Deal scores Stadium of Light match day spaces for Sunderland Aquatic Centre visitors

Cars parked up outside the Stadium of Light and Sunderland Aquatic Centre ahead of the SAFC v Aston Villa game.
Cars parked up outside the Stadium of Light and Sunderland Aquatic Centre ahead of the SAFC v Aston Villa game.

Bosses at Sunderland AFC and its neighbouring Aquatic Centre have struck an agreement over match day parking.

As reported in the Echo earlier this month, visitors to the leisure centre were told they could not park up in the Stadium of Light's car park when fixtures are being played at the ground.

It came as the football club made efforts to ensure those who have paid to use a space could get access to their allocated place.

But the move, which saw stewards turn away customers in the lead up to matches, with a midnight to midnight rule enforced, led visitors to the centre in difficulty when it came to finding a space, with a residents' permit scheme in place nearby.

Now, Everyone Active, which runs Sunderland City Council's leisure centres has said discussions with the club have led to an agreement which will see spaces made available in the car park in the morning before a game.

A spokesman for Everyone Active said on behalf of both organisations: "Everyone Active and Sunderland AFC are pleased to announce a new match day parking initiative, to the benefit of people attending either venue.

"Following concerns over the misuse of spaces in the Stadium of Light car parks on match days, both parties have worked together to ensure centre users are able to park nearby.

"Going forward, SAFC has made 60 spaces available for Everyone Active members and customers to utilise in the blue car park area, situated to the left of the Davy Lamp roundabout at the entrance to the stadium park site.

"In addition, blue badge holders will be allowed access to the disabled parking spaces within the club’s green car park, next to the SAFC Ticket Office.

"Members will be required to show their Everyone Active card to SAFC parking stewards in order to access either the disabled bays or bays in the blue car park.

"On match days, Everyone Active members will be required to vacate these spaces three hours before the start of a match.

"This is to allow the club to retain specific areas for emergency access and to comply with safety certificate requirements, as well as allowing the club to prepare the stadium for the match and associated events.

"Sunderland AFC and Everyone Active are keen to support the local community and all partners within the stadium park site and we hope that the new arrangements meet the needs of all concerned.

"Everyone Active members are advised to speak to the Aquatic Centre management team if they have any further queries."