Planning application submitted for major facelift of historic Sunderland city centre building

Historic buildings in Sunderland city centre are set for a major facelift under regeneration proposals approved by planners.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 6:36 pm

Earlier this year, a planning application was validated by Sunderland City Council for 177 High Street West and 1-2 Villiers Street.

According to planning documents, the properties have appeared on OS maps from the 1850s onwards and while unlisted, form an important part of the area’s historic character.

Working in partnership, the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT) and Sunderland City Council secured funding to help bring the properties back to life and to attract more investment to the area.

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A planning application has been submitted for 177 High Street West and 1-2 Villiers Street.

A planning application from TWBPT included renovating the building and installing new shop fronts, a roof replacement, new render and windows and the creation of a balcony with steel balustrades.

This aimed to repurpose the building as two self-contained retail units, a community/learning facility and office space at ground floor level and a meeting/multi-purpose room and two self-contained apartments across the upper floors.

The buildings sit within the Old Sunderland Riverside Conservation Area and Sunderland’s Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone.

After being owned by Sunderland City Council for years, the leasehold interest for the buildings at 177 High Street West was transferred to TWBPT at a cabinet meeting in June 2021.

A planning application was submitted for 177 High Street West and 1-2 Villiers Street.

Last week, planning permission was also officially granted, securing the future of the site and paving the way for the new uses.

A council decision report reads: “The properties have been in a partially vacant and deteriorating state for many years and appear somewhat unsightly alongside the surrounding listed / historic buildings that have all been restored and returned to use over the last 20 years through various heritage-led regeneration schemes.

“These two buildings are the last in the group to be addressed, and the last vacant historic buildings in Old Sunderland Riverside Conservation Area to be conserved through heritage-led regeneration activity.”

The report goes on to say: “Overall, the proposals will have a positive impact on the significance and secure the long-term conservation and sustainability of an important group of historic buildings, enhancing in the process the character and appearance of the Old Sunderland Riverside Conservation Area.”

For more information on the scheme, visit Sunderland City Council’s planning portal and search reference: 20/02428/FU4