'Overgrown' and 'abandoned' former Elemore Golf Course set for a new lease of life under regeneration plans
An “overgrown” and “abandoned” former golf course on the outskirts of Sunderland is set for a new lease of life under regeneration plans.
Back in October 2021, Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet agreed to commence the procurement process for works on the former Elemore Golf Course site in the Hetton ward.
This formed part of a wider scheme to redevelop the space, including the former golf club house, as well as car park improvements and the installation of a new car park.
Sunderland City Council lodged an application with its own planning department last month, which was validated by planners on November 30.
The plans set out the first phase of proposals for the wider site, including a community-run garden centre and plant nursery with “associated café, meeting, heritage interpretation and training facilities.”
In addition, four poly-tunnels are planned for the plant nursery and plant sales as well as associated infrastructure and landscaping.
A planning statement submitted with the application for the site notes the current golf course “has been abandoned and is no longer operational” as well as being “overgrown” and “suffering from antisocial behaviour.”
This includes “high levels of motorbike and quad bike usage, vandalism and litter.”
The planning statement goes on to say: “The site offers a fantastic opportunity to provide an invaluable asset for the local community.
“This initial application for the change of use of the former clubhouse to a café/ garden centre/ visitor centre form part of much larger proposals for the area, in the creation of an Heritage and Eco Country Park.
“The application is supported by national and local policy [and] in terms of impact upon amenity, it is not considered that neighbouring properties would experience any material detrimental impact associated with disruption from the proposed development.
“Through the proposed landscaping and mitigation measures the development proposal will not have a significant adverse impact on biodiversity [and] geodiversity.”
According to planning documents, the site of the former Elemore Colliery and spoil heap was reclaimed in the 1990s to allow the development of a golf course within a woodland setting.
The site was shaped to blend in with the landscape and featured an 18-hole golf course, however this is no longer in use.
New plans for the land follow the “Let’s Talk Elemore” public consultation earlier this year, where local residents expressed a desire for the site to be transformed into “usable green space.”
City leaders have said future proposals for the site showcase the local authority’s commitment towards green policies.
This includes the creation of a ‘Heritage and Eco Country Park’ with grazing areas, a miniature railway, woodland planting, wetland creation and play areas.
There are also “long-term aspirations” for the creation of camping and education facilities on site.
A decision on plans for the first phase of works – the garden centre, café and plant nursery – is expected by the end of January 2022.
For more information on the application or to track its progress, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02716/LP3