Three Sunderland green belt sites could be removed from housing plan

Three green belt sites in Sunderland could be spared from new housing plans.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 5:54 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 7:44 pm
Land at North Hylton was listed for potential development.

Sunderland City Council had earmarked three sites for 370 properties as part of its local plan for the city up until 2033.

Yet, following three weeks of public consultations into its draft proposals, a planning inspector has now recommended that the land at North Hylton, Rickleton and East Springwell remains within the green belt and be protected from development.

In his newly published report, inspector Mark Dakeyne said the North Hylton site, where 110 homes were planned, “makes a significant contribution in landscape terms to the river corridor”.

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Coun Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "It is good to see that the inspector has very much supported our overall approach."

At Rickleton, in Washington, where 200 properties were proposed, he noted that “the site contains a number of well-maintained football pitches and is actively used by local football teams”.

At East Springfield, close to Washington’s boundary with Gateshead, where another 60 homes were mooted, he acknowledged the importance of “preserving the setting and special character of Springwell Village”.

The council says the inspector’s report “generally supports the overall strategy set out by the council within the plan”.

Council leader Graeme Miller said: "It is good to see that the inspector has very much supported our overall approach.

"We will now focus on making the modifications the inspector has requested and these will be published for consultation in the coming months.

“The examination in public with its community engagement was always a key part of the plan’s stages.

"I would again like to thank everyone who has contributed either during all the extensive consultation or at the hearings.

“This plan is setting down a strong framework for our city’s vibrant, healthy and dynamic future."

Consultation on the modifications to the plan – which initially aimed to create 13,410 more homes and 7,000 new jobs – will soon be announced.

The draft proposals has been subject to extensive consultation including eight weeks between August and October 2017 when more than 5,000 representations were received.

Further consultation was undertaken in June and July last year with 8,283 comments from 2,140 individuals.

Consultation and public engagement work on the draft has been one of the biggest consultation exercises ever undertaken by the council.