The first phase of a new 500-home development on the former Pennywell estate site has been given the go ahead by councillors.
Housing association, Gentoo, lodged plans for 118 homes on the parcel of land off Chester Road and Sunderland City Council’s area Development Control Sub-Committee have approved the first phase of the ‘Chester Gate’ development.
This includes a mix of 23 two-bedroom, 60 three-bedroom and 35 four-bedroom homes.
Plans also include “stopping up” the access to the existing public highway and building a two-metre high green acoustic barrier to shield traffic noise from Chester Road.
Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration on the council, Stuart Porthouse, said the plans represented an “exciting time” for the area but a report presented to councillors stated that the Pennywell scheme “can’t be developed viably due to the high abnormal costs”.
As a result, no funds will be provided from Gentoo towards affordable housing on the site in ‘phase one’ of the development.
Coun Michael Dixon said: “It’s ironic there is no affordable housing on a patch of land which used to have hundreds of council houses.”
The meeting heard that Gentoo was working with Homes England with an aim of providing affordable housing in the area in future.
Committee chairman, Michael Essl, added: “I would like to share concern that there seems to be no social housing on this site.
“I hope to see some in further developments. You are a social housing group after all.”
Since it began building new homes in Sunderland, Gentoo has invested £262million in providing 2,168 new homes across the city, including 1,589 homes for rent and 579 for sale.
This is in addition to the £62million it is investing in 417 homes that are currently under construction at various developments across the city.
Chief Executive Officer of Gentoo Housing Group, Nigel Wilson said: “I’m delighted our new Chester Gate development has been given the go ahead.
“We’re all extremely excited to be involved in such a flagship development and look forward to creating a highly desirable place for local people to live.”
Construction work is expected to begin at Chester Gate in the spring, with Sunderland City Council also carrying out improvement works to the adjacent Chester Road as part of the wider redevelopment of the area.
The planning decision will also see Gentoo will pay around £67,000 towards Strategic Access Management Monitoring to reduce impact on protected nature areas.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service