Sunderland boxer Tony Jeffries enters West Park row

Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries with his bronze medal
Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries with his bronze medal

Boxing star Tony Jeffries has weighed into the row over Sunderland’s West Park.

The Herrington site one of 15 identified by Sunderland City Council as a possible location for future housing development.

West Park is a gorgeous spot that I will always have great memories of.

Tony Jeffries

The authority says 13,824 more homes are needed across the city by 2033, but civic leaders have emphasised the proposals are currently at the consultation stage and nothing is definite.

Now ‘Jaffa’ has added his voice to the campaign to save the park.

Tony, who now owns a successful boxing-fitness business in California, said: “I was shocked to learn that there are plans to possibly build on West Park as I used to live in Herrington, and spent a lot of time in that park.

“I used to go there with my mates every autumn to collect conkers when we were kids, and I would do runs in the park when I was training for fights, including periods prior to the Olympics in 2008 where I won a bronze medal.

“I will never forget where I come from and West Park is a gorgeous spot that I will always have great memories of. I am firmly behind the campaign for it to remain as a popular public space enjoyed by so many people.”

Iain Fairlamb, head of planning and regeneration at Sunderland City Council, said: “At this stage the consultation is just that, none of the proposals are set in stone and we very much want to hear the views of local people.

“The plans have been developed in response to the need for homes to house the city’s growing population. West Park “We need a minimum of 13,800 new homes by 2033 to meet our housing needs in accordance with Government methodology. “Following extensive research to identify where future homes could be built, we have been unable to identify enough land in existing communities to meet the need. “So we have had to consider a small number of sites which have not previously been developed which are currently in the green belt.”

A public meeting to discuss the plans will be held at Farringdon Academy this evening between 6pm and 8pm.