Campaigners are continuing to fight to save a piece of Sunderland's industrial heritage from demolition.

The former west gateway to Doxford's shipyard - the Doxford Arch - is due to be knocked down to make way for a new dual carriageway linking the city centre and North Spire Bridge.

Work to the southern end of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which will link the A19 and Port of Sunderland, is now under way.

Sunderland City Council plans on keeping the gates as a monument at the side of the road, but campaigners say the whole building should be retained as a symbol of the city's shipbuilding heritage.

Liberal Democrat leader Niall Hodson and Coun Martin Haswell have been campaigning to save the arch in Pallion.

Coun Hodson said: "Local residents and longstanding campaigners in the 'Save Doxford's West Gateway' group have done a fantastic job to try and protect the whole of the Doxford Arch as a monument to our city's shipbuilding heritage.

"After being contacted by residents, local Lib Dems have issued one final plea in Parliament for the Government to step in and save the Doxford Arch in its entirety as a Wearside landmark."

Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, Lord John Shipley, asked what consideration had been given by Parliament to prevent the demolition.

But he was told the site does not meet the national criteria for statutory protection, meaning the gate cannot be preserved.

 

Coun Hodson added: "Sadly, both Sunderland City Council and now the Government are refusing to do anything more than putting the gates at the side of the new dual carriageway between the Northern Spire bridge and the town.

"Whilst this is obviously better than nothing, it is a crying shame that no-one in power seems willing to save the whole Doxford Arch.

"I'll continue to urge the council and Government to re-think this and issue a last-minute reprieve for this last remaining monument to Sunderland's industrial heritage."

 

Coun Michael Mordey, deputy leader of the council, said there was no need for a campaign to save the arches as the council had committed to saving them in 2017.

He said: "They are being taken down brick by brick, stored and then will be reconstructed on the route of the new SSTC road as a memorial to Sunderland’s proud shipbuilding heritage.

"Councillor Hodson knows this - because he was a member of the Planning and Highways Committee - that voted unanimously in October 2017 to relocate the arches as part of the next phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor.

"I for one don’t recall Councillor Hodson raising any issues then, so why now?"

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Coun Mordey said Coun Hodson voted to relocate the arches, adding: "Now all of sudden he takes an interest in it - it’s pathetic and a complete waste of taxpayers' money."

But Coun Hodson said: "I first raised concerns about the need to save the Doxford Arch during my very first council meeting after being elected in 2016 and have queried the matter with council staff in planning and heritage."