Sunderland one of the UK’s top motor cities

TRAFFIC ....Wearmouth Bridge Sunderland.

TRAFFIC ....Wearmouth Bridge Sunderland.

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SUNDERLAND is the UK’s fifth most car-friendly place to drive, according to new research.

The city scored well on a number of criteria, including petrol costs, parking charges and vehicle crime, in a survey carried out by Virgin Money Car Insurance.

Vox pop re driving in Sunderland. Tracey Steel

Vox pop re driving in Sunderland. Tracey Steel

A total of 65 of the UK’s largest towns and cities were assessed, with the number of car parks and speed cameras also taken into consideration.

Paul Jasper, of the Ultimate Driving Company, in Castletown, said: “We should be very proud that Sunderland has been named in the top five car-friendly towns.

“Finishing in the top five will hopefully encourage other road users to visit the city, which may help fund further improvements.”

Other road users agreed that being so highly rated was a boost for the city, and well deserved.

Tony Scott, 60, of Fulwell, said: “As far as vehicle crime is concerned, there is very little evidence of car crime where I live, although getting round the city centre can often be a problem.”

Tracey (pictured inset) and Candy Steel, of Farringdon, said: “There are plenty places to park. The findings of this survey could attract more road users to the city.”

However, Stephen McGeorge was surprised Sunderland had been named the country’s fifth best area to drive.

“I think there are too many one-way streets and too many bus lanes,” said the 42-year-old, from Ashbrooke.

“There is limited parking in and around Sunderland, and it’s horrendous getting out of the city centre.”

St Helens, Merseyside, was named the most car-friendly town in the survey, followed by West Bromwich, Telford, Sutton Coldfield and them Sunderland.

The most unpopular was the Berkshire town of Reading, followed by Oxford, Cardiff, Slough, and Nottingham.

Grant Bather, of Virgin Money, said: “The cost of petrol has risen by almost 20 per cent over the past year due to VAT and fuel duty increases, and combined with the constant issue of parking problems, speeding tickets and vehicle crime, the UK’s 24million drivers can be forgiven for feeling as though they need to steer clear of urban areas.

“However, not all towns and cities are the same and many local authorities do their best to ensure drivers aren’t treated like second-class citizens.

“Clearly cars shouldn’t rule the road, but motorists’ views certainly need to be taken into consideration, and St Helens has successfully done this.”