WEARSIDERS are sending a message loud and clear to fire brigade bosses: “Hands off our station”.
The Echo’s Hold Fire campaign took to the streets of the city centre at the weekend as hundreds of shoppers and visitors put their name to our petition demanding Sunderland Central Fire Station remains open.
Tyne and Wear Fire Authority is facing multimillion-pound funding cuts. Brigade bosses say they have no choice but to close the station.
Our campaign is asking for the decision to be reversed so the thousands of residents and employees currently living and working in the city centre can feel safe.
On Saturday, Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, took the petition out on the streets. She said: “The feedback we’ve had from people has been amazing.
“They have been coming up and saying how pleased they are that we are fighting for a cause which really means something.
“Even people from outside the area have been backing us. We’ve been sending the petition out all over the place, asking for whole streets to sign up.”
Despite being the busiest on Wearside, the station is currently earmarked for closure as part of an £8.8million programme of cuts during the next three years.
Bosses at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service say the Railway Row station has seen a year-on-year decline in the number of calls it has attended.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service believes it can continue to adequately cover the city centre from Fulwell, Farringdon and Washington stations.
John Martin, 41, of Millfield, is not so convinced.
He said: “I don’t want to be having to wait for a fire engine from Fulwell to rescue my family. It’s a bad state of affairs when they start closing fire stations.”
Wife Sara, 38, agreed, saying: “It’s playing with people’s lives.”