Housing plans for Hetton-le-Hole approved as government inspector overturns Sunderland City Council decision

Wearside housing provider Gentoo has won permission to build new homes in the Hetton-le-Hole area, following a ruling by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department previously recommended a green light for 86 affordable homes on land at Cragdale Gardens.

Last year, members of the council’s on the Planning and Highways (West) Committee voted to reject the plans over fears there would be an “unacceptable loss of greenspace.”

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Applicant Gentoo Group Ltd subsequently lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State and planning inspector David Cross was appointed to rule on the planning application.

Computer generated image to show how the completed development could look.
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More than a year after the council rejected the scheme, the government’s Planning Inspectorate has approved the appeal, granting planning permission.

A report on the decision, published last week, said the main issue in the appeal was the impact of the housing on green space provision, with regard to outdoor sport and recreation provision.

However, the inspector concluded the plans were acceptable on balance, with “significant weight given to the contribution that the proposal would make to the supply of affordable housing”.

The findings added the housing would comply with a key policy in the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan,relating to “the provision of attractive, accessible and functional green space in the area due to the quantity of existing provision in the area, and contributions to the upgrading and improvement of green space to address the quality of provision in the vicinity of the site”.

The Gentoo development in Hetton-le-Hole will be 100% affordable, featuring two-, three- and four-bedroom homes that will become available for affordable rent.

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Several new homes will also be available for affordable home ownership options, including shared ownership.

The approved proposals will include 6,920 square metres of landscaping on site, including the planting of 108 trees and 2,685 shrubs, to create access to green space for both existing and new residents to enjoy.

Gentoo chiefs have added that the scheme will have social and economic benefits, including additional council tax income, the creation of 156 temporary jobs on site and in the wider community and the generation of around £12.2 million of “economic output” during the build.

Joanne Gordon, development director at Gentoo Group, welcomed the appeal decision.

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She said: “As an organisation Gentoo is committed to creating new affordable homes for Sunderland’s residents and I’m pleased that following the [appeal] decision we are now able to create 86 new homes, all of which will be available via rent and affordable ownership.

“Our development will transform the local area and will incorporate green space for both new and existing residents to enjoy, while also addressing the ongoing anti-social behaviour issues in the area.

“We will work closely with our partners to support the local area through the development, both in terms of social value and economic benefits.”

Gentoo is currently delivering its affordable homes plan that involves investing £165 million in Sunderland.

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The Cragdale Gardens development will form part of the housing firm’s ambitions to deliver 1,200 additional affordable homes in the city by 2026.

More details about the Hetton-le-Hole housing, including site plans, can be found on Gentoo Group’s website.

The full appeal decision report is also available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website by searching for appeal reference: APP/J4525/W/21/3270321

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