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Sunderland city centre bars Sinatra’s and The Railway Club face demolition to make way for huge new multi-storey car park in Holmeside

A landmark city centre pub and the club behind it are set to be demolished to make way for a huge new multi-storey car park.

By Chris Binding
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 9:14 am

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Sunderland City Council’s planning department recently validated an application for a parcel of land off Holmeside in the city centre.

This included the demolition of the Railway Club and old Sinatra’s pub and to build a new car park building offering 404 spaces.

Proposals set out five floors, including a basement, as well as associated access, servicing and landscape works.

Sinatra's and The Railway Club are set to be demolished to create a new multi-storey car park.

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The planning application was submitted by the city council and is linked to the ongoing regeneration of the area, including the redevelopment of Sunderland’s central railway station.

Elsewhere, plans were recently approved to demolish a two-storey building at 41 Holmeside.

As part of the new application for the multi-storey car park, the proposed building would have a “ground floor ancillary commercial use”.

Sinatra's and The Railway Club are set to be demolished to create a new multi-storey car park.

A raft of supporting documents have also been submitted to council planners on behalf of the local authority, setting out the details of the scheme.

This includes around 17 accessible bays being provided and around 88 standard bays having EV charging points.

Ten motorcycle bays and 36 cycle parking spaces are proposed, with no expected impacts on listed buildings nearby.

According to a planning and heritage statement, Sinatra’s was vacated in January 2022 but has heritage value due to some of its physical features and its potential original use as an early 20th Century cinema.

Sinatra's and The Railway Club are set to be demolished to create a new multi-storey car park.

The site was also earmarked as a building to add to the Historic Environment Record as a ‘non-designated heritage asset’ – however this has not happened to date.

Planning documents state that the building, as a whole, has “limited architectural or historical significance”, is in a “poor state of repair” and would require “substantial investment to modernise”.

The planning statement adds that the “public benefits of the proposed development will outweigh the loss of this building”.

Listed public benefits for the scheme range from increased connectivity, footfall and spending in the city centre to job creation, sustainable design and improvements to the visual frontage along Holmeside.

Sinatra's and The Railway Club are set to be demolished to create a new multi-storey car park.

To minimise wider impacts on the local conservation area, the proposed multi storey car park would be set back from Holmeside and “designed to be open and airy”.

It is also expected to offset the loss of car parking spaces from the demolition of the old Sunderland Civic Centre car park.

The planning and heritage statement adds: “Overall, it is considered that the proposed development will introduce a high-quality new building in a prominent location which would not negatively impact on the setting of the conservation area or the setting of the nearby listed building and indeed may lead to significant enhancement by way of redeveloping a largely vacant and previously neglected site with a well designed and appropriately scaled form of development.

“The loss of Sinatra’s in order to facilitate the proposed development will result in the total loss of this non-designated heritage asset, but the public benefits of the scheme, outlined above, are considered to outweigh this harm.”

A decision on the application will be made once a period of council consultation has concluded.

For more information on the car park plan or to track its progress, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/01076/LP3