Late last month the independent watchdog's design review panel said the Howarth Litchfield Partnership's Riverside Park masterplan 'would feel more like a business park than a residential community'.
The architect's plans include 1,500 homes, business accommodation, a school and a local community centre on former industrial land next to the River Wear.
A report by the design review panel went on to say that: 'The illustrative masterplan does not seem to be derived from an understanding of how communities work.
'We are concerned that the current arrangement will encourage car use; residents of the first phase will have to wait until the second phase is completed before they can buy a pint of milk without leaving the site.'
However CABE did praise the architect for considering a layout more appropriate to the site context than a standard gridded layout. It also supported the concept of buildings set in landscape.
It also suggested in the report that the landscape infrastructure should be turned through 90 degrees so that it ran perpendicular to the river.