Council to vote on plans for new Sikh Temple on Ryhope Road Site

Sunderland City Council are set to vote on plans to build a new Sikh Temple building on the existing site of Ryhope Road

The new elaborately designed temple will replace the existing small wooden one, which serves as a place of worship, weddings and other ceremonies by Sunderland’s Sikh Community.

The design of the proposed building is two-storeys, with a gross floor area of 892 square metres and would be around 17 metres high. Designed with traditional Sikh architecture, it will have three domes.

Next to the existing temple is the building of the former Bishopwearmouth Christ Church, built in the 1850s, which was once part of the Church of England. It is a grade two listed building.

Following the closure of the church, the building was purchased by the Sikh Community who have transformed it into a visitor’s centre adjacent to their temple.

The new plans will involve demolishing the existing wooden structure for the new building, while expanding parking space.

A council committee report states: “It is considered that the public benefits set out by the applicant would provide genuine benefits to both the Sikh community, as well as benefits to the wider community.

“Given that the harm to the Grade-II listed Christ Church and the Ashbrooke Conservation Area would be minimal (as advised by the council’s conservation team), it is considered that in the planning balance, the public benefits of the proposed development would be sufficient to outweigh the ‘minimal’ degree of ‘less than substantial harm’.

“The proposal would also cause no other unacceptable impacts in relation to visual amenity.

“It is recommended that conditions be attached to any planning permission, as suggested by the council’s conservation officer, to ensure that the exact materials of the proposed Gurdwara and the landscaping scheme are acceptable at this sensitive location”.

Although some local residents objected to the proposals citing fears of increased traffic and noise, it is widely perceived that the plans will be of significant benefit to the city and local community, and it is understood that there will be no council objection to it.