Plans for new fitness centre in empty Sunderland business unit

A new fitness centre could soon open on Wearside under proposals lodged with council planners.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 3:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:11 am

Earlier in August 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department validated an application for 2 West Quay Court, off Crown Road, in the Southwick ward.

According to planning documents from the applicant, this included a change of use from ‘light industrial’ to a gym at the vacant unit.

A “sequential test report’’ was also provided with the application to demonstrate there were no other “suitable, available and viable sequentially preferable sites” for the development, which was described as a “gym/fitness centre.”

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West Quay Court, Sunderland

The document reads: “Having considered the availability of sites within the identified city centre of Sunderland, it has been concluded that there are no sites adequate in their capacity for the type of development proposed, which requires not only land to accommodate the required accessibility, parking, facilities and floor space.

“Notwithstanding this, as has been set out above, the proposals require a specific geographical location adjacent and with direct access to the strategic highway network and therefore would be considered unsuited to a town centre location, even if one were to become available.

“Furthermore having already began delivering services using outdoors public space we have made partnerships with several youth and senior community groups in the SR5 area.

“For the reasons identified within this statement, it is considered that a satisfactory sequential test has been carried out to demonstrate compliance with paragraph 24 of the NPPF and it is clear that planning permission for the proposed development should be granted.”

The statement goes on to say: “Finally, it is relevant to note that a rejection of the application proposal on sequential grounds would not have the effect of re-directing the proposed investment and development to a sequentially superior site.

“Such a refusal would simply mean that the wide-ranging economic benefits and employment opportunities associated with the subject site’s regeneration would be denied to the local community.”

According to the application form, two full-time employees and one part-time role are proposed if the plans are given the go-ahead.

A final decision is expected on the application by the end of October 2021.

For more information on the plans, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal here and search reference: 21/01657/FUL

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