Work allowed to restart on Sunderland housing scheme after planning concerns

A housing developer was ordered to stop building works over concerns planning conditions have been breached.

Sunderland City Council served the Temporary Stop Notice on Persimmon Homes on May 28 which was given permission to build for 250 homes at Hillfield Meadows, Silksworth, in November 2019.

But after the council’s planning enforcement team visited the site on Monday, the developer was allowed to restart works after no points of concern were raised.

As part of the planning and approval process, a number of conditions were agreed with the developer. These included adequate protection against dust.

Council officers have been monitoring the development and have been responding to complaints from neighbours on a range of issues.

The council’s Temporary Stop Notice was served under section 171E of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

This is to secure the cessation of all activities generating excessive dust such as excavations, earth moving operations, and construction and delivery vehicle movements except where the agreed dust mitigation measures are employed.

Leader of Sunderland City Council Councillor Graeme Miller said: “As a City Council we want to and are seeing more housing development as we make Sunderland into a 21st century city.

“We are very supportive of responsible developers but must also support our communities who demand respectful construction practices to be demonstrated.

“In doing this however, we expect all developers to work in partnership with us here at the council and to be good neighbours.

“If we can’t achieve that, and with a history of excessive dust levels being generated from this site, then we have no hesitation in taking formal action where it is in the public interest to do so.”

Chairman of the city council’s West Area Committee, which includes the Barnes, Pallion, Sandhill, St Chad’s and Silksworth wards, Councillor Peter Gibson said: “Myself and fellow ward councillors here in Silksworth have been in regular contact with residents near the development.

“The council has been in a dialogue with developers, the council has been monitoring dust levels and this action is now being taken because there are still considered to be breaches of the original planning conditions.

“We don’t consider it correct or acceptable practice that a major housebuilder or indeed any other developer appears to ignore important planning conditions.

“I hope this sends out a strong message to all developers operating whether it’s in the city centre or Silksworth, that planning conditions are put there with good reason and, if necessary, we will enforce them.”

Hillfield Meadows housing development at Silksworth, Sunderland.
Hillfield Meadows housing development at Silksworth, Sunderland.
(Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said: “We appreciate the inconvenience that can be caused by construction and take all our environmental responsibilities very seriously.

“We have met with the planning enforcement team from the council on site today and they have not raised any points of concern and have given permission for works to continue.

“Persimmon Homes has and continues to work closely with planning enforcement officers at Sunderland City Council to monitor dust levels at our Hillfield Meadows development.

“The results from dust monitoring stations on the development are collected and analysed by an independent environmental consultant and shared with the planning authority and we have not been made aware of any recent or ongoing issues prior to this notice being served.

“As part of our commitment to responsible construction we have a water tanker on site during construction hours and it is deployed as the predominant means of dust control.

“Despite the exceptionally warm weather over the bank holiday weekend the dust monitoring stations on the site boundary next to a residential area both recorded dust levels significantly below the Environment Agency’s trigger for dust being ‘noticeable’.”

Chronicle Live – Sunderland