Restaurant plans approved for former Davy Lamp pub in Hetton - but beer fans from CAMRA are worried

Proposals to transform a former pub into a restaurant have been given the green light by city development chiefs.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department receive a planning bid for the former ‘Davy Lamp’ pub off Brick Garth in the Hetton ward.

According to the submitted planning application, the public house had been “closed for trade” for some time.

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New plans aimed to change the use of the ground floor pub to a restaurant as well as keeping the first floor in residential use.

Former Davy Lamp pub in the Hetton ward Picture: Google Streetview (July, 2022)

Floor plans showed how the restaurant would be set out, with a lobby, a waiting area and a main restaurant space catering for a maximum of 50 seats.

Planning documents also confirmed that ventilation and filtration equipment would be installed to “suppress and disperse” fumes and/or smells created from cooking in the kitchen area.

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During consultation on the proposed restaurant plan, Sunderland City Council received an objection from the Sunderland and South Tyneside CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

While welcoming investment in the venue, CAMRA raised concerns about the loss of the pub as a community facility and appealed to new building owners for the plans to be “reworked” to continue the public house use.

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Applicants, in a statement provided to city planners, said the restaurant scheme would provide a “new function and community facility to the local residents, bringing a building that was vacant back into public use”.

The statement added there were other public houses nearby and that the new restaurant would provide a “better use for the local residents” and less impacts in comparison to a pub.

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This included the restaurant having “less capacity than the existing pub” with a “focus on food, rather than drink as its primary service”, resulting in less potential noise and disruption.

After considering the planning application and assessing it against planning policies, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved it on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

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Council planning officers confirmed the property had been empty for around two years and that the change of use would be acceptable in principle.

According to planning documents, the pub ceased trading due to the Covid-19 pandemic which led to the sale of the property in June, 2022.

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Under planning conditions, the restaurant plan must be brought forward within three years.

For more information on the plans and council decision, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/01386/FUL