Letters, Friday, July 19, 2013

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Bridge is another costly mistake

“THE project will further demonstrate Sunderland’s bold approach to economic regeneration. It will unlock private sector investment and acres of brownfield regeneration land for employment, housing and UK-based manufacturing”.

 That was the boast by Sunderland City Council when announcing the decision to go ahead with the iconic bridge.  

 Disappointingly, the reality of such a boastful statement is the sorry cancelation of the project, not because of the economic situation or the necessary cuts in Government expenditure brought about by the last Labour Government, but stupid mishandling by the Council and its advisers.

 Even when the prestigious engineering company, Balfour Beatty, pulled out of the bidding because of the design being not only too costly, but too ambitious, the Council waved aside the problems, ignoring the expert engineering advice.

 Indeed, an independent consultant quoted in the New Civil Engineer magazine that the proposed design and construction was undeliverable as being too complex.

 However, that did not deter the blinkered Council’s reticence to admit the obvious – that the iconic bridge was a non-starter – and so it has proved to be another disastrous clanger by Sunderland City Council.

 But what about the cost? The fees of the designers and consultants must have cost millions, but no matter, this council has taken the taxpayer down this road before.

 There is the proven theory that for every decision taken by people, big business and indeed governments, a ripple affect is created.

 In the case of this authority there have been many: the Vaux Site still providing parking space after 14 years of lying fallow; the closing down of the Crowtree Leisure Centre before a replacement was provided; the Seaburn Centre still standing, but crumbling, as is the civic center.

 Then there is the so-called ‘Software City’ now used mostly by civic centre departments.

 The Sunderland Arc an expensive failure if ever there was one. The list of costly mistakes is endless.

 The real crunch is that as long as a Labour-dominated Council is kept in power, the future of Sunderland will continue to suffer by comparison with our forward-looking neighbouring authorities. Does the Council feel any embarrassment over the cancelation of the iconic bridge? Not a jot!

Coun George Howe,

Ward Councillor, Fulwell.

Plenty of free things for the kids

I FIND it annoying when people like D Weldon, of Hendon, moan about the Council not providing for children during the holidays.  

 Does he expect the Council to pay for ice cream and bus fares for a family to go out?

 There are all kinds of facilities in the city for kids to enjoy themselves for free. We have lovely parks where they can fish and play tennis, ride bikes and picnic, apart from all the museums and libraries and our beaches to explore.

 If D Weldon looked at the Down Your Way page in the Echo he would see many voluntary groups working with children.

 Unfortunately, people like D Weldon seem to be of the opinion that everything should be provided for them while others do the work. It appears to be a national disease these days.

A Roker Resident.

Many thanks for your generosity

IN May it was £3,740. Then in June, you gave an amazing £3,790 to the Grace House clown. Your generosity never fails to amaze.

 I know readers like to identify with different collections, so the breakdown of collections in June is as follows: On Saturday, June 1, the clown raised £438 on his ‘own patch’ of Asda in Seaham, followed by £223 on Wednesday, June 5, in a small Sainsbury’s on the platform of Newcastle Central Station.

 On Friday, June 7, £450 was collected at UKAR call centre at Doxford Park as a result of a ‘dress down’ day by the staff. He was there from 7am to noon.

 He is still whingeing about being dragged out of bed at 4.15am to “prepare for his audience”!

 The next day, £251 was raised at Matalan Pallion, and Park Lane Cards filled yet another collection box.

 On Friday, June 14, £182 was donated at Sainsbury’s Gilesgate and the next day the long journey to Asda Spennymoor was rewarded with a collection of £431.

 The collections on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, at Sainsbury’s Washington raised an awesome £818.

 These were the final two collections of their 12-month adoption of Grace House as their chosen charity. In that time, the clown was privileged to raise £5,938 on Sainsbury’s behalf. Pure magic.

 The final two collections of June were Friday, 28, and Saturday, 29, at Tesco Rennys Lane, Durham where another fantastic £988 was donated.

 After only six months of 2013 you have already given an amazing £19,573 and I estimate the total for the year will be about £35,000.

 That will mean his total, at the end of the year, will be about £80,000.  

 You are truly marvelous. I have set the clown a target of £100,000 before his health deteriorates too much.

 He does not know it yet but I am trying to arrange a sponsored abseil down a very tall building for his 70th birthday next April.

 The sponsor money from that will hopefully coincide with passing the £100k mark. Please do not tell him, I want it to be a surprise!

 Please look out for him on the seafront on the Saturday and Sunday of the air show. You might have to look hard as he tends to blend in with the background.

 Many, many thanks and God bless you all.

Jeff Coxon,

Seaham.

Strongman Samson was a real person

IN reply to Mick the Pen’s Letter in the Echo on Tuesday, July 9, entitled Larger Than Life.

 Samson did exist. He was born in Henry Street, Hendon. He did lift the car. He was the strongest man in the town and on the Town Moor at Hendon Burn.

 He also knocked down a wall at the bottom of the Parade. He used to ride about on a bike in Hendon collecting his coal and scrap. He was well known in Hendon.

Mr P Carr,

Old Hendonian.

Store is doing its bit for the environment

SHOPS have to make a profit, but there is more to life than profits.

 Big shops can do more for the environment than individuals like me.

 Sainsbury’s is a good example of a firm that cares for the environment as it led the way for recycling in Sunderland, and even now supplies recycling facilities that cannot be found elsewhere.

 You can take carrier and polythene bags to Sainsbury’s for recycling and outside, near the car park, containers are provided for used low-energy bulbs and small electrical goods.

 Sainsbury’s staff have always been friendly and helpful to me. Sainsbury’s cares.

John Watson,

Granville Street,

Sunderland.