New 'hero without a cape' headed for Sunderland city centre as extra street ranger due to be appointed

Sunderland city centre could soon benefit from a second street ranger under new plans from business bosses.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 12:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 4:10 pm
Sunderland city centre is to get a new street ranger

Sunderland’s Business Improvement District (BID) launched the ‘SR1 Street Rangers’ scheme in a bid to support city centre firms.

Sunderland’s sole street ranger, Lee Taylor, is a familiar face around the city as the main contact for businesses needing urgent action.

This includes street cleansing, graffiti removal and working with the council and agents to keep the streets clean and safe.

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This week, it was revealed the scheme will be expanded with a second street ranger hitting the beat in coming months.

Head of business operations at the BID, Sharon Appleby, said: “We’re in the process of recruiting our second street ranger at the moment.

“I think we have more than 35 applications which we’re short listing with the council in a couple of weeks time.

“So I’m hoping we get another what we call Lee, ‘a hero without a cape’.

“People are responding brilliantly [to him], it’s a lot of communication with the businesses that we’re not necessarily having on a day to day basis.

“I’m hoping we will get a really good quality new recruit.”

The BID boss was speaking at Sunderland City Council’s Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee on October 8.

Sunderland BID recently won support for another five-year term in a vote with more than half of city businesses taking part and more than 70% of votes cast supporting the BID.

The expansion of the street ranger scheme is part of the BID’s vision to strengthen pride in Sunderland and shift perceptions.

Street rangers will also work in conjunction with the council on environmental schemes such as the ‘deep clean’.

Sunderland’s first street ranger began work in 2018 with a wide-ranging role being the eyes and ears on the street and the go-to person for businesses needing urgent action.

The BID team pledged to appoint more if businesses voted to back continuing the project. The ballot in 2018 saw them voting in favour of renewing the BID project for the next five years.

The scheme sees businesses paying a 1.5% levy on their business rates, which is used to fund improvements.