Sunderland City Council

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Former school site set for rental homes development

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans for a £14.1m estate on a former school site have been given the green light.

Last year, Placefirst Developments lodged plans for 116 homes on the ex-Easington Lane Primary School site in Sunderland, which has been vacant for more than a decade.

It included a mix of 26 two-bedroom bungalows, 46 three-bedroom houses and 44 four-bedroom homes alongside a new children’s play area and community gardens.

Sunderland City Council’s area Development Control Sub-Committee has now agreed a "build to rent" scheme.

While planners originally asked developers to pay almost £315,000 towards education provision in the area in a section 106 agreement, a reduced sum of just under £50,000 was agreed due to "viability issues" around the estate.

The funds will be channelled into primary schools in the Hetton ward with any shortfall around education funded from a ‘capital receipt’ from the council selling the land.

The developer aims to start construction this summer with the estate expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Artist's impression of the Placefirst development
Placefirst

Former Sunderland Mayor won't run in local elections

Local Democracy Reporting Service

James Harrison

The candidates in Sunderland's local election next month have been revealed - with the notable absence of the city's ex Mayor.

Stuart Porthouse, currently representing the St Chad's ward, has been suspended from the Labour Party after sharing an interview featuring ex-Labour MP George Galloway on social media.

An investigation is pending.

Mr Porthouse said: “It’s one of those things, there’s a long story to it which I’m not allowed to discuss.

“I expect some resolution [in the future] which I will be defending very rigorously, but I cannot comment on it, there’s nothing I can add.”

Also up for election is the former Washington South seat of ex-councillor Paul Middleton.

He was expelled from the Labour Party after pleading guilty to attempting to sexually communicate with a child under the age of 16 last year.

In the Sandhill ward, voters will be asked to vote for two councillors, following the decision of Lynn Appleby to step down.

She was forced to sit "without party badge" despite being elected as a Liberal Democrat last year, following a row over offensive social media posts.

In total, 131 prospective councillors are set to contest 26 seats in 25 city council wards.

The full list of candidates standing is here.

The deadline to be included for May’s register of electors is Friday 12 April.

Polling Station
BBC

Council declares 'climate emergency'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Chris Binding

Sunderland City Council has declared a "climate emergency" after backing calls for urgent action to tackle climate change.

The decision was made at a full council meeting this week.

It comes amid warnings by the United Nations that there could be just 12 years left to limit "climate change catastrophe".

Conservative councillor Bob Francis said ignoring climate change would leave the world “uninhabitable to higher life forms”.

“A doomsday scenario maybe, but one which our great grandchildren, if not our grandchildren, may have to face,” he said.

Labour leaders also put forward a plan to refresh the current carbon plan, due to expire next year.

The new plan will run between 2020-30 and is subject to consultation

This includes factoring a carbon cost into council decision-making processes and a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

Sunderland full council
BBC

Plans to scrap £50,000 council payout for Spice Girls gig knocked back

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Chris Binding

The Spice Girls
Getty Images

A disputed proposal to scrap a £50,000 council payout to secure the upcoming Spice Girls gig has been abandoned.

In recent months, Labour bosses at Sunderland City Council have said the potential return on the investment is worth it.

This includes up to £4m in economic benefit from visitors travelling to see the 90s pop icons.

However, the plans have been criticised as Freedom of Information request revealed other councils hosting the band did not shell out the money.

At yesterday's budget meeting, Sunderland's Conservatives called for the funds to be scrapped in their alternative budget proposals for 2019/20.

Council leader, Graeme Miller, said: "If we had not given £50,000 to the football club, not the Spice Girls, the concert would not be happening.

"They did not have the money available to enable the work that they needed to do with partners to bring that concert to this city in June of this year.".

The Spice Girls are set to be the first concert at the Stadium of Light since 2016.

Sunderland airshow to remain annual event

Colin Briggs

Look North

Controversial proposals which could have seen the Sunderland International Airshow held every two years rather than annually have been voted down.

The idea came from Conservative members of Sunderland City Council who claimed it would help save more than £2m for the city's budget.

The airshow attracts up to a million visitors.

Meanwhile, councillors confirmed a near 4% increase in council tax and plans to invest more than £169m in city-wide projects.

Sunderland airshow
PA