Decision date set for £16million Keel Square hotel plans in Sunderland

Proposals for a major city centre hotel creating up to 130 jobs could be given the green light next month.

By Chris Binding
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 06:00
An artist's impression of how the new hotel will look

Sunderland City Council have set a hearing date to decide plans for a new Holiday Inn.

Developer Cairn Group, which has led several hotel development projects across the North East, hopes to open the hotel on land overlooking Keel Square.

The £16million development would involve the demolition of buildings to the south east of the site, including 52, 53 and 55 High Street West.

If approved, the hotel will boast 120 rooms, commercial units on the ground floor and spaces for a gym, media lounge and meeting rooms.

The project was mooted in 2017 and has faced several delays since.

As previously reported, delays were linked to rising construction costs and market factors which “increased the risk of the ground floor element.”

Following official plans being lodged earlier this month, planning officers have now recommended the hotel for approval.

According to planning documents, the building will offer 58 standard rooms, 56 twin rooms, two executive rooms and four accessible rooms.

During a council-led consultation, the plans have also seen a mixed response from businesses on High Street West.

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Olympia Beauty and Fitness raised concerns about potential disruption linked to the development.

While comments from Cash Generator said the hotel would “create jobs and increase footfall to the city centre.”

During the consultation exercise, Sunderland Civic Society also criticised the design of the proposed hotel.

A report, prepared for the council’s Development Control South Sub-Committee, reveals the plans have been backed by several council departments.

Heritage officers have said there would be “less than substantial harm” to nearby heritage areas while highways praised the “sustainable location” of the site for transport.

An applicant design and access statement adds the hotel will be a “fitting addition to the civic square.”

It reads: “This landmark will complete the enclosure of Keel Square, and is a direct reflection of the ambition and identity of the city.

“This is a bespoke hotel, a unique design not to be found elsewhere.”

A final decision will be made on Monday, August 5 at Sunderland Civic Centre.