Plans for a new Aldi supermarket in Hetton are set to go before city councillors for decision next week.

Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee will discuss a planning application from Aldi Stores Limited for land south of Colliery Lane.

This includes the proposed erection of a discount food store with associated access, car parking, hard and soft landscaping and other works.

The site is surrounded by a number of uses, including an industrial estate to the north, houses to the east and west and a cricket club to the south.

New plans for the site include a building with a footprint of 1,867 square metres served by 102 parking spaces and accessed via a ‘modified pedestrian and vehicular access’ linked to Colliery Lane.

Those behind the scheme released an image of how the new Aldi store could look back in 2022, with plans officially submitted the following year.

During a consultation exercise on the plans, Sunderland City Council received more than 80 representations, with the majority in support.

A total of 71 representations were in favour of the supermarket with comments referencing the proposed jobs boost, use of vacant land, and the new supermarket “enhancing the image of the area”.

Several comments added the shop would reduce the need for residents to travel outside the area, including into County Durham, for shopping, as well as benefits to surrounding villages.

Elsewhere, around 15 objections raised concerns about Aldi “taking business away” from the existing Hetton shopping centre, anti-social behaviour, noise disruption from deliveries, increased traffic and ‘overshadowing’ impacts on neighbours.

Comments were also received from a consultant representing Asda which said there was “not enough parking”, as well as representations about highways issues and the need for a “pedestrian island”.

Hetton Town Council, while welcoming the benefits of the supermarket around employment opportunities and consumer choice, raised concerns on behalf of residents.

This included a “widespread concern about longstanding inadequacies in local transport infrastructure to support existing high levels of traffic which would be exacerbated by increased vehicular activity”.

It was noted that there were” genuine concerns about vehicle and pedestrian safety in the immediate and wider area”.

Sunderland City Council planning officers, in a report prepared ahead of a decision-making meeting next week, have recommended Aldi’s plans for approval.

It was noted that the site had been allocated for development for years and that the new supermarket would “provide new employment opportunities and a facility to meet people’s convenience goods retail needs”.

The level of job creation estimated by the applicant, and referenced in the report, is “up to 20 FTE (full-time equivalent)” roles.

The council committee report adds: “The proposal would be a discount food store, which means there would be a contribution towards the City Plan, which seeks as part of a vibrant smart city for residents who are more resilient to ongoing challenges include the cost-of-living crisis.

“There have been more than 70 representations of support for the proposed development; including the creation of job opportunities and reducing the need to travel outside of the area.

“The town council, whilst raising a series of detailed points, do draw to attention that there is a general consensus of support in the local community for the proposal”.

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Council planners also referenced an issue raised by Hetton Lyons Cricket Club around the potential for “stray cricket balls” to enter the Aldi site, with measures being discussed to help prevent this.

The council committee report added that the “affected parties are content that the matter can be controlled via a planning condition which would be determined by the local planning authority”.

Issues and conditions around “off-site biodiversity net gain” and highways matters are also expected to be discussed at a crunch meeting next week.

A decision on the planning application rests with members of the Planning and Highways Committee, who will next meet on Monday, February 5.

The meeting is scheduled to take place from 5.30pm at City Hall and will be open to the public.