Penshaw Monument 'pizza cafe' plans withdrawn after public opposition and National Trust objection

Penshaw Monument in Sunderland
-Credit: (Image: Copyright Unknown)


Plans for a "pizza cafe" near Sunderland's Penshaw Monument have been withdrawn following public opposition and an objection from the National Trust. Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council's planning department received an application for land near the Penshaw Hill House and Cottage complex.

The proposed development site sits adjacent to the two dwellings at the foot of Penshaw Hill, off the A183 Chester Road, and within the Green Belt. New plans aimed to erect a detached building providing a "pizza food and beverage offer for visitors to Penshaw Monument", complete with an "eating/servery area" and a "display area for National Trust publications and information".

The development was described in the planning listing as a "pizza cafe" and offered an indoor seating area, external terrace, toilets and on-site parking. Those behind the scheme said the building had been designed to be "low profile and unobtrusive" and would incorporate a "low pitch sedum [green roof] effectively camouflaging the building when viewed from the monument above".

It was also argued that the proposal would "neither increase nor decrease the number of visitors to the monument" and had been designed to reduce visual impacts to the Green Belt.

During a council consultation exercise on the plans however, there were 16 public objections raising concerns about the development.

Concerns ranged from heritage impacts on Penshaw Monument, increased litter and congestion issues, to the suitability of a 'pizza venue' in the area, parking pressures, and wildlife impacts.

One objector described the proposal as "detrimental, inappropriate and short-sighted", while another objector said the plans would "add to the overdevelopment of the area".

A total of four comments of support were also submitted to the council with one supporter welcoming the "alternative to a traditional café offering" which would be "particularly popular with young families as well as adults".

However, the plans faced further objections during the consultation process including from the National Trust, which owns Penshaw Monument.

The National Trust, in a consultation statement, argued the plans would have a "detrimental impact" on the Grade I-listed site along with "landscape and visual, ecological and parking and traffic concerns".

Concerns were raised about the plans impacting the "openness" of the Green Belt, as well as impacts on key views and ecology, along with claims the plans could "compromise the free flow of traffic and exacerbate traffic congestion and create an unacceptable adverse impact on the local road network".

Objections were also raised by council departments around planning policy, ecology and highways, as well as concerns from conservation and environmental health officers.

Council planning documents note the applicant was 'served notice' that the pizza café application would be recommended for refusal by Sunderland City Council.

Information on the council's planning portal website states the planning application was officially withdrawn by the applicant on Monday, June 3.

A council decision report said: "Pursuant to objection respectively raised by the local highways authority; the planning policy team; the ecology team; and the National Trust, and, holding objection raised by the conservation team and environmental health section, the applicant has, following the serving of notice that the application would be recommended for refusal, elected to withdraw the application".

Those behind the scheme previously argued the plans would "provide significant employment opportunities [and] a high-quality service to the local area". According to planning documents from applicant Green Property Developments Ltd, the development would have created around 20 jobs, with 12 full-time roles and eight part-time positions.

The withdrawal decision means that any similar development on the site would require a fresh planning application to local authority planning chiefs. For more information on the planning application and consultation responses, visit Sunderland City Council's planning portal website and search reference: 24/00224/FUL