Campaign to save Sunderland’s Doxford Arch receives support from Opposition leader

Sunderland Lib Dem leader Niall Hodson urges action to save “last remaining landmark” of Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage.

The leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats in Sunderland has called for the Council to do everything in its power to protect the Doxford Arch – the gateway to the former iconic shipyards on the banks of the Wear.

It faces demolition as part of a plan to build a new dual carriageway from the Northern Spire bridge into the city centre.

Sunderland Council had said it wants to keep the gates and archway as a monument in the middle of the new road but won’t commit to saving the whole building.

Earlier this week the campaign received the support from descendants of shipyard founder Sir William Doxford. His great-grandson Richard Doxford spoke out and backed local campaign group Save Doxford’s West Gateway who want to save the whole building.

Now opposition Lib Dem leader on Sunderland Council Niall Hodson has given his party’s backing to the campaign, slamming the City Council’s record of preserving historic buildings on Wearside.

Niall Hodson said: "The Doxford Arch is one of the last remaining landmarks of Sunderland’s proud shipbuilding heritage – city residents are understandably annoyed that there doesn’t seem to be a determination to save the whole building as a lasting monument to our industrial heritage.

“The Save Doxford’s West Gateway group has done amazing work to try and protect the Arch, and I hope that Sunderland Council will listen to them and to the strength of feeling amongst local people on this.

“I raised it with the Council back in 2016, and challenged plans for the dual carriageway during meetings of the Council’s Planning Committee last year. At that time we were given assurances that the Arch would be preserved in some way – sadly those assurances seem to be fading.

“The recently announced plan to save the Elephant Tea Rooms for the future is welcome but the Council must do much more if it is to regain people’s trust and rebuild their reputation when it comes to our historic buildings – including by doing the decent thing and committing to doing everything possible to saving the whole Doxford Arch.”