COUNTRY park guardians are calling for backing to preserve one of the site’s car parks.

The Stephenson Lake car park and entrance to Hetton Lyons Country Park, off Colliery Lane, in Hetton-le-Hole, is one of three options Sunderland City Council is considering for use as a potential travellers’ transit site, comprising five plots for up to ten caravans for short-stay “stop-over” usage.

Members of the Friends of Hetton Lyons Country Park group is staging a series of consultation meetings with representatives of the council’s planning department.

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It has also mounted a petition seeking support of other park users and the local community against the closure.

The 120-acre park, on the outskirts of the former mining town, was developed on the restored site of the old Hetton Lyons Colliery.

It includes water sports and angling lakes, a wildlife pond, cycle track, football pitches, toilets and the car park.

One consultation session has already taken place, with further meetings at the Hetton Centre, alongside Barnard Park, on Monday September 18, from 2 to 4pm, and on Friday September 22, between 10am and 12-noon.

Further information about the transit camp proposals can be found on the city council’s website, in the gypsy and traveller section.

The friends’ website and facebook pages carry details of the petition which can be downloaded, while forms are also available at NETS, at Park Gate, Hetton Lyons Industrial Estate, during office hours, as well as adjacent to the lake car park, or from the Market Street Chippy, in Hetton-le-Hole, during opening hours.