Call for Hastings Hill subway to be bricked up after arson attack
By Stephen O'Brien
An eyesore subway under one of the main dual carriageways into Sunderland has been vandalised and set on fire just week after upgrade works, sparking fury from the local community who want it replaced with a pedestrian crossing.
The Hastings Hill subway under Chester Road is the only way to get from Grindon and Hastings Hill estates to the new ALDI supermarket on the former Dewhirst site at Pennywell, or to catch a bus into town.
Despite an upgrade in the summer comprising of new lighting, paint and repairs to steps and handrails the underpass has been subject to continuous vandalism, culminating in a huge arson attack this which has left the subway difficult to get through.
The fire has sparked fury from residents, whilst the local Lib Dem Focus Team for the area is demanding an above-ground pedestrian crossing to replace the subway.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat councillor for Grindon and Hastings Hill Stephen O'Brien said:
"For years this subway has been notorious and subject to vandalism, anti-social behaviour, urination and fires which means many residents don't feel comfortable using it.
"This week's huge fire has been the straw that broke the camel's back for dozens of locals who have to use the subway to get to the shops or to catch the bus into the city centre.
"Other underpasses in the area have been bricked up and replaced with above-ground pedestrian crossings. It is about time we had a proper crossing so older and vulnerable people in Hastings Hill and Grindon aren't forced into a dangerous burnt-out underpass."