Plans for 45 new homes look set for approval by Sunderland City Council despite several objections

Plans for a 45-home housing development on the outskirts of Sunderland could be given the go-ahead next week.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 11:01 am

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has recommended housing plans for approval for a site south of Chilton Moor in the Houghton-le-Spring area.

The development includes two parcels of open land to the east and west of an existing building off Redburn Road and south of Black Boy Road.

According to planning documents submitted on behalf of applicant Adderstone Living Ltd, the proposed development would offer affordable housing and would be managed by registered provider Karbon Homes.

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Housing planned for site near Chilton Moor Picture: Google

If approved, a mix of two-bedroom and three-bedroom units would be offered consisting of bungalows and detached and semi-detached properties.

In addition, all dwellings within the development are proposed to be affordable, with bungalows being made available for affordable rent and the remainder available as ‘rent to buy’ units.

The site was previously granted outline planning permission in 2015, however these plans failed to progress any further.

A separate bid for around 50 homes on the site was also refused in 2019 by the city council’s area planning committee over issues related to design quality, impacts on ecology and education and the lack of affordable housing.

In a report prepared for councillors ahead of a planning hearing next week, Sunderland City Council planners said the new housing scheme from Adderstone Living Ltd would be acceptable, subject to conditions.

They added that the site is already proposed for housing in the council’s draft Allocations and Designations (A&D) Plan and that the development would provide several benefits, such as delivering 100% affordable housing.

Since its submission earlier this year however, the planning application has sparked concerns from local councillors, local residents and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

In a statement included in a planning report, Houghton councillor Neil MacKnight said the Houghton area has “been the focus of a disproportionate amount of new residential development” and that the housing plan would “further erode greenspace.”

Several neighbours also raised concerns about the loss of greenspace, ecological impacts and increased traffic while Durham Wildlife Trust, which manages the nearby Rainton Meadows visitor centre and nature reserve, said the development would lead to “biodiversity net loss.”

Despite this, planners have maintained that the housing scheme is compliant with all relevant policies.

A planning report reads: “The content of the objections to the proposed development are acknowledged and it is evident that the local community holds significant concerns in relation to the proposed development of the site, particularly around ecology, highway safety, local infrastructure and the development of a ‘greenfield’ site.

“All relevant material planning considerations have, however, been appraised in the context of the policies of the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan, the National Planning Policy Framework [and] the draft A&D Plan.

“With regard to the consultation responses received from a range of external and internal consultees, there are not considered to be any reasons which would justify a refusal of planning permission in the context of the benefits being derived from the development.”

The recommendation to approve the plan is subject to the finalisation of “outstanding ecology considerations” and the completion of a section 106 agreement.

The legal agreements are a normal part of the planning process and allow planning authorities to secure funds from applicants to reduce the impact of new developments.

In the case of the Chilton Moor housing plan, financial contributions are expected to be channelled towards primary, secondary and special educational needs education provision in the area.

Further section 106 funds are earmarked for the management of off-site ecological impacts, biodiversity improvements and off-site play provision.

A final decision will be made by the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee on Monday, July 26 at Sunderland Civic Centre.

The meeting starts at 5.30pm and will be open to the public.