Road closures and parking restrictions have been introduced around the Stadium of Light on matchdays. 

Sunderland City Council, Sunderland AFC and the police have agreed to the restrictions in order to improve pedestrian safety in the Sheepfolds area. 

Motorists who used to park on the Sheepfolds Industrial Estate should now seek alternative parking arrangements. The police will stop any vehicles that try to force their way through crowds of supporters in Hay Street or Millennium Way after matches. 

People can park in St Mary’s Way Car Park, Sunniside Car Park or Livingstone Road Car Park. 

The traffic restrictions came into operation for the first time for this weekend’s home game against Bristol City. 

Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for city services, Michael Mordey, said, “The council and its partners at the police and club have agreed to these closures in Sheepfolds to help provide a safer experience for supporters on matchdays.”

“During all home games, high volumes of supporters exit the Stadium of Light into the Sheepfolds Industrial Estate. To help create this safer environment between pedestrians and motorists, roads will be closed from the final whistle until approximately 30 minutes afterwards.”

“The priority is public safety and ensuring that everyone gets into and out of the stadium as easily as possible.” 

Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police’s Southern Area Command, said, “Public safety is our utmost priority.”  

“We want to make sure spectators coming to the Stadium of Light can do so safely and have been working with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland AFC to address concerns about vehicles trying to drive through large crowds of pedestrians.”  

“The road closures will make it safer for both motorists and pedestrians attending on match days.”

“We recognise some people may think the road closure is in response to recent terror attacks where a vehicle has been used and while there is no specific threat to our local area or football matches, closing the road to vehicles will hopefully reassure those who may be concerned.”

Sunderland AFC’s safety officer, Paul Weir, said, “We welcome the decision by Sunderland City Council to close Sheepfolds for a short period of time as it will increase supporter safety and their enjoyment on matchday.”

“The closure will be supported by the deployment of club stewards and the police, with roads around the area only closed for a short period of time, similar to the club car parks, to allow supporters who are on foot the opportunity to clear the area.”

(Featured image courtesy of vagueonthehow, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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