Controversial plans to demolish Sunderland petrol station and replace it with an Asda convenience store approved by development chiefs

Proposals to demolish a Sunderland petrol filling station to make way for an ‘Asda convenience store’ have been given the green light – despite concerns over highway safety and parking.

Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an applicationfor a site referred to as the “Grindon Broadway Service Station”, which includes a Shell petrol filling station and Spar convenience store, off The Broadway A183, one of the main roads into Sunderland.

Proposals from applicant EG Group included the demolition and decommissioning of the petrol filling station and convenience store and to construct a replacement convenience store on the site.

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Developers said the plans would fulfil a local ‘top up’ function for customers, with the proposed occupier named in documents as Asda.

Shell petrol filling station and Spar convenience store at The Broadway, Sunderland
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However the plans faced backlash from neighbours, with around 15 objections submitted to the council raising concerns including increased traffic, impact on highway safety and “poor access”.

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The plans were amended to address safety concerns raised by council planners, with the final scheme proposing delivery and refuse vehicles following a one-way route through the site before exiting via Springwell Road, among other measures.

Council planning officers, recommending the scheme for approval, said the plan would not have a “detrimental impact” on highway or pedestrian safety.

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(L-R) Barnes ward Conservative city councillors Antony Mullen, Helen Greener and Richard Dunn

But speaking at the council’s Planning and Highways Committee on Thursday (September 22), several Barnes ward councillors disagreed, with Cllr Helen Greener stating the plans would create further highway safety issues and congestion at an already “overcrowded” roundabout near the site.

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Cllr Greener also raised concerns about increased traffic around nearby schools, while Cllr Antony Mullen claimed the planning officer’s report failed to fully assess wider highways and parking issues.

Cllr Mullen added that unlike “more transient” customers associated with a petrol filling station, the Asda store would see customers park for longer, leading to parking pressures on nearby residential streets.

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A representative for the applicant EG Group, speaking at the meeting, said the petrol filling station site was “identified for disposal” and the convenience store plan represented a £2.5 million investment which would “enhance” the appearance of the site and create jobs.

During discussion, the plans prompted mixed opinions from Planning and Highways Committee members.

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Cllr Ciaran Morrissey suggested the redevelopment of the site was preferable to it being left vacant and potentially becoming a “magnet for anti-social behaviour”.

Cllr Colin Nicholson claimed the Asda store would create greater risk of traffic accidents at The Broadway roundabout and that he wouldn’t vote for it as he would “end up with blood on his hands”.

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After being put to the vote, the application was approved with six votes in favour, one against and one abstention.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Mullen said he was “deeply disappointed” with the decision and claimed those voting in support “knew very little about Barnes ward and the neighbouring St Anne’s ward”.

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A statement on the Barnes Conservatives Facebook page added: “We will ensure that the council is held accountable for the consequences of its actions and properly deals with the parking and highways issues we have warned of.”