A vacant library building is set to become a food store after plans were given the go ahead this week.
Earlier this year, proposals were submitted for the ex-Shiney Row Community Library, which closed for good in 2017.
After Sunderland City Council failed to find anyone to run a ‘community’ facility from the site, the building was sold off for commercial use in March (2018).
This week, councillors from the Houghton, Hetton and Washington Development Control Sub-Committee nodded through shop plans.
They include a single-storey building extension with a new exit and steps and opening hours of 8am – 8pm, Monday to Sunday.
When complete, the shop is expected to create two full-time and eight part-time jobs and will see three existing parking spaces become staff parking.
During council consultation however, the scheme sparked significant opposition including seven letters of objection and a 140-signature petition.
Concerns included increases in traffic and congestion, limited parking in the area and potential increases in anti-social behaviour.
Coun Mel Speding, who represents the Shiney Row ward, reflected these concerns at the committee, including the potential of traffic increases affecting funeral services at the nearby Trinity Methodist Church.
“I’m not against the planning application per se, but there are a couple of issues there,” he told planning bosses at Sunderland Civic Centre.
“One issue is the three parking spaces at the back (of the library), I’m sure that one is a disabled parking bay.
“Fundamentally, we’re losing a disabled bay and it’s not being replaced and I would want some consideration to be given to that.”
The councillor also called on highways bosses to recognise ‘local traffic access’ in the area.
He added: “Some years ago there was a scheme in Shiney Row on the roundabout down Chester Road to what was then known as the new roundabout onto the central route,” he said.
“The purpose of that was for local traffic only and clearly a shop of this nature would attract other non-local traffic.”
A highways officer, responding, said delivery times at the front of the shop had been changed to protect parking for customers and other businesses in the area.
Under conditions, no deliveries or refuse collections can be made at the shop between 7am – 10am and 6pm-8pm, Monday to Sunday.
Council officers ruled the parking levels were appropriate given the building’s previous use as a library.
The meeting also heard wider traffic or parking issues could be taken up as service requests with the council in future.
For more information on the application, visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-applications and search 18/00684/FUL
PIC: Shiney Row Library, Chester Road Image from Google Maps (Google Streetview)
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service