Objectors delighted as controversial Sunderland nursery plans dismissed at appeal

Proposals to convert a former care home into a children’s day nursery have been thrown out by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 6:00 am

The building, on the junction of Ryhope Road and Villette Road, previously housed a care home for elderly people before closing its doors.

New proposals for the site included a nursery looking after a maximum of 50 children.

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Councillor Michael Mordey as among those pleased with the decision

At a planning hearing in October 2019, councillors voted against the advice of their own officers to refuse the plans citing potential traffic, noise and parking issues.

Some councillors also questioned the suitability of play space at the rear of the building for children attending the nursery.

An appeal against the council decision was later lodged with the Planning Inspectorate with inspector David Cross appointed to rule on the application.

In a decision notice published this month, the inspector dismissed the appeal and upheld the city council’s decision to reject the nursery.

In his report, Mr Cross said the rear yard would provide suitable external play space and that staff parking could be “suitably managed.”

However, the planning boss raised concerns about parking in the rear lane at peak times which could block access to residents’ properties.

Despite council planners asking nursery bosses to provide a ‘travel leaflet’ to customers outlining where parking should take place, the inspector questioned the “enforceability of the measure.”

He also concluded that the nursery would “harm the living conditions of nearby residents with regards to noise, disturbance and parking.”

The inspector’s report goes on to say: “I am mindful of the benefits of the development.

“The proposal is in an accessible location and would provide a service for the community as well as maintaining the building in an active use.

“However, whilst it is not desirable to locate nurseries and schools remotely from the population they serve, they should be located and designed so that they do not harm the living conditions of nearby residents.

“The benefits arising from the proposal do not outweigh the harm that I have identified.

“Notwithstanding my conclusion in respect of children’s amenity, I conclude that the proposal would harm the living conditions of nearby residents in respect of noise, disturbance and car parking which are the determinative considerations in this appeal.

“The proposal would therefore conflict with the development planand the Framework as a whole with regard to providing a high standard of amenity for existing users.”

An application for costs against the council for “unreasonable behaviour” was also dismissed by the planning inspector.

Deputy council leader and Hendon ward councillor, Michael Mordey, voted against the nursery development at last year’s planning hearing.

In a statement on Facebook, he has since welcomed the decision on the appeal being dismissed.

“I would like to thank all residents who have been involved since the start of the process last July,” he said.

“This is a victory for you as residents as well as us as councillors and shows what can be done when residents and councillors work together for the area.”

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