they’ve not been acknowledged.

“We’re surrounded by takeaways and shops, and the streets get really busy, especially on weekends.

"Parking becomes a nightmare and on numerous occasions myself and my partner have had our cars bumped or been blocked in due to the volume of traffic. Any new development will just make this situation worse.”

Land that is due to be developed by Gentoo

He added: “The residents objecting to this are the one’s it affects the most. I think Gentoo need to come here and see the problems for themselves and directly address these concerns.”

Gentoo says the site, which would include bungalows and two and three-bedroom houses, will provide be of benefit in helping tackle the shortage of affordable housing in Wearside.

Joanne Gordon, development director at Gentoo Group, said: “It’s well documented that there’s currently an affordable housing shortage in Sunderland and as an organisation we’re committed to helping to tackle this by building high quality new homes for affordable rent across the city. This includes on land Gentoo owns at Willows Close in Washington.

“We value the opinions of local residents and tenants and we ensured they were given the opportunity to have their say on the development during our public consultation in July.

"The consultation was promoted via social media, as well as leaflets delivered to residents living in the area and through the local media. Residents were also able to provide feedback on our proposals via Sunderland City Council’s planning portal.

“Working with the local authority we are confident that all of the technical queries raised by residents have been addressed in our application and we are pleased that this site is recommended for approval. We are committed to continuing to work with local residents and the local authority moving forward.”

A decision on the development will be made made by a Sunderland City Council planning committee, which meets at 5.30pm, and members have been recommended to approve the site.

A spokesperson for Sunderland City Council said: “As with all applications, this proposal is being considered on its merits and with regard to national and local planning policies.

There has been statutory consultation and comments received are taken into account as part of the decision-making process.”

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