Plans for new Starbucks and Subway units on Wearside have taken a key step forward, following a decision by council development chiefs.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has approved an application for a business unit off Wessington Way in the Castle ward.

The proposed development site, at Hylton Grange near the Premier Inn hotel, is described in plans as the “vacant ICI Dulux Decorator Centre’.

Plans from Cliff Court (Redcar) Developments Ltd, submitted last year, aimed to demolish part of the site and redevelop the building to form two business units.

Proposals for the site also included the formation of a new ‘drive-thru’ lane and “amendments to car parking arrangements”.

A planning statement submitted to council officials said occupiers of the site “have yet to be confirmed”.

However, the planning statement said “the applicant is well advanced in discussions with Subway for unit one and Starbucks for unit two”.

After considering the planning application and assessing it against planning policies, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved it on January 31, 2024.

Council planners, in a decision report, said the applicant had considered the “availability, suitability and viability” of alternative sites in neighbouring areas, including Sunderland city centre, Washington and Castletown.

However, the sites were “discounted” due to the type of development proposed, which is “generally located close to the main highways as to attract passing trade”.

Council planners welcomed the scheme and said it would “bring back into use a vacant retail unit albeit into two smaller units”.

No issues were raised with the scheme’s design, or around associated noise and ecological impacts, with no trees proposed to be removed as part of the development.

On highway and pedestrian safety matters, the council decision report added: “The site lies within an existing commercial area along an internal road network off the main highway.

“There are no changes proposed to site access and the car parking arrangements have been improved.

“The transportation development team has been consulted as part of this application process and has raised no objection subject to the imposition of recommended planning conditions”.

Submitted site plans show the drive-thru lane serving the unit earmarked for Starbucks and both business units facing into a car parking area.

The car park is expected to offer around 24 spaces, including two accessible bays and a ‘waiting bay’, as well as cycle stands.

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A planning statement submitted to council officials said the development was “small scale and sustainable” and would make a “positive contribution to the local economy”.

A submitted planning application estimated the development would create nearly 20 jobs, with 10 full-time employees and eight part-time roles.

Under planning conditions, ‘localised screening’ is required at the site to reduce amenity impacts on people staying at the adjacent Premier Inn hotel.

Approved operating hours for the new development also include 5.30am to 11pm, seven days a week.

For more information on the planning application and council decision, visit the council’s planning portal website and search reference: 23/02357/FUL