Public examination of Sunderland’s local plan begins

A public examination of Sunderland’s blueprint for the future is set to launch this week.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 5:28 pm

The draft Core Strategy and Development Plan covers proposals to boost housing, jobs,  business, leisure and services in the city up to 2033.

The document was sent to government last year after winning majority backing from councillors – despite opposition group calls to refer it back to cabinet.

At the time, council leader Graeme Miller said delays could cost Sunderland’s economy millions of pounds over time.

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On Tuesday, (May 21) the next step in the process – an examination in public – will take place to explore whether the plan is fit for purpose.

Planning inspector, Mark Dakeyne BA(Hons) MRTPI, appointed by the Secretary of State, will lead the sessions in coming weeks.

And any representations made during the public consultation on the plans will be considered as part of the examination.

Deputy council leader, Coun Michael Mordey, said the local plan “sets out how Sunderland should develop in coming years.”

“All councils with planning responsibilities must have these and the council has closely followed government guidelines in drawing up its plan,” he said.

“Our city’s plan outlines how 13,410 more homes are needed by 2033, with an average of 745 to be built every year to help deal with the expected population increase.

“It also sets out a framework to protect the environment, create new jobs, reduce unhealthy living, including planning rules against takeaways.

“The plan holds details too of where there could be more industrial and commercial developments.

“The draft plan was prepared in 2017, consulted on for eight weeks between August and October 2017, and received more than 5,000 representations.

“This was one of the biggest consultation exercises ever undertaken by the council and I would like to thank all the residents who gave their views.

“Further consultation in June and July last year saw a further 8,283 comments from 2,140 individuals.

“All the representations were submitted to the government and the next stage of the process is now beginning with this formal examination by a planning inspector.”

Following consultation feedback, the number of Green Belt sites outlined for development in the local plan dropped from 15 to 11.

Despite these changes, campaigners have spoken out about affected green belt land, including sites in Penshaw and North Hylton.

Coun Mordey added: “In drawing up the plan and submitting it to the government, the council addressed many concerns and looked to where housing could be developed in existing communities and neighbourhoods with the least impact.

“The plan outlines how only 3% of the city’s green belt could be facing change.”

The examination hearings are due to last around four weeks and will take place at Bede Tower, off Burdon Road.

Following the hearings, the inspector will determine whether the plan can progress or requires further changes.

For more information on the process, visit:

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service