Extra care hub plans approved for Washington site

Plans for a multi-million pound extra care apartment and bungalow development in Washington have been given the green light.

Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council’s planning department validated an application for land west of Moorway and south of Havannah Road near the A182 Washington Highway.

This included the construction of a ‘T-shaped’ three-storey building providing 84 extra care apartments, communal living facilities and 13 bungalows.

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Plans were submitted by applicant Esh Construction Limited and Gladglider Projects Limited.

CGI impressions of how the proposed extra care facility could look.

The £20 million development is expected to be operated by registered social landlord Riverside Group and will be aimed at older people.

While the scheme would allow residents to live independently in their own homes, 24/7 on-site care and support would be available for those who need it.

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The plans were given the stamp of approval at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee on Monday, October 31.

The apartments will be set amongst communal landscaped gardens and the on-site social hub will feature a bistro-style café and a wellbeing and hair salon, helping to create a sense of community and combat social isolation.

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CGI impressions of how the proposed extra care facility could look.

All apartments will also have electronic ‘care call response equipment’ and solar panels will be installed on the apartment block to provide more energy-efficient properties.

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Laura Devaney, Esh’s land and partnerships director, said: “This land-led scheme has been long in the making, therefore, we are delighted to receive the go-ahead from planners.

“It is widely documented that our ageing society is causing a shortage of later life living options which means building new extra care housing – like the proposed development at Washington – is a high priority.

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“We look forward to getting work under way next year.”

John Glenton, executive director for care and support at Riverside, added: “As well as independent living in stunning apartments, tenants will have access to on-site services including a range of engaging health and wellbeing events.

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“Communal facilities will be open to the wider community as we aim to build a service which the local neighbourhood can enjoy.

“In this way, Moorway will be similar to our existing service in Washington, Willowbrook, which has been open for five years, and is award-winning in terms of the care provided and also the activities which bring extra care to life.

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“In the coming months, Moorway will be offering employment opportunities for local people, and we look forward to welcoming the community through our doors when we open.”

According to the planning application, around 20 full-time equivalent employees are proposed for the Washington development.

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The approval from the Planning and Highways Committee this week is also subject to a legal agreement securing 15% affordable housing for the scheme and landscaping works to make it acceptable.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the plans would benefit city residents and local businesses.

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Cllr Miller, speaking after the planning meeting, added: “We are committed to making Sunderland an inclusive city for all and so we are delighted to see this development coming to fruition.”

He added: “As a city with an ageing population, high-quality, extra care housing schemes such as those outlined in these plans will be key to ensuring we can offer the best quality of life possible for our residents as we look to the future and this will be a welcome addition to the city’s housing stock.

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“We are also proud to see so many local businesses involved throughout every stage of this development.

“As a council, we made a promise to the people of the city to ensure the Sunderland pound is spent in Sunderland as often as possible, therefore it’s fantastic to see like-minded organisations such as Esh Construction bringing on board local businesses and workers to drive this scheme forward.”

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Work on the extra care scheme is expected to begin in summer 2023.