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Sikh community backs Sunderland fire station campaign

Members of Sunderland's Sikh community who are getting behind the fight to save Sunderland Central Fire Station.

Members of Sunderland's Sikh community who are getting behind the fight to save Sunderland Central Fire Station.

MEMBERS of Sunderland’s Sikh community have thrown their support behind the Echo’s campaign to save Sunderland Central Fire Station.

About 200 people gathered at the Gurdwara at the Cloisters on Sunday, to condemn proposals that would see the Railway Row station shut.

Worshippers at the temple, who have signed the Hold Fire – Save Our Station petition, are among more than 6,000 to demand it remains open in the face of multimillion pound cuts.

Businessman Manjit Cheema, of Millifield, said: “We think the fire station is vital for everybody, it’s a security, and it is needed in the city centre.

“It’s important to everybody, ethnic minorities, black or white. We just can’t take money out of the fire service.

“They are making light of the issue. We can’t play with fire. We need to get together and put the pressure on.

I’m saying this not just as a resident, but as a businessman.”

Tyne and Wear Fire Authority announced in January that they planned to close the Sunderland Central station due to multimillion pound cuts imposed by the government.

But they have said the closure of station – which is Tyne and Wear’s busiest – will only go ahead once all other options have been exhausted.

And campaigners, including Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, are still hopeful that they can make Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority reconsider the decision.

Were it to be axed, fire and rescue services covering the city centre will move to Farringdon and Fulwell, and a new station which will be built at Marley Park.

The Fire Brigades’ Union’s North East secretary Dave Turner said: “The FBU welcomes and appreciates the support from the community and we hope the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority makes the right decision at their meeting today, and that they keep all three stations under threat open.”

•Sign the petition here

 

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