Cherry Knowle Hospital was built by Sunderland County Borough in 1895 as a place where ‘pauper lunatics could find solace and safety’, and hence the selection of a site on sloping land above Ryhope with spectacular views across the North Sea. In 1941 the Ryhope General Hospital was constructed adjacent to it to treat soldiers who were injured at Dunkirk.
Following the relocation of these hospital facilities in recent years, the site is proposed for housing development. Penn Associates undertook extensive ecology surveys of the 50ha site in 2014, on behalf of Barratt David Wilson Homes, to inform the site masterplan and for EIA purposes. Bat emergence and activity surveys of the remaining hospital buildings were required along with an extended phase 1 habitat survey, breeding and wintering bird surveys.
Given the location of the site within proximity of the Northumbria and Durham Coast protected wildlife sites (Natura 2000), we were also required to undertake a Habitat Regulation Assessment of the proposals and contribute to the design of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace.