Sunderland’s leaders ready for a grilling at Question Time-style event

The State of the City debate 2011
The State of the City debate 2011
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Have your say

WEARSIDERS will once again be able to question city leaders about Sunderland’s future.

For the 11th year in succession, council chiefs will take questions from residents as part of the State of the City event next month.

Council Leader Paul Watson speaking at the State of the City debate at City Space, Sunderland University, on Wednesday night.

Council Leader Paul Watson speaking at the State of the City debate at City Space, Sunderland University, on Wednesday night.

Held at Sunderland University’s CitySpace facility, in Chester Road, this year’s panel will include council leader Paul Watson; the authority’s chief executive Dave Smith; Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group; and Ken Bremner, chairman of the Sunderland Partnership.

Chief superintendent Kay Blyth, from Northumbria Police, is also set to take part.

The event has proved hugely popular in recent years, provoking heated debate on issues such as the Vaux site, the state of the city centre, Houghton Landfill and Sunderland seafront.

Topics such as tourism, encouraging healthier lifestyles and reducing antisocial behaviour are also expected to be discussed.

Councillor Watson said: “This is a hugely important event in our city, because it provides a forum for public discussion and debate on key issues.

“It gives us the chance to tell people how we are working together to address those issues, and to listen to people’s views and suggestions and how they would like to see things changed or improved.”

He added: “This year the city-wide event follows on from the first Your city – Your say community events, held in each of the five areas of the city.

“At each of these events, residents had the opportunity to ask specific questions about things happening in their area.”

The council is also giving everyone the opportunity to submit questions in advance of the event, which takes place on Wednesday, September 12.

The top 10 most popular questions will then be put online so people can vote for the three they want the panel to answer on the night.

Mr Bremner said: “The State of the City event gives people in Sunderland another important chance to have their say.

“We all have to work together to make things even better in our city, and honest and open discussion is a vital part of that partnership approach.”

To register for the free event call 520 4848 or email yourcity-yoursay@sunderland.gov.uk.

Alternatively, go to www.yourcity-yoursay.com for more information.

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