City Lib Dems take campaign to save the ‘Doxford Arch’ from complete demolition to Parliament.
The former west gateway to Doxford's shipyard - the 'Doxford Arch' - is due for demolition to make way for a new dual carriageway linking the city centre and the Northern Spire bridge.
Work on this 'Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor' road has just started at the southern end of the Northern Spire.
But whilst Sunderland City Council wants to keep the gates as a monument at the side of the road, campaigners want the whole building to be retained as a monument to the city’s shipbuilding heritage.
Following last minute pleas by local residents, Liberal Democrat councillors in the city enlisted the help of Lib Dem member of the House of Lords Lord (John) Shipley.
He raised the issue in Parliament, asking the Government “what consideration they have given to preventing the demolition of the Doxford Gate, Pallion Quay, at Sunderland and preserving it as a monument to Sunderland's ship building heritage.”
Responding for the Government Baroness (Diana) Barran stated that “Sunderland has a history as an internationally significant centre for shipbuilding. However, such was the pace of change in the shipbuilding industry that few structures survived. Doxford Gate sits in the path of a new inner ring road which will link the city centre to a new bridge across the River Wear. The site has been considered for statutory protection by listing, but it does not meet the national criteria. It is unfortunate that it appears that the Doxford Gate cannot be preserved, but I am pleased to report that I understand it is intended to re-erect the historic iron gates from the entrance nearby as a memorial to the shipyard.”
The Government had previously rejected an application by local campaign group ‘Save Doxford’s West Gateway’ to have the building listed as a heritage asset of national importance.
Commenting, Millfield councillor & Lib Dem leader in Sunderland Niall 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.
"Sadly, both Sunderland 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."