Car wash plans for site of Junglerama, the former Washington soft play centre damaged by fire

Plans for a hand car wash on the site of a former fire-damaged soft play centre have won support from councillors.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 10:33 am
Fire at former Junglerama softplay centre in Concord

In 2017, more than 20 firefighters tackled a blaze at the disused Junglerama site in Concord, Washington.

Since the fire, the building has been demolished, leaving a large patch of land off shopping street Victoria Road.

Councillors were asked to consider proposals for a hand car wash on the site at a meeting on October 1.

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The application, from Mr Amen Kareem, revealed the business would create a total of four full-time jobs.

Proposed opening hours included 9am-6pm, Monday to Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Several structures to reduce noise and disruption from equipment were also included in the plans, alongside car parking facilities and a vehicle access from Vermont to the south.

Although the plans would normally be dealt with by council officers, they were called in to Sunderland City Council’s area development control sub-committee for decision.

This followed a request from Washington North councillor, John Kelly, who noted the site had previously been allocated for housing.

The councillor also added there were enough car washes in the area.

At the planning hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre this week, council officers recommended the plans for approval – subject to conditions.

This included a ban on any amplified music on site at any time.

Despite this, concerns were raised by two councillors who later abstained from voting.

Coun Len Lauchian, who represents Washington Central, said: “I’m not ecstatic about this being plonked in the middle of Concord just off the main street.

“This area was designated for housing and we thought it would be flats, I just don’t like it, it’s as simple as that.”

Coun Fiona Miller, of Washington East ward, also questioned the need for the development and whether jobs would be linked to the local area.

Planning agent for the applicant, David Leybourne, said the application should be welcomed and would bring an “eyesore” site back into use.

He added that any potential issues had been covered by conditions and the design of the site – with car washes serving a “useful purpose” for residents.

Following discussion, the plans were passed by majority vote.

As the application represents a move away from the council’s ‘unitary development plan’ it has to be advertised again.

The final decision rests with the executive director of city development who is ‘minded to approve’ the application.

A planning report adds: “In the event any additional objections are received which raise matters not already addressed in the main report, the application will be returned to [councillors] for their consideration.”