Earlier in August, the Planning Department of Sunderland City Council validated a planning application for 55 John Street.
Applicant Sundridge Properties Ltd is seeking permission to convert the bar / restaurant building into five self-contained apartments, as well as associated works.
This includes removing part of a rear extension to form a “skylight”, erecting a rear perimeter wall, forming new window openings and replacement skylights.
If approved, it would be the last building in the city center to obtain planning permission to become apartments, with similar proposals approved for a number of historic structures in recent years.
According to a design, access and heritage statement submitted with the plans, the building was once used as a bar and later as an Indian restaurant which closed in late 2012.
The new plans aim to “meet the demand for apartments in the city center” by offering one and two bedroom apartments with en-suite shower in the vacant building.
The design, access and heritage statement reads: “This project will invest in the city center and improve a building that requires maintenance.
“Based on what has been described […] we believe that we are improving the existing building and preserving its future.
“We believe that the proposed changes will have a positive impact on the feel of the [Sunniside] conservation area and would not have any negative impact on surrounding listed buildings or on a larger conservation area.
The report goes on to say, “Where possible, we have tried to retain and convert the building with a minimum number of internal modifications to the original structure.
“We have kept the main living areas on the ground floor as they are.
“Although other floors will need to be subdivided to provide the required accommodation [and] all new interior walls will be constructed from timber studs and would be reversible.
A final decision on the apartment project is expected by the end of October 2021.