Lib Dems call on council to preserve historic gateway

The leader of Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats has urged the council to save an iconic reminder of the city’s shipbuilding heritage.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13 July, 2019, 06:00
Sunderland's Lib Dem leader Niall Hodson wants to save the derelict Doxford gatehouse in Pallion.

Niall Hodson wants to preserve the 116 year-old Doxford shipyard gateway, which faces demolition as part of plans for a dual carriageway between the Northern Spire and city centre.

Sunderland Council says the gates and archways will be relocated nearby, but the rest of the building is beyond saving due to its dilapidated state.

Glory days. Campaigners say the gatehouse could be restored to look as it did here in 1921.

The Echo recently spoke to Richard Doxford, great-grandson of shipyard founder Sir William Doxford. He supports campaign group Save Doxford’s West Gateway, who want to save the whole gateway.

Coun Hodson also backs the campaign and criticised the council’s record on historic buildings.

He said: "The Doxford arch is one of the last remaining landmarks of Sunderland’s proud shipbuilding heritage. City residents are understandably annoyed that there doesn’t seem to be a determination to save the whole building as a lasting monument to our industrial heritage.“The Save Doxford’s West Gateway group has done amazing work to try and protect the arch, and I hope that Sunderland Council will listen to them and to the strength of feeling amongst local people on this.

“I raised it with the council back in 2016, and challenged plans for the dual carriageway during meetings of the council’s planning committee last year. At that time we were given assurances that the Arch would be preserved in some way. Sadly those assurances seem to be fading.

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“The recently announced plan to save the Elephant Tea Rooms for the future is welcome but the council must do much more if it is to regain people’s trust and rebuild their reputation when it comes to our historic buildings.”

But deputy council leader Michael Mordey has hit back angrily.

He said: “Coun Hodson might want to check his facts.

“There is no need to start a campaign to save the arches - the council has already committed to saving them.

“They will be taken down brick by brick, stored and then reconstructed on the route of the new road as a public art/memorial.

“This decision was taken a number of years ago and the council remains fully committed to it.”