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Final draft of Sunderland's local plan to go to City Council Cabinet this month

Sunderland City Council has listened to local people and made changes to the city’s final draft of its Core Strategy and Development Plan, which looks at jobs, business growth, transport links and housing needs in the city from now until 2033.

More than five thousand people gave their thoughts and comments about the draft local plan at a series of consultation events across the city in 2017.  All of the comments have been read, and many significant changes have been made to the final draft, which goes to the City Council’s Cabinet committee at the end of May.

Key issues centred on the Green Belt, gypsy and travellers’ sites, housing density and city centre growth and these have all been considered.

Major changes include reducing the number of development sites in the Green Belt from 15 to 11.  The sites that are no longer proposed to be removed from the Green Belt are West Park, Glebe House Farm, Offerton, and Peareth Hall, Springwell. The Plan also proposes to designate open countryside and Settlement Breaks to protect them from inappropriate development. 

No potential stop over site for gypsies has been identified in the final draft. The first draft mentioned three such sites.  Instead the council will be progressing an unauthorised encampment policy.

The plan has reduced the numbers of homes to be built from 768 a year to 745 a year. Ninety per cent of growth will be in the existing urban area. The city is ranked in the top five per cent of local authorities for the quality of the living environment, and 91% of residents are satisfied with their current accommodation.

There will be a strong hot food takeaway policy for new hot food takeaways to address the large number of such businesses in the city, which will seek to balance the range of shops, strengthen the vibrant 24-hour city centre, and boost healthy food choices for its residents.

A detailed feedback report from the consultations of the first draft plan will be published online at the City Council website during the next consultation due to start 15 June 2018.  It will set out the range of views received during the consultation and summarise how these have been taken into account in the final version of the draft Plan. The City Council puts a high priority on achieving an adopted Local Plan to clearly set out the city’s ambitions.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland’s Local Plan will shape the city for the next decade and beyond. We have a fantastic city, and the Plan will create far-reaching opportunities for people who live and work here. We have challenging targets to reach and these will impact everyone across the city.

“We will carefully manage the development of the city as an attractive and sustainable place to live, putting a high quality of life, community wellbeing and local character to the forefront for generations to come.”

The Local Plan aims to deliver 13,410 new homes needed in Sunderland by 2033, while minimising any negative impact on the environment and local amenity.  It will also seek to provide at least 95 hectares of land to help create and support jobs.

Transport links will be improved with new strategic road infrastructure. The Plan backs the Metro expansion in Sunderland.

Improving the quality of life and community development are central to the Plan, with mobility, connectivity, health, wellbeing, skills and education all included in its wide-ranging remit.

The Sunderland Local Plan will ensure that the city’s growth is delivered in the right places and of the right quality to continue the transformation of Sunderland. The Plan will ensure there is a strong framework to develop and protect the city’s land and property assets until 2033, and it will set parameters for growth.

All Local Planning Authorities have a statutory duty to prepare a Local Plan. Once adopted, the Local Plan will be the starting point for determining planning applications.  It will set a clear strategy for bringing land forward to address needs in line with the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The Local Plan is a priority for Sunderland, to plan for the homes, jobs and infrastructure local people need, and to give certainty and transparency to everyone who lives and works in the city as to how it will develop by 2033 and be well positioned to attract more funding and investment.  The purpose of the Local Plan is to create a sustainable, attractive, healthy and prosperous Sunderland where people love to live and businesses thrive.