New Sunderland affordable homes win planning permission

Plans for a 45-home housing estate on the outskirts of Sunderland have been given the go-ahead despite concerns over environmental impact.

Plans for a 45-home housing estate on the outskirts of Sunderland have been given the go-ahead – despite concerns over impacts to wildlife and loss of green space.

Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee were asked to consider plans for land near Chilton Moor in the Houghton-le-Spring area. The development site covers two parcels of open land to the east and west of a site off Redburn Road and south of Black Boy Road.

According to planning documents submitted on behalf of applicant Adderstone Living Ltd, the proposed development would offer 100% affordable housing and would be managed by registered provider Karbon Homes. Proposals included a mixture of two and three-bedroom detached and semi-detached properties, including eight bungalows.

During several rounds of public consultation, the plans sparked comments from around 11 addresses in the area and Hetton Town Council, with concerns ranging from the amount of dwellings and increased traffic to impacts on ecology and biodiversity.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the site was an “intrusion into the countryside” while Durham Wildlife Trust, which manages the nearby Rainton Meadows visitor centre and nature reserve, added the development would lead to “biodiversity net loss.”

The application was due to go before councillors at a meeting in late July 2021, however this was rescheduled to allow time for a further ecology report to be produced.

Final arguments for and against the development were put forward at a planning hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre on Tuesday, August 31.

Houghton councillors Neil MacKnight and Juliana Heron spoke in objection raising concerns about the impact of the new housing on local infrastructure, the loss of green space in the ward, ecology impacts and highways issues.

Cllr MacKnight said he supported the principle of social housing but raised concerns about the ecological impacts and biodiversity loss.

He also noted the increase in housing developments across Houghton in recent years and said the ward is “now the largest-populated ward in the city”.

Despite the concerns, council planners maintained that the housing scheme was compliant with relevant policies and recommended the application for approval.

They said that the proposal was acceptable and would help the council meet housing targets, with all impacts offset by funds secured through a section 106 agreement.

The legal agreements are a standard part of the planning process and allow council planning authorities to request cash from applicants to reduce the impact of new developments.

In the case of the Chilton Moor housing plan, financial contributions totalling more than £340,000 are expected to be secured and channelled towards areas including education, off-site play provision and ecology mitigation.


Image: Houghton-le-Spring is already one of Sunderland’s most populated areas. Courtesy Malc McDonald/Geograph Project/Creative Commons

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