Update on plans for The 3 Stories bar and nightclub in former Sunderland JJB Sports store

Latest plans approved for bar and nightclub at former JJB Sports store
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Fresh plans for a bar and nightclub development in Sunderland have been given the green light, as the new city centre venue prepares to open.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has approved an application for 92 High Street West, near Mackie’s Corner.

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The building was formerly a JJB Sports store and following its closure several years ago, a number of planning applications have been submitted with the aim of revamping the site.

Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)
Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)

This included the removal of previous metal cladding and the restoration of the front facade, as well as planned restoration works to a historic pub front at the side of the building in Pann Lane.

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In 2021, another planning application was approved proposing changes to the internal layout, including a seating area and bar on the ground floor and the addition of nightclub areas across upper floors.

Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)
Former JJB Sports store at  High Street West, Sunderland (November, 2023)

The main additions included a ‘raised VIP area’ and defined dance floor area with a DJ booth on the first floor and a new cocktail bar on the second floor.

Another major change to the scheme included the addition of a rooftop beer garden and smoking area on the second floor with space for several tables.

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The new name is in honour of the site’s three floors and its former life as The Three Crowns pub, which is believed to date back to the 1780s.

During a council consultation exercise on the plans, one public letter of objection was received raising concerns about noise impacts from the beer garden.

This included “potential noise disturbance to a nearby residential property”.

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After considering the latest planning application for the site and assessing it against planning policies, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved it on November 28, 2023.

Council planners, in a decision report, said the proposal would play a “positive role in enlivening the environment of the high street”.

This included the proposals “providing a link between the evening offers of the Minster Quarter and Sunniside, and playing a positive role in supporting the diversification of the High Street in line with the current national trend”.

The council decision report added: “In the current uncertain economic climate, it would not seem likely that circumstances will change significantly in the future to undermine this approach.

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“As such, the proposal is not considered likely to compromise the vitality and viability of the retail provision in the prime shopping area and would bring a vacant unit back into use”.

On noise impacts, the council report said the development would be acceptable, subject to “noise management controls” and “effective management of the external seating area”.

Council planners imposed a range of conditions for the use of the outdoor area, including ‘acoustic screening’ and rules on amplified music.

This includes “no amplified music or sound taking place in the external beer garden (second floor) after 11pm in order to protect the amenities of nearby residential properties”.

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The council decision report added: “The proposed new timber shop front to High Street West will significantly enhance the appearance of the building in the street scene and add to the recent reinstatement of high-quality traditional shop fronts in the vicinity along the High Street, for example at Mackie’s Corner and Elephant Tea Rooms.

“It is noted that the revised shop front is still of good quality design and remains acceptable.

“The proposal will bring much-needed activity to this part of the high street and will largely reinstate the historic character of the property and significantly enhance its appearance on the street scene”.

For more information on the plans and council decision, visit Sunderland City Council’s planning portal website and search reference: 23/01356/FUL