Forecourt eyesore

The owner of an ‘eyesore’ former forecourt site in Sunderland has been served with enforcement action, issued with a fine – and warned they face further sanctions if improvements are not made to the site soon.

According to the Sunderland Echo, Sunderland City Council took enforcement action over the former Southmoor Service Station in Westholme Terrace, which has stood vacant for approximately 20 years.

Over those 20 years numerous planning applications have been submitted for the site with the most recent one being in 2020, when Newcastle Car Wash Limited was given approval for a development of eight townhouses.

Today, the site remains fenced-off and undeveloped, with the forecourt canopy still in place.

According to the Sunderland Echo, the City Council issued a formal ‘improvement notice’ in 2022, which required the structures to be renovated to a set specification or dismantled to ground level.

As neither happened, the council prosecuted the site owner in October 2022, which resulted in a guilty plea and a fine of £1,310 including costs and a victim surcharge.

The notice, issued under national planning legislation, requires the land to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the area. While some work has apparently been carried out at the site, councillors confirmed that they are continuing to press the owner to comply with the notice. The owner could be fined further if the legal notice is not complied with.