CONTROVERSIAL plans to build another supermarket in Sunderland have been officially submitted.
The proposed development on North Hylton Road would have a foodstore, shops, commercial units, offices and a restaurant, as well as 186 parking spaces.
Should it get the green light from city councillors, the £10million scheme would transform an eyesore and create the equivalent of 238 full-time jobs.
The development aims to turn the old Jennings site, owned by Northern Electric Distributors, into an “exciting district centre”.
Although no deal has yet been signed on the main store, there has been interest from major and discount retailers into moving into the centre.
The project has been welcomed in some quarters, particularly for its regeneration and employment benefits, but slated by traders in Southwick and Red House, who fear it could put them out of business.
As is the norm for major projects, some public consultation was undertaken before the planning application was officially filed with the council, including a meeting at Red House Academy.
In new documents accompanying the application, Manchester-based GVA, agent for developer Verum Victum, said: “The responses received provided a mix of comments, with a balanced outcome.”
Samantha Bates, of Studio 39, said: “We have just come out of a credit crunch, but if this is given the go ahead all the businesses will go through the same again and could go bust.”
Paul Nolan, of So Delicious, said: “At the end of the day communities stick together, but this development goes ahead then it isn’t just taking our jobs from us, but taking us away from the community.”
Ranjit Singh, who owns a newsagents and hairdressers, said he had collected a 500-signature petition against it.
Many people praised the proposal. Debbie Fisher called it “fantastic.”
She added: “As a parent, the idea of a job so local to my daughter’s school is brilliant. The area needs something like this.”
The council’s public consultation ends on February 24.
The area could see two new supermarkets open nearby within a short space of time, as Sainsbury’s aims to build on the current Jennings site, at Riverside Road, with the car dealership moving elsewhere in Sunderland.