'Ghost cottages' demolition approved - buildings at IAMP site on Sunderland-South Tyneside border set to be demolished after becoming a magnet for trouble
Usworth Cottages and Chalet off Washington Road, near Nissan – dubbed ‘ghost houses’ by some – sit within the footprint of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) site.
They were acquired by the IAMP Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), established by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council as part of a strategy to deliver the project, but have been left standing empty ahead of development.
In recent months, the properties have been blighted by vandalism, arson attempts and anti-social behaviour – with fears someone could be seriously injured or killed if action isn’t taken.
This is due to reports of offenders fleeing towards and across the A19 trunk road.
In October, a planning application was lodged with Sunderland City Council to clear the site, which sits near the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum, formerly RAF Usworth.
A planning statement prepared for IAMP LLP said: “It was originally intended that demolition of all affected buildings within IAMP, including these properties, would be consented under the IAMP TWO development consent order (DCO).
“However, the need for the demolition of these properties has become urgent following repeated and escalating incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, as well as a number of unsuccessful arson attempts at the cottages (so far).
“However, the shared garage / outbuildings plot have been successfully burnt down and have had to be cleared to make them safe.”
Following consultation, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved the demolition application on Friday, November 13.
In a decision report, planners described the scheme as “necessary and appropriate.”
The report went on to say: “The proposed demolitions need to be accelerated due to health and safety requirements.
“The buildings have become a target for antisocial behaviour resulting in fire damage and offenders running across the A19.
“These concerns are [considered] significant and IAMP LLP have considered all the necessary and relevant material planning considerations and as such the local planning authority is satisfied that the demolition of the buildings are necessary and appropriate and as such constitutes as associated works relevant to the DCO area.”