Letters, Friday, December 2nd, 2011

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Have your say

The way to get results for town

I’M sure most of the councillors on Hetton Town Council are genuinely passionate about, and do care for, Hetton. However, passion and care do not get results. Nor does wringing of hands and words like “we’ve been complaining to Sunderland City Council for years”. Results require research, determination and action.

Ralph Foster, John Defty, Linda Welsh, I and our supporters within the community also care for, and are genuinely passionate about, Hetton. However, we’ve done something about it. Within the last five months we have achieved more than Hetton Town and City ward councillors have achieved in nearly eight years by curtailing the activities and proposed expansion of Alltrac which have been affecting our town, roads and country park.

We’ve done this through sheer determination and actions which include petitioning, leafleting, lobbying and meeting with the Environment Agency and Sunderland City Council and reporting incidents to the relevant authorities.

Alltrac’s skip wagons are now covered, the stockpiling at Unit 6 has reduced, drainage is being installed and the roads now get swept more frequently. The retrospective planning application at Unit 19c is being examined microscopically. There is still much more to do to protect our town and country park but at least we’ve done more than the councillors have done and we will continue to campaign.

It will be interesting to see if the councillors claim credit for any of this in the next edition of the Hetton Town Courier, just like they claimed credit for saving Hetton Baths and providing a proper path alongside the park, when in fact it was the mothers in the local community who petitioned to retain the baths and the electricity company who had to put a new cable in anyway and provided the path!

It will also be interesting to see if the councillors come clean and let the people of Hetton know about the studies and meetings that have been taking place since 2007 about installing monster wind turbines (6.25 x bigger than the Angel of the North) in our lovely country park, now that these meetings and studies have been uncovered by the very same people and supporters that have been fighting for the community against Alltrac.

Kay Rowham

Better use of land

AS much as I admire Sunderland Council’s attempts to buck the trend by turning a large portion of its social housing into Greenbelt land (Pennywell, adjacent to A183), every time I drive past it on my way to or from work, I just can’t help thinking it could be put to better use. 

Whether the (iconic) bridge and related changes to the roads get funding or not, the land adjacent to the A183 would require relatively little disruption to existing infrastructure to make it an ideal location for a small hi-tech business park/retail park/hypermarket. 

If the money isn’t there to build the affordable housing that was planned for, then why not let Tesco or somebody build the site out and generate several hundred jobs as well as income to the local economy? 

Given the success of Asda’s supermarket at Boldon, I would imagine Tesco could see the potential value in a site so well located for a city of 280,000 people and access to countless more a few miles each way on the A19.

Chris Johnson

Reasons for riots

THE shameful opportunism of senior Labour politicians at the time of the August riots has now been fully exposed.

In trying to blame Government policy, Ken Livingston said “Tottenham had a nine per cent cut nearly in its Government grant”. Harriet Harman pointed to the tuition fees, the education maintenance allowance and the closure of job centres. The Labour MP for Derby North said the Government’s austerity drive was to blame.

We even had one local scribe try to foolishly draw a parallel between the rioters and a few upper-class twits in the Bullingdon Club. I’m sorry, but I have never heard of members of this club killing anyone, forcing a woman to leap from a burning building, burn long-established businesses to the ground or take part in wanton looting.

The inquiry into the riots exposed all of this as the complete rubbish it was when it concluded the shameful scenes were not motivated by “politics”. Instead the rioters’ main objectives were getting their hands on “luxury branded goods” which “confer instant status”. One panel member stated: “These were not riots that were political, these were particularly characterised by opportunistic looting”.

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Special thanks

I WOULD like to thank the ladies and gents who came to my aid when I fell outside the Halifax Building Society on Tuesday morning on November 29. I am very grateful.

Tom Appleby, Ford Estate, Sunderland

Right to speak

J. YOUNG’S attack on the Archbishop (Letters, November 23) reminds me that whenever church leaders speak out on social or political issues, people of a right-wing persuasion always tell them to keep their opinions to themselves.

If archbishops are critical of Government policies, do they not have the same right as the rest of us to free speech? Those who think the Church of England is the Tory Party at prayer should remember that Jesus was a revolutionary.

It takes some bottle in the present climate to defend bankers and financiers. If communism faced its terminal crisis in the late 1980s, capitalism is facing its great crisis now.

Incidentally it wasn’t because of communism that Yugoslavia fell apart. It was communism which held this ramshackle union of different ethnic groups together from 1945 until Tito’s death. It was petty nationalism and old ethnic hatreds which led to the terrible civil war.

