Plans resubmitted for new £100million Sunderland town

Philadelphia Lane, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Lane, Philadelphia
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a new £100million community on Wearside have been re-submitted for council approval.

The Echo reported at the end of last year that chiefs at Esh Developments had gone back to the drawing board over proposals to build 600 new homes, shops and an employment zone off Philadelphia Lane, near Houghton.

However, the plans were met by fierce opposition from councillors and a number of residents living nearby, who say the scheme will make their lives unbearable because of increased noise and traffic problems.

Calls for a public inquiry were heeded by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, but the plans were taken off the table at the end of last year.

But now, a new application has been handed in to Sunderland City Council by Esh.

The new proposal document states that up to 500 homes would be built, rather than the originally intended 600.

As well as the homes, a supermarket with up to 250 car parking spaces and a 57,000 sq ft employment and enterprise zone would also be erected.

As before, the Grade II-listed former Philadelphia Power Station is set to become a learning and enterprise centre with parking spaces for almost 140 cars.

Work on the site could be completed by 2030.

Philadelphia resident Janet Forster, who has previously spoken of her opposition, said today that she remains committed to fighting the plans.

Mrs Forster, 53, of Chapel Row, said: “The fact that there will be 100 fewer houses than they said they were going to build will make no difference whatsoever.

“The doctors’ surgeries and the schools in the area will still be more than full.

“There’s enough traffic here, and it’s worse than it’s ever been, so this isn’t going to make things any better.”

“I’ve lived here 35 years, and I don’t want to see into other people’s gardens when I look out of my home.”

A consultation into the plans, which can be viewed on Sunderland City Council’s planning website, ends on April 10.

Independent councillor Colin Wakefield, who also opposes Esh’s plans, labelled the latest application “vague”.

He said: “I have already been approached by a number of residents concerned about the lack of detail and the very short consultation period, which I have already raised with planners.

“The proposed supermarket and shops poses a threat to Houghton town centre and local shops in Shiney Row, New Herrington and Philadelphia and goes against Sunderland Council policy to concentrate retail development in Houghton.”