Apartment plans approved for building on busy shopping street

Plans for new apartments in the heart of Hetton have been given the green light.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:38 pm

A planning application was submitted to Sunderland City Council in 2020 to change the use of part of 19 Front Street, near the town’s post office.

The upper floors were previously used as offices but new plans aimed to create residential accommodation.

Although proposals to convert the upper floors to two flats were approved by planners in 2015, the new application aimed to increase this number to three.

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The apartments plan has been approved for 19 Front Street, which sits near Hetton's post office.

Following consultation, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved the amended scheme on February 17, 2021.

This includes three three-bedroom flats, a new access constructed at the side elevation of the building and new windows.

When completed, the entrance doorway will lead to an internal lobby, cycle store and stairwell up to the upper floors, all created from an existing storeroom.

Meanwhile, the yard area to the rear will provide space for bin storage and one car parking space.

In a decision report, council planners said the flats plan would be acceptable in terms of highway safety and residential amenity.

The report reads: “The area already sees a reasonably high level of activity within the vicinity of the site, with the adjacent lane being a popular thoroughfare for pedestrians from the residential streets to the rear accessing the town centre.

“It is not considered that the level of activity associated with the proposed residential use would result in any increased level of activity that would cause disturbance to the occupiers of the neighbouring properties.

“The apartment windows will face the side of the commercial property across the lane to the north, and another commercial property and yard to the south, so that no overlooking of residential premises will occur, and hence no loss of privacy.

“The proposed layout shows that all habitable rooms will be afforded a reasonably good amount of space.”

The planning report added: “Whilst the distances between some of the habitable room windows and the facing properties fall short of the normally required standard of at least 14m, it is recognised that two flats could be provided without the need for planning permission.

“In this case the level of amenity in terms of outlook is no worse than that offered by the scheme approved in 2015.”

Northumbria Police’s ‘designing out crime officer’ also welcomed the plans in comments submitted during the council’s consultation.

The police statement reads: “Re‐purposing of space such as this for residential use is to be encouraged.

“It is refreshing to see the aspirations for such use extending to three-bedroom units, rather than the ‘cram as many one-bedroom units into the space’ response that has seemingly become the all-too-normal concept of late.”

For more information on the planning application, visit online-applications.sunderland.gov.uk and search planning reference: 20/02076/FUL

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