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Plans to 'secure' Hylton Castle grounds as historic Sunderland site gears up to host events

Proposals for fencing to “secure the grounds” of Sunderland’s Hylton Castle and to make the site ready for events have been lodged with planning chiefs.

By Chris Binding
Monday, 9th May 2022, 5:43 pm

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Sunderland City Council’s planning department recently validated an application for the Scheduled Monument off Craigavon Road.

The 14th Century building and grounds recently benefited from a multi-million pound restoration project which was part of a partnership between Sunderland City Council and The Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by English Heritage.

This aimed to return the Grade I-listed Hylton Castle and grounds back to the heart of community life as a cultural heritage, education and visitor centre.

The new Hylton Castle is gearing up to host events.

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With the aim of holding events in the grounds, a planning application proposed a mix of permanent and temporary fencing to prevent “unauthorised access and vandalism”.

Plans included the provision of temporary flexible portable fencing to create “events enclosures” and permission for a temporary pop-up marquee for “seasonal events”.

In addition, the plans proposed permanent metal fencing on top of a wall along the northern boundary.

The planning listing states the proposals would “secure the grounds” of Hylton Castle.

A design, access and heritage statement submitted with the application added the plans would make “improvements to the security of the site and provide the opportunity to manage the location of visitors”.

Applicants stated that the temporary fencing and pop-up marquee would be used for no more than 25 weeks of the year, and would typically be used for events coinciding with school holidays.

Elsewhere, they added that the permanent fencing to the north along Washington Road would be “designed to match the fencing located along the western boundary of the site” and would have a “very limited visual impact”.

The design, access and heritage statement reads: “The proposals are relatively small in scale in comparison to the site area.

“They are proposals which will ensure that the site is retained for public use.

“The historic fabric of the building remains untouched.

“The small scale of the proposals [have] been kept to a minimum to ensure that they do not compete with the building or have a detrimental impact upon it.”

The statement adds: “The temporary fence and marquee will only be used during events and are completely reversible due to the ballast block system which ensures that no works enter the ground as was recommended by Historic England ‘the use of ballast / concrete blocks for erecting a marquee as noted would be a requirement if consent were granted.’

“It is proposed to limit the fencing and marquee to no more than 25 weeks of the year in blocks of four to five week periods, generally coinciding with school holidays.”

A number of Castle ward councillors have already voiced their support for the scheme as part of a council consultation, including Stephen Foster and Denny Wilson.

Cllr Wilson, in a consultation statement, said he “fully supported” the plan and asked for it to be “fast tracked as lots of events [are] planned”.

A decision on the application will be made once the council consultation period closes.

For more information on the application, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/00542/FUL