Fresh plans for homes at a former petrol filling station site have been given the go-ahead by council development bosses.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department has approved an application for the site off Ryhope Road, which has been vacant for decades.

Although planning applications have previously been approved for housing on the parcel of land, they failed to materialise.

This included an application approved by the city council’s planning department in May 2020, for a development offering eight four-bedroom townhouses.

The site previously housed structures associated with the former petrol station which fell into disrepair, with the site being described as an “eyesore” by local councillors.

Following enforcement action from Sunderland City Council in the form of an “improvement notice” the petrol station structures were later removed.

Plans from applicant ‘Newcastle Car Wash Limited’, submitted in 2023, included a fresh bid for eight townhouses on the site with parking spaces to the rear.

A design and access statement submitted to council officials noted plans were similar to a previous housing application but with extra information around “construction management and site remediation”.

Plans included eight four-bedroom townhouses with around 12 car parking bays and associated gardens.

To “minimise any disruption and maintain highway safety” within the development, vehicular access points were proposed from Westholme Terrace and an unnamed access road to the rear of the site.

Developers added that some activity would take place on the site before a planning decision, but that it was “independent of the outcome of the main planning application and would not in itself require permission”.

During the planning application process, the plans were amended, and some concerns were raised by council highways officers over on-site parking.

A council consultation exercise also saw one public objection raising parking concerns and describing plans for eight dwellings as an “excessive and a gross overdevelopment of the site”.

After considering the planning application and assessing it against planning policies, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved it on April 12, 2024, subject to conditions.

This included a management plan “showing the curtilage of each dwelling house and the allocation of the parking spaces to the rear of the site”.

The decision on the plans has been welcomed by St Michael’s ward councillor, Michael Dixon, who said there was “renewed optimism” for the site’s future.

Cllr Dixon said: “The vast majority of residents who have been affected by it being vacant and an eyesore for so long live opposite on or behind Ryhope Road, their houses all situated within the ward I represent.

“There is a long history of previous applications on this site including proposals, at different times, for use as a car wash and tyre sales, when along with many residents I argued for refusal of planning permission.

“In addition, there was a past application for housing which was approved but unfortunately did not commence within the required time of three years.

“Add to that, more recently, various environmental issues, when we requested the council to take what was successful legal action over the neglected condition of the site and you have a long history of inactivity and disappointment.”

Cllr Dixon added; “But, that, hopefully, is now all in the past.

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“There is clear evidence for renewed optimism that, with this approval of planning permission for new houses, progress is at last being made that will benefit both those who live opposite and also work nearby.”

Under planning conditions, the housing development must be brought forward within three years.

For more information on the plan or council decision, visit Sunderland City Council’s planning portal website and search reference: 23/02154/FUL