Letters, Friday, May 4th, 2012

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Prepare city for rising sea levels

ROBERT Tomlinson (Echo, April 13) asks if I had seen the cost of the Cutty Sark. The answer is yes. In fact I mentioned the £50million cost in a letter to the Echo several months ago. I did so as an example of the sort of costs that will be incurred in bringing the City of Adelaide to Sunderland.

If the Adelaide is supposed to be the money-spinner he claims, why do the people who now have it seem keen to get it off their hands? I guess at least 99 per cent of the population of Sunderland have not made the relatively short trip to see the Adelaide where it now lies so why does anyone think tourists from other places will come here to see it?

Ships are built to sail the seas and when their sea days are done they should be like the Fighting Temeraire was when it was superseded by more modern ships, like the City of Adelaide was then.Those who want to remember the City of Adelaide can do so by putting a wall plaque on the blank and boring walls of the Seaburn promenade.

The reason why I advocated building a riverside promenade is the fact that scientists suggest that sea levels will rise in the coming years. Well, I think it is impossible for sea levels to rise without there being a rise in river levels too, which means Sunderland should be raising the level of the banks of the Wear. Doing that will cost about the same as making 12 miles of road, as well as making Roker Pier higher and wider than it is now. That can be done by making Roker Pier a multi-tiered structure which will provide two or three floors for such uses as a shopping mall and residences etc.

The millions that Sunderland propose to spend on that infantile iconic bridge will be better spent on securing Sunderland’s future by being spent on raising the barriers against the rising River Wear by building that riverside promenade or some other defence.  

Wasting money on trivial things like the Adelaide and an iconic bridge is a bit like Nero fiddling while Sunderland drowns and the billions the Government have spent on a trivial thing like the Olympics would have been better and more wisely spent on the basics of life like flood controls and sewers and with a national network too.

J. Young, Alexander Terrace, Fulwell

Shopping scam

I WAS under the impression that when commercial organisations deceived the consumer for financial gain the law would jump on them from a great height. When coal was king any coal merchant caught selling underweight bags of fuel appeared before a magistrate for punishment.

So I was more than surprised with the news that many of the well-known brands that sit on our supermarket shelves are doing a similar scam on today’s hard-pressed shoppers. These greedy, money-mad, so-called leaders of commerce, not content with their high profit margins, are stealing the food from the poor man’s table – from people already bent by the burden of providing for their families.

The latest round of these unscrupulous cuts was discovered by a researcher on Which Magazine. He noticed the groceries ordered online were smaller than the pack sized advertised. There would have been no problem he said if the prices had also been reduced – but they weren’t.

Mr Researcher should have twigged on that prices would never drop in conjunction with the dwindling goods – it seems obvious this stealth-like exercise was implemented to make price increases on the quiet. Apparently the famous-brand makers have no respect or concern for their loyal customers, and will continue to shrink the groceries until someone in authority restricts their underhand activities.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Sunderland

Shocking prices

I AM writing to say what a wonderful night my girlfriend and myself had at the Sunderland Empire when we saw South Pacific.

It was to celebrate what would have been my father’s 100th birthday. We were really looking forward to the show as this was my father’s favourite musical. Everything was going lovely and I had a broad smile on my face throughout the first half.

When the interval came my partner and I went into the bar. I asked for a pint of beer and a half of lager. The beer was in a can, and the lager was bottled. I then asked the price and the bartender said £8. I could not believe this. After that I could not enjoy the second half of the show and just wanted to leave. I cannot believe the Empire would charge those prices. Surely they should know this area is in a depression. It spoilt our whole evening.

Colin Wake, Beech Avenue, Houghton

Pleasant area

RE the article about Castle Ward, as it is now known. As an ex-Public Works Depot maintenance foreman (not many of us left now), I was being driven home. We passed through Southwick. I hardly recognised