Controversial Thorney Close homeless hostel plan “will no longer proceed”

PE
16 Jan 2024

Residents in Thorney Close have welcomed news that Sunderland Council “will no longer proceed” with plans to convert the last pub on the estate into a hostel for homeless people with complex needs.

Documents for a meeting of Sunderland Council’s ruling cabinet later this week (Thursday 18 January) have revealed that plans led by the Council to convert the former Thorney Close Inn into apartments for people with complex needs at risk of homelessness “will no longer proceed”.

The documents updating the Council’s future spending plans state that the proposal for Thorney Close (new-build apartments, associated living space and support for clients with complex needs) will no longer proceed”.

The former pub was put up for sale by the current owner due to planning protections designed to safeguard community assets - meaning it had to be marketed as a pub for 2 years before the Council could apply for planning permission to change the use of the site to housing.

It is understood that the site has been sold to a new owner with a view to keeping it as a pub, meaning Sunderland Council’s plans to convert the site into 22 apartments have been scrapped.

The proposals were controversial with residents as Sunderland Council did not consult with the community about the future of the site before announcing the redevelopment plan, which it was feared could have housed people with convictions or a history of sexual offences.

Commenting, Lib Dem councillor for Thorney Close Paul Edgeworth said:

“People on Thorney Close will be breathing a sigh of relief to see that the Council aren’t going ahead with their plans to convert the last pub on the estate into hostel accommodation.

“This community asset has been at the heart of the estate for decades and local people were determined to see it kept as a pub or as another community use.

“Hopefully a new owner keeping the site a pub will be an end to this saga. A big thank you to everyone in our community who worked so hard to oppose Council bosses going behind the backs of local people to impose an unwanted development on the estate. I look forward to sharing a pint with residents in the near future to celebrate the re-opening of a pub in Thorney Close once again.”

Paul Edgeworth outside the former Thorney Close Inn