'Houghton is going places' - delight as Houghton Colliery site sale approved, paving way for £12million retail development

Plans to sell a former Wearside colliery site to make way for a multi-million pound retail development have been given the green light.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 18 July, 2019, 16:45
The former Houghton Colliery

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet has agreed to sell eight acres of land at what once was Houghton Colliery, in Newbottle Street.

A cabinet report recommended the sale to developer Hellens Group Ltd to progress a £12million development plan.

Subject to planning permission, the plans aim to “expand and compliment” Houghton town centre.

This includes 6,000 square metres of retail space and outline plans for a new roundabout and improved access.

According to the report, the development will also create huge economic benefits for the region.

Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Coun Rebecca Atkinson, said the development will create 90 jobs in the construction, 135 in the supply chain and 215 jobs in the retail units – as well as generate £12million investment and £500,000 in business rates.

A four-way contest to buy the site was originally won by Urban and Civic in 2017.

After withdrawing from the transaction, the council approached Hellens Group Ltd who were the “second-ranked bid”.

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The new developer has agreed to bring forward the same form of development to avoid delays.

According to a council report, the former colliery site will be sold at the “best price reasonably achievable.”

Houghton Colliery shaft opened in 1827, according to local historians, and closed in September 1981 with a workforce of around 250 people.

The decision to revamp the site has since been welcomed by ward councillors.

Copt Hill ward councillor Kevin Johnston, deputy portfolio for housing and regeneration said: “This will be a fantastic addition to Houghton and the town centre.

“A development of this nature is something local Labour councillors have been pushing for and it is fantastic to now see it progressing.

“Houghton is going places,” said Houghton councillor Alex Scullion. “This site used to provide the economic heartbeat of Houghton, supplying livelihoods for most of the families in the town.”

Coun Neil Macknight, also of Houghton, added: “To secure £12million investment that will create over 400 jobs locally and add much-needed retail to the town is something that Labour councillors have been campaigning for, for a long time.”