'Unacceptable' takeaway planned former Sunderland Barclays Bank branch in Chester Road refused permission over childhood obesity fears

Proposals for a new hot food takeaway have been knocked back by council planning officers over childhood obesity fears.

By Chris Binding
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:46 pm

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Back in September 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department validated an application for 135 Chester Road in the Barnes ward.

The unit was previously occupied by Barclays but closed in 2020 with the bank citing a shift in customer habits towards other branches and online and telephone banking.

New plans aimed to set up a restaurant and takeaway at the site, as well as extraction equipment and a new shop front.

The former Barclays Bank branch in Chester Road, Sunderland.

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Plans for the restaurant and external works were granted by city planners in late-2021.

However the approval did not include the hot food takeaway use which, according to council reports, was removed from the submission by the applicant.

A revised application from Pepe’s Piri Piri, including the hot food takeaway use, was resubmitted to the council’s planning authority in March, 2022.

After considering the application, Sunderland City Council’s planning authority rejected the proposals on May 20, 2022.

The empty former Barclays Bank building in Chester Road.

A decision report outlines the reasons for the refusal, which include the proposed hot food takeaway use clashing with policies in the council’s local plan.

These policies aim to limit hot food takeaway numbers in certain areas and to prevent hot food takeaway developments in areas where childhood obesity is an issue.

Planners stated the development would result in the proportion of units occupied by hot food takeaways in the Chester Road District Centre exceeding 10% and more than two consecutive hot food takeaways within the area.

In addition, council planners said the use would be in a ward where the obesity level of year six pupils is higher than 21%, and in a ward where the obesity level of reception pupils is higher than 10%.

In this context, council officers said the hot food takeaway use would “not support or improve the health and well being of local communities”.

The council decision report adds: “Whilst the proposal has been found to be acceptable in terms of its impact upon visual amenity, residential amenity and highway safety, it fails to accord with the aims of policy VC4 of the Core Strategy and Development Plan to promote healthier communities and to ensure the vitality and viability of designated centres.

“In this respect the proposal is unacceptable.”

The applicant has the right to challenge the council ruling by lodging an appeal with the Secretary of State.

For more information on the plans, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/00700/FUL