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SOCIAL HOUSING: Site of former ‘nuisance’ pub set to be revived

SOCIAL HOUSING: Site of former ‘nuisance’ pub set to be revived

Image: LDRS

The site of a former “nuisance” pub on Wearside is set to be revived as a social housing development following a decision by councillors.

Members of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee (East) approved plans for the site of ‘The Buffs’ at a meeting this week.

According to a report prepared for the panel, the Southwick pub previously lost its licence “after becoming a local nuisance for local services.”

Although the building has been partially demolished, planners said the vacant site is “now detracting from the overall appearance” of the area.

Under new plans from local developer MCC Homes, the site will be transformed into an affordable housing development aimed specifically at over 55s.

Properties on offer include five three-bedroom family homes and 11 two-bedroom bungalows.

The scheme was approved at a committee meeting on Monday (April 26), which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.

As part of the planning approval, a section 106 agreement has been drafted between the council and developer.

The legal agreements are typically used by planning authorities to secure funds to help reduce the impact of developments in key areas, such as ecology or pressure on school places.

In the case of the Southwick site, off Old Mill Road, the agreement will see £8,629.60 channelled towards ‘strategic access management and monitoring measures’ at protected coastal nature sites.

A report to the committee added that MCC Homes, “in consultation with the local authority,” purchased the land and the former pub “with a view to offer affordable housing on the site.”

At this week’s committee meeting, council planners added that the intention was for the site to return to council ownership in future to be delivered as affordable housing.

A committee report explains: “In December 2018, Sunderland City Council’s licensing committee ruled in favour of Northumbria Police application to revoke the license for the premises and the building was closed.

“The building was subsequently marketed for rent for alternative uses but was unable to attract any viable options.

“Following pre-application discussions with the current applicant and the city council’s local planning authority and land and property section, the entire site was acquired in February 2020 to provide affordable housing for the elderly.

“A subsequent agreement has also been established in principle that should planning approval be granted, Sunderland City Council will reacquire the site to manage the social housing provision in perpetuity.”

In their report, planners added the proposals were “fully compliant” with the aims of the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan around “delivering housing across the city.”

This included bringing a “currently dilapidated site” back to use for the provision of social rented housing for over 55s.

Words: Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporter

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