Sunderland eyesore ‘like little Vaux site’

Mac Burke lives opposite the derelict petrol station on Ryhope Road, Grangetown, Sunderland.
Mac Burke lives opposite the derelict petrol station on Ryhope Road, Grangetown, Sunderland.
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A FORMER petrol station has been dubbed a mini-Vaux site by a fed-up neighbour.

Disgruntled Mac Burke has said he is sick of looking at the derelict filling station opposite his house.

Southmoor Service Station in Ryhope Road has been out of action for eight years.

Bids to regenerate the site have been turned down by Sunderland Council, including a recent application to build flats and shops.

Now Mr Burke is appealing for the councillors to listen to his hopes for the site, which he claims is a magnet for troublemakers.

“My aim is to have the building and perimeter walls demolished,” he said.

“I hope for a change in regulations that allow landowners to leave sites unattended and run down to become an eyesore and a haven for antisocial behaviour, and for development on the site which will enhance Grangetown and Sunderland.

“It is used as a car parking space and 24 cars can park there. I have no objections to it being used as a car park.”

However, he says council officers have deemed the structures as being safe, so its owner is not legally obliged to level it.

Mr Burke, who has lived in Ryhope Road for more than 20 years, added: “We have been looking at it for eight years. It has become a right eyesore and it’s a haven for dirty deeds.

“It’s like our own little Vaux site.”

The owner of the site has criticised Sunderland City Council after two planning applications for the site were turned down.

His plans to change the filling station to car wash and valeting service was rejected by the city council in September 2003.

Mushtaq Ahmed, a businessman who runs a car wash in Newcastle, said: “I bought the site in 2002, originally for a hand carwash. We did not think there would be any problems, but when we applied we were refused and when we appealed we were refused.

“People come from Sunderland to wash their cars and we were very surprised that we got knocked back.

“We get complaints from the council saying people are parking on the site and throwing rubbish on the site.”

Hopes to transform the site were also dashed in August last year.

Mr Ahmed had wanted to construct a three-storey building, made up of bedsits and retail units, but planning committee members decided it would have a negative impact on nearby homes.

He added: “It is a bit of a nightmare. One hundred per cent it is an eyesore. This is a blot on the block.

“Sunderland Council are worlds apart from Newcastle City Council.With Newcastle they can talk, they can advise you.”

Mr Ahmed says he is now appealing the council’s decision.

Councillor Tony Morrisey, Conservative housing spokesman, said: “While I sympathise with residents affected by antisocial behaviour on the site wanting virtually anything other than the current situation, I can’t help thinking the proposed development was of such a magnitude that it would have brought its own problems.

“I would be surprised if this issue of overdevelopment hadn’t been raised by officers with the developer before it came to the sub-committee, but in any case perhaps now both sides can re-engage and come up with a more appropriate plan for the site.”

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