JULIE ELLIOTT: Call a halt to LNER’s ‘misguided’ plans to stop serving the city
The news that Sunderland is finally receiving an upgrade to the train station is extremely welcome.
It is an issue that I have campaigned on for years – from issues with sewage in the station, to constant leaks, and the building falling into disrepair, it is often a truly shameful sight.
Since I started the campaign to redevelop the station, I have spoken to so many residents of the City who are concerned by its current state.
As the entrance to our city, it is often the first impression that visitors get when they arrive. It is hardly welcoming, and the city undoubtedly deserves better.
Therefore the plans, released by Network Rail and Nexus, are huge step in the right direction, and I am really looking forward to seeing the site develop.
It is also a great time to be redeveloping the station – and a great time to be living in the city.
As we celebrate the 114th Anniversary of the Empire Theatre, we also look forward to the excellent development at the Auditorium that is nearing completion.
It is a stunning addition to the city, and as we start seeing nightlife return to the city through concerts, shows and nightclubs, this is absolutely something to be excited about.
Additionally, the announcement by Sunderland City Council that they are to invest in a new Microgrid in tandem with Nissan and Envision’s announcements of further investment in Electric Vehicle and Battery production at its Sunderland plant, the high quality manufacturing jobs that Sunderland is famous for around the world, are assured for the future.
Sunderland will be at the forefront of green energy technology in the UK, and these developments will hopefully drive the city forward.
This makes the news that LNER are planning to cease serving Sunderland Station on the East Coast Main Line even more puzzling, given that they are looking to provide increased services elsewhere in the region.
Sunderland is a thriving city, looking to the future. It is the largest between Leeds and Edinburgh, showing clearly how LNER’s decision to no longer provide services to Sunderland station is misguided and wrong.
I would encourage as many of you as possible to submit to LNER’s public consultation on this, to ensure that the cities’ residents voices are heard.
It is an exciting time to live in Sunderland, as the city benefits from green jobs, new city centre developments and a burgeoning cultural sector. I hope LNER get behind us in our vision for the future.