H. Whipple, Coach Road Estate, Washington

Fight policies

IN his statement the Chancellor said that public workers will have to pay three per cent more into their pension scheme, work longer, and receive less from it.

He also said when their pay freeze ends they will only receive pay rises of one per cent, and that he was also looking at ways of cutting their wages.

This is state bullying and blackmail on a massive scale.We cannot allow these low-paid workers, nurses, refuse collectors, teachers and many other workers to be made the scapegoats for what the bankers did.

I hope you get behind them and back them to receive fair play from what is becomeing a most obnoxious coalition government. The Lib Dems should be ashamed of the part they are playing in this.

Remember, the Tories only want to privatise the best parts of our NHS and try to get rich pickings out of the rest of our public services for their rich friends in the City of London.

We must all fight to stop this as we will all bear the brunt of these policies.

Alan Brown, Washington

Acts of remembrance

ON Friday, November 11, about 12 members of the RAOB attended the Cenotaph on The Green, Southwick, for the two minutes’ silence. Bro Smithson laid the Pride of the Wear lodge wreath after Bro King gave the Exhortation.

At our lodge meeting in the evening the WP and members thanked all members who attended and especially Bro King for once again placing wooden poppy crosses on service and RAOB graves at Marley Pots cemetery. This brother some 18 years ago came to our lodge with the idea that each year someone should clean up the service personnel graves and place a poppy cross for Remembrance Sunday.

Our lodge has made a donation and purchased poppy crosses for these graves at Southwick Cemetery and one of our lodge’s unsung heroes, Brother Tot King, has carried out this duty faithfully now every year since.

On Saturday, November 12, a bus was hired and a 625-mile round trip was made to Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire for Remembrance weekend. The six lodge members who attended were: G. Richardson, R. Goldsmith, L. Prescott, D. Henderson, R. Jobling and T. King.

Apart from our usual mishap of getting there no bother, but then not being able to find the hotel and nobody in the Conservative club knowing any of the Royal British Legion arrangements, a great weekend was had by all.

Some confusion arose because there were two remembrance services, one at the cenotaph in the next village to Bassett, called Hook, and at the same time a service at the field of remembrance in Swindon. We chose the latter and the visit to Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance in Lydiard Park on the Sunday morning followed by an outdoor church service proved to be something very special. (Bro Les placed a wooden cross on behalf of the lodge.)

The Parade at 2pm marched through Wootton Bassett High Street to the war memorial where the parade halted for the Exhortation, Last Post, Two Gun Salute, Reveille, Kohema, followed by the laying of wreaths before proceeding on to the church for a service. (Bro Tot laid a wreath on behalf of the Lodge).

This Sunday morning and afternoon and whole weekend proved to be something exceptional and one which filled you with pride to mark this very special anniversary of remembrance in 2011 (11/11/11).

Dave Henderson, Secretary

New-bridge claims

I READ with interest your story “New Sunderland bridge could help create 6000 jobs”.

Conservative councillor Robert Oliver is clearly talking nonsense.

Sunderland conservatives have neglected the city for years. They have consistently failed to take the lead on the old Vaux site and they are desperately lacking in policy.

Jumping on the bandwagon, stating that the bridge construction would create 6,000 jobs is utter rubbish, and shows the sheer desperation of Coun Oliver’s Tory group.

Artificially creating jobs in areas such as construction is never wise economics. It is short-term and unsustainable.

Perhaps Coun Oliver should focus his efforts on lobbying his Tory government to give us their promised referendum on our £50million per day payments to the EU.

Making such savings could channel a huge revenue stream into deprived areas like Sunderland.

Coun David Potts (UKIP), South Tyneside Council

Sign our petition

THE Government is planning the biggest shake-up of the benefits system in 60 years through its Welfare Reform Bill.

While we agree the system is complex and needs to be simplified, we are concerned that proposed benefits changes in the Bill could mean that thousands of people with cancer are left without vital financial support.

The Bill is now in its final stages in Parliament, so time is running out to make sure that people with cancer do not lose out on crucial benefits.

We are calling on your readers to help us campaign by signing our petition at www.macmillan.org.uk/welfare. The more support we get, the stronger our message to politicians will be.

For questions about cancer, or to find out more about the benefits people living with cancer are entitled to, call Macmillan free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday-Friday, 9am-8am)

Thank you for your support.

Stephen Richards, Director for England, Macmillan Cancer Support