Decision due on controversial shop plan for former Hetton car showroom

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Controversial plans for a convenience store at a former Hetton car showroom site are set to be decided by city councillors next week.

Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee will discuss an application for a site off Station Road in the Hetton area.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The site was previously occupied by a car sales showroom and sits adjacent to the car park of Hetton Social Club.

Former car showroom site off Station Road, Hetton (February, 2024)Former car showroom site off Station Road, Hetton (February, 2024)
Former car showroom site off Station Road, Hetton (February, 2024)

The planning listing described the application as ‘part-retrospective’ and included minor changes to the shop front.

A design and access statement noted the proposed shop would include new automatic pedestrian sliding doors, and the introduction of shelving, fridge units and a service counter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since the plans were submitted last year, signage has now been installed at the site advertising it as a Go Local Extra store.

Following feedback from the council’s public health department, amended plans were submitted including the relocation of several chiller condensing units and a new screening fence.

In addition, five parking spaces are proposed at the front of the unit, as well as cycle parking.

During a council consultation exercise the shop plans sparked public opposition, with 20 objections in total.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Concerns included increased noise and disturbance, the lack of “adequate parking”, highway safety issues, anti-social behaviour, litter, property devaluation and the part-retrospective nature of the application.

Other points questioned the need for another convenience store in the area, as well as concerns about access issues for emergency services.

Hetton Town Council also submitted an objection raising concerns about the “oversupply” of retail outlets in the area, issues around site access, road safety, and potential noise nuisance due to “long business hours”.

Council planners, responding in a committee report, said competition between businesses and impacts on house value were not planning matters.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was also acknowledged that the council had asked developers to submit a further application for signage and a cash machine at the site, which needed separate permission.

On the change of use of the property and external alterations, however, council planners deemed the shop conversion acceptable and have recommended it for approval.

A report prepared ahead of the decision-making Planning and Highways Committee next week states the plan would not negatively impact the visual amenity of the area.

Council highways officers said parking on the site was “sufficient” and that spaces “would not need to be formally laid out, to allow for manoeuvrability on site”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was also noted that the increase in short-stay parking and associated vehicle movements would “likely be a nominal increase spread throughout the course of the day”.

Those behind the shop scheme had originally applied for operating hours of 6am to 11pm, seven days a week.

However, the council reduced these hours to “ensure customers will not be coming and going from site early in the morning or late in the night when it would reasonably be expected to be quieter”.

It was agreed that the shop could open between 8am and 9pm, Monday to Sunday, with deliveries allowed to take place between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Sunday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council committee report added: “The applicant has provided additional information to confirm that there is sufficient space within the site under the control of the applicant to provide servicing and turning manoeuvres.

“However, it is recommended that a planning condition be included to restrict delivery vehicles from parking on public highway”.

Those behind the scheme indicated that the plans would create five full-time jobs if approved.

Documents submitted to council officials last year also confirmed part of the building had been “omitted” from the shop application and “is reserved for a future use which is yet to be determined”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The final say on the planning application rests with members of the council’s Planning and Highways Committee, who will next meet on Monday, March 4, 2024.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at City Hall from 5.30pm and will be open to the public.

For more information on the plan, visit the council’s planning portal website and search reference: 23/02499/FUL