Plans for 72 homes on former Washington Football Club ground

Plans for a massive housing development on a former football ground in Washington could be given the green light next week.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 6:11 pm

Karbon Homes wants to build 76 homes on land at Albany Park including a mix of bungalows, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom properties.

Developers originally applied to build 82 homes on the site but plans were amended, leading to an extra round of consultation.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has recommended the revised plans for approval saying the scheme is acceptable.

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The former Washington Football Club ground at Albany Park, in Spout Lane, Concord.

However, the final decision rests with the authority’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee which will discuss the application on Tuesday, September 1.

The site earmarked for housing is a privately owned football ground to the east of Albany Park which was previously the home of Washington Football Club.

Some informal youth games were played on the ground just under five years ago but since then the site has remained derelict, a report to councillors states.

If housing plans are approved, the new estate would be served by a single access from Spout Lane with several structures cleared from the site.

This includes an existing “fire-damaged clubhouse, dilapidated spectator stands and badly damaged perimeter fencing.”

According to planning documents, the new homes would be classed as affordable with 21 up for ‘affordable rent’ and 55 homes being ‘rent to buy’.

Applicant Karbon is also expected to pay a six-figure sum to the council to reduce the impact of the development as part of a section 106 agreement.

This includes £148,000 toward education, £100,000 towards enhancing “ecological and recreational opportunities” at Albany Park and £100,000 towards sport provision.

During several rounds of consultation, Sport England maintained their objection to the housing plan due to the loss of a playing field and the ‘lack of replacement provision.’

According to planning documents, Sport England said it would consider the £100,000 payment from Karbon on the proviso it is used to support a separate planning application for new and improved grounds for Washington AFC at the Northern Area Playing Fields.

The proposals include pitch improvements alongside spectator stands and flood lighting columns – which Sport England say are the type of facilities that would be lost at Albany Park.

However council planners said it would not be appropriate to direct the £100,000 section 106 cash to a development that has not yet been decided.

If the Albany Park housing plans win support from councillors, planners say the £100,000 section 106 contribution for sport should be directed towards “the replacement of a football ground that is, at least, of equivalence’ within the Washington area.

This is opposed to focusing solely on the Washington AFC proposal as it does not currently benefit from planning permission.

A meeting to discuss the Albany Park plans will be held remotely and broadcast on the council’s YouTube page.

The meeting starts at 5.30pm and to watch live, visit: youtu.be/-FELCXlgLbI

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