Project to build new retirement village on former Sunderland High School site pressing ahead

Revised plans for a retirement complex on a former Sunderland school site have been given the green light.

By Chris Binding
Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 16:45
View of the Sunderland High School site from Ryhope Road. Works are currently taking place to build a retirement complex on the site of the former canteen and food technology blocks.

After remaining vacant for several years, plans emerged for land off Ryhope Road.

This included a four-storey complex providing on-site support for older people while also promoting independence.

View of the Sunderland High School site from Ryhope Road. Works are currently taking place to build a retirement complex on the site of the former canteen and food technology blocks.

Despite concerns about the impact on the Ashbrooke Conservation Area, the major building plans were voted through by councillors in 2018.

Works are currently taking place on site with notice boards advertising the development.

This includes demolishing canteen and food technology blocks and constructing the new building.

In recent weeks, applicant YourLife Management Services lodged a fresh bid with Sunderland City Council to make changes to the scheme.

Google satellite image of the site

This includes boosting the number of rooms at the complex to 58 and revising room types following a review of the scheme’s “viability.”

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The council’s area Development Control Sub-Committee rubber-stamped the plans on August 5.

As part of the ongoing development, 19 trees will be removed alongside former school sports pitches being ripped up and replaced with a car park.

The facility itself will provide around 5,500 sq metres of accommodation with 35 one-bed and 23 two-bed apartments.

View of the Sunderland High School site from Ryhope Road. Works are currently taking place to build a retirement complex on the site of the former canteen and food technology blocks.

Future residents will also have access to communal facilities such as a lounge, function room and guest suite.

Several iconic heritage buildings – including the grade-II listed Langham Tower, Tudor-styled villa Carlton House and St Cuthberts House – are not included in the application.

Sunderland High School, formerly Sunderland Church High School, closed in 2016 after serving the community since 1884.

Parents, students and staff were left stunned at shock announcement the school was going to close after more than 130 years in the city.

A hardy group of volunteers united in a bid to take over the running of the school – but despite overwhelming support, they did not have time to secure its future.