Plans which would see a derelict North East pub demolished to make way for new homes have been greenlit by the council.

Developer Lovell has confirmed their application to demolish the former Whitburn Lodge pub in Mill Lane, Sunderland, which closed in 2012, has been approved by South Tyneside Council.

The building had previously caught fire in on New Year’s Day in 2023 and has been subject to calls to be demolished.

The council approved the plans at a meeting on May 20.

The application will now be referred to the Secretary of State, and planning consent will be granted if no queries are raised.

The developers have confirmed they plan to build 32 homes on the site which will be known as Laurel Gate.

The company said it will increase biodiversity by more than 30 per cent in the area as part of the project.

A spokesperson for Lovell said: “This will be through a combination of on-site measures and by funding additional biodiversity enhancements in the wider area through a £29,400 contribution. A further £12,896 will be paid to protect existing wildlife habitats.

Phil Jones, head of land and partnerships, said: “Laurel Gate will make use of land that has previously been developed to provide homes that meet the needs of people living in Whitburn and the wider area.

“These two, three and four-bedroom homes will be highly energy efficient, with solar panels and electric vehicle charging points. This will help residents to save money on running costs and to reduce their carbon impact.

“The affordable properties include discounted homes for first-time buyers, as well as some low-cost rented homes.

“Laurel Gate will include an open space with a pond to drain surface water while creating new wildlife habitats. A link to the Souter walking trail will also be created.

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“The Whitburn Lodge building has become an eyesore at this entrance to the village. By building a sensitively designed development, we can create attractive street scenes that complement the coastal location and its heritage.”

The plans include the demolition of the pub building and the clearing of the former car park, beer garden and surrounding land.

The developer plans to start work on the development in August and said the first homes are expected to be ready in 2025.