Back in 2019, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received a planning application for 1 Lynden Road in the Ryhope ward.
The plans aimed to change part of the ground floor, adjacent to the Nisa convenience store, from residential to a hot food takeaway with the installation of a flue to the rear and a single-storey side extension.
Previous proposals to convert the same part of the property into a fish and chip shop were refused by the city council in 2015 on several grounds.
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This included highway and pedestrian safety, the impact on the character and appearance of the area and disturbance to nearby properties.
New proposals aimed to resolve previous issues with the scheme by providing seven dedicated off-street parking bays to the front of the property and closing the hot food takeaway at 8.30pm.
After considering all representations, Sunderland City Council’s planning department refused the revised application on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
This was because the plans clashed with planning policies related to the opening of new hot food takeaways – as well as the absence of assessments from the applicant looking at “noise or odour risk.”
In addition, planners said the scheme would create an “unacceptable increase in vehicle / pedestrian conflict” due to “vehicles reversing on and off the highway adjacent to a bus stop.”
According to information in a council decision report, the applicants said they were “fully committed to providing high quality and lower fat/calorie food”.
This included using healthier cooking methods and offering grilled or pan-fried fish as an alternative to deep fried, as well as following national guidance on producing healthier chips and “advertising and encouraging” fresh fruit and salad side options.
However, council planning officers said that there was no mechanism within the planning system, either “via condition or legal obligation,” to secure this and that the points could only be given “extremely limited weight” in the decision-making process.
One of the main reasons for refusal included the plans clashing with a policy in the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan around “promoting healthier communities.”
This policy aims to “prevent the development of hot food takeaways within a 400m radius of entry points to all primary and secondary schools and prevent the development of hot food takeaways in wards where the prevalence of obesity is more than 21% for year 6 pupils or 10% for reception pupils”.
The planning decision report adds: “The proposed hot food takeaway would be contrary to the above, due to being within 400 metres of the entry point to a primary school (Ryhope Junior School) and within a ward (Ryhope) that has a prevalence of obesity within reception pupils of 11.4% and within year six pupils of 27.1%.”
The planning report also noted that a petition signed by more than 550 people had been submitted in support of the change of use to a fish and chip shop.
But it went on to say: “There would, however, be concern [from council officers] that the expression of support for a hot food takeaway would not necessarily overcome the concerns relating to the impact of such a facility upon the health of the city’s residents.”
The applicant has the right to challenge the council’s refusal decision by lodging an appeal with the Secretary of State.
For more information on the council ruling, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 19/01358/FUL