Fresh row over massive new Doxford Park car park plans in Sunderland after Facebook clash
Plans for a massive car park at one of Sunderland’s biggest employment sites has sparked a war of words between supporters and opponents.
Since the announcement, the proposals for Doxford International Business Park have been criticised by Conservative city councillor Dominic McDonough, who has branded the scheme ‘environmental vandalism’.
But one backer has accused Cllr McDonough of ‘blocking free speech’ by deleting comments on a Facebook group supporting the project.
“Parking has been a problem in the area for years and the council has been trying to do something and has now come up with this plan to build a car park,” said Gavin Brown, an architectural technician who grew up in nearby Moorside.
“There was nothing argumentative or aggressive [said on the Facebook page], it was just really good, healthy debate.
“Then, all of a sudden I was blocked and everything I posted was deleted, so I started another account and was blocked again.”
Mr Brown was referring to the Herrington Farringdon & Lakeside Village News page, which has featured posts opposing the car park on land between Silksworth Road and the B1286 City Way.
The former Farringdon Comprehensive School pupil now lives in Murton, but his mother and sister still live in Moorside, which he claims suffers from ‘obstructions and untold anxiety and hassle for the residents’ due to workers parking in residential streets.
After submitting a formal complaint about Cllr McDonough to Sunderland City Council he is calling on him to apologise for removing the posts and reinstate them on the page.
Responding, Cllr McDonough said: “[Gavin] said I should be supporting it, but I took the view I’m [a St Chad’s] councillor and he should contact a councillor [for Doxford, which includes Moorside].
“We also had some complaints from residents about some Facebook comments.
“I don’t know if any comments were reported, but there wasn’t anything [I saw] particularly awful, just accusing people of being nimbys.
“I can understand he is frustrated with the parking [in Moorside], but I have to work for my residents.
“The Facebook page is run by four people and it wasn’t actually me who blocked him, but at the end of the day it’s also a private group.”