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Plans lodged with Sunderland City Council to create two new stores on former Fulwell Sainsbury's site

New plans have been lodged to revive a former city supermarket site as retail units.

By Chris Binding
Friday, 17th June 2022, 6:06 pm

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The former Sainsbury's store, in Station Road, has stood empty since October 2021.
The former Sainsbury's store, in Station Road, has stood empty since October 2021.

Back in October 2021, Sainsbury’s closed its store in Station Road, Fulwell, following a closure announcement earlier the same year.

At the time, Sainsbury’s revealed that all steps were being taken to find alternative roles within the company for those who were employed at the store.

The news caused upset in the community, with many calling for the building to stay in use as a supermarket for those living and working in the area.

Councillor Malcolm Bond has campaigned to keep the site as a supermarket.

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Since the store’s closure, a number of petitions have been launched including calls to keep the building as a retail outlet and another petition to keep the site exclusively for supermarket use.

Earlier this year, owners of the site confirmed they were in talks with potential tenants and dismissed rumours that the site would be “redeveloped as a pub or knocked down for housing”.

This week, Sunderland City Council’s planning department validated a planning application for the former supermarket which could see it subdivided into “two smaller separate retail units”.

The plans propose external alterations to the building, including a replacement shop front, partial demolition to the rear to provide a new turning head and 10 additional parking spaces.

Applicants are listed in planning documents as North East Commercial and Residential Ltd (NECR).

Back in March 2022, the owners of the building said they were not in a position to announce who is looking to take occupation of the site due to “contractual reasons”.

However a spokesperson for NECR at the time said the two new tenants would “improve the retail amenity for the residents of Fulwell which has always been the goal for the owners.”

The Fulwell ward is represented by two Conservative councillors and one Liberal Democrat councillor.

Following the submission of new plans for the former Sainsbury’s site, local councillors have had their say.

Councillor Malcolm Bond, Liberal Democrat representative for Fulwell, said: “I have discussed with residents at length about these plans and it’s their strong preference for a like-for-like replacement.

“My views going forward will again follow views of residents and will be dependent on the nature of businesses involved.”

Councillor Michael Hartnack, Conservative representative for Fulwell, added:”Myself and Cllr James Doyle have spent much time campaigning and liaising with third parties to retain a retail food outlet at the former Sainsbury’s site.

“This planning application to create two retail units is encouraging news.

“We look forward to an announcement very soon of the return of a much needed quality food retailer to the area.”

A decision on the planning application for the former supermarket site is expected to be made this summer.

For more information on the planning scheme or to track its progress, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/01064/FUL