Student accommodation approved at former Sunderland nightclub Ku Club

Development plans for former Ku Club
Development plans for former Ku Club

A derelict nightclub will be transformed into 19 bedrooms after a bid for student accomodation was given the green light by councillors.

Earlier this year, a change of use application was submitted for the former Ku Club, in High Street West, which recently served as community space Venue.

On October 1, Sunderland City Council’s (SCC) area development control sub-committee approved the plans by applicant Dashwood Group.

Proposals include revamping two upper floors with 18 double bedrooms and one single bedroom – all with own en-suite bathrooms – alongside kitchen/communal space.

The building’s exterior will also see Georgian-style dormer windows, new entrance canopies and new windows installed.

A report, presented to the committee, said plans will not affect existing retail space on the ground floor, with deliveries, drop-off points and bin collections continuing as normal.

Development control manager at the council, Danielle Pearson, added the scheme would “revitalise and enhance that area of the street”.

Speaking at Sunderland Civic Centre, she explained the existing building was in need of repairs and upgrades with the plans bringing a “long-term vacant floor space back into use”.

During consultation on the plans no objections were lodged, with the developer required to install glazed and insulated windows to minimise noise.

The links to nearby public transport, including a national rail and Metro station, were also seen as benefits to the scheme.

Coun Michael Dixon welcomed the application, noting the economic benefits for leisure venues in the city.

“The more students we can get integrated into the city centre the better,” he said

However, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Coun Stuart Porthouse, raised concerns about the building “branching out” into a hostel.

The meeting heard that room sizes met current standards and that any future bid to convert the building into another use, including a hostel, would need new planning permission.

Ku Club shut its doors for good in June 2008 after 20 years of entertaining Wearsiders on nights out.

The loss of the nightspot, which was also known as Venue, sparked a campaign to save it, as well as a series of reunion events since.

In July 2010, Mission 12-17 Community Interest Company was granted permission to use the building as a social club and youth project, with a cafe later added.

Since the company dissolved in 2013, the building has remained vacant for several years.

Planning officers added the repair works and upgrades would give the building “flexibility” for any future use as opposed to leaving it in disrepair.

Following discussion, councillors voted unanimously to approve the plans.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service