Plans for new Penshaw apartment complex recommended for approval, despite objections

Plans for an apartment complex in the Penshaw area are set to go before councillors for decision next month.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 4:17 pm

Earlier in 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department validated an application for land off Station Road and Greta Avenue in the Shiney Row ward.

This included the construction of a three-storey building providing 72 apartments aimed at people aged 55 and over, as well as parking and turning space and the restoration of a walled garden near Penshaw House.

Planning documents prepared on behalf of applicant Vistry Partnerships North East outlined the scope of the development, which included 100% affordable housing.

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Annika Martin is among many local residents that are concerned about a proposed new building close to Grade II-listed Penshaw House, off Station Road, Penshaw.

Planning documents state the site was previously used for offices but these have since been demolished with the land laying vacant for a number of years.

According to a design and access statement, the proposed accommodation would be “kept well away from Penshaw House” with designs taking account of its Grade II-listed status.

Both the heritage building and site area are owned by Sunderland City Council.

In recent months, the plans have attracted opposition from residents.

A number have submitted objections to the council’s planning department over the application, with concerns ranging from the potential impact on the historic building to added traffic and noise impacts.

Other concerns were also reflected in a council consultation, with one comment saying the plans represented an “overdevelopment” of the site and another questioning the demand for over 55s accommodation.

Proposals for the future of the site will be discussed by the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee on January 4 2022.

In a report prepared for the panel, Sunderland City Council planning officers deemed the scheme acceptable and recommended it for approval.

The report confirms the proposal would lead to “less than substantial harm to the significance of Penshaw House.”

It goes on to say: “Officers would advise that the economic and social benefits arising from the proposed development should carry greater weight in the planning balance than the environmental harm; subject to the completion of a planning obligation and the recommended conditions.

“There are public benefits, in the form of economic and social benefits, that outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the heritage asset (i.e. the Grade II listed Penshaw House).”

Comments from the council’s housing team, included in the planning report, add the proposals represent an “opportunity to provide high quality accessible accommodation for over 55s.”

A planning statement submitted with the planning application confirms that 44 one bedroom apartments and 28 two bedroom apartments are proposed for the apartment complex.

The development would also offer a communal lounge, landscaped gardens and a mobility scooter store, alongside dedicated parking provision.

A decision on the plans will be made by the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee on January 4, 2022.

Any planning approval would be subject to the completion of an agreement for the provision of 100% affordable housing.

The meeting will take place at 5.30pm in the City Hall’s Council Chamber and will be open to the public.

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