Decision day for huge 440-home housing development in shadow of Penshaw Monument

Plans for a huge housing estate near Sunderland’s Penshaw Monument are set to be decided at a crunch meeting this week.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 2:54 pm

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has recommended plans for approval for land south west of Herrington Country Park, bordered by the A183 Chester Road and Chislehurst Road.

On Tuesday, October 5, councillors will discuss an application for full planning permission for 116 homes and outline planning permission for 324 homes.

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An aerial impression of the development released during a consultation phase.

The site has already been earmarked for housing in the council’s adopted Core Strategy and Development Plan (CSDP), or ‘local plan,’ which was previously assessed by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Despite concerns from neighbours, the land was removed from the Green Belt and allocated for housing following the CSDP’s ‘examination in public’ process in 2019.

However a report prepared for the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee this week shows that strong opposition remains to housing on the site, with a total of 251 objections lodged.

Concerns include the area already being “overwhelmed” by housing developments, the loss of green space and the size of the new housing estate.

The site in question.

Topics such as design, road safety, environmental impacts and the capacity of local infrastructure and services are also expected to be discussed at the planning hearing to decide on the proposals.

A statement from council planning officers, included in a committee report, said the site’s availability is required to “meet the council’s obligations in relation to providing an adequate supply of housing land in the city.”

The statement goes on to say: “The development will also deliver benefits in terms of expanding housing availability and choice in the area, including new affordable housing, and it will also provide employment and economic benefits in that new residents will be able to support existing shops, services and facilities in the locality.

“These benefits of the development should also be given weight in the determination of the application.

A CGI of how some of the proposed Penshaw homes would look, which was released during a consultation phase.

“The amount and content of the objections to the proposed development are acknowledged and it is evident that the local community holds significant concerns in relation to the proposed development of the site.

“All relevant material planning considerations have, however, been appraised in the context of the policies of the council’s CSDP and the National Planning Policy Framework.”

Although the 440 homes proposed exceeds the approximate site capacity of 400 homes set out in a policy within the CSDP, council planners said this “does not give rise to any significant conflicts with the other relevant policies” within the CSDP.

The layout of the estate is also expected to be designed to minimise impacts on the setting of Penshaw Monument.

A final decision on the application will be made by councillors on the Planning and Highways (West) Committee.

Any approval would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement, allowing the council’s planning authority to secure 15% on-site affordable housing and contributions from developers towards local improvements.

Financial contributions are expected to cover secondary education provision, ecology matters, the ‘maintenance and improvement’ of sport and recreation facilities and junction improvements on the A183.

The planning meeting starts at 5.30pm and will take place within the council chamber at Sunderland Civic Centre.

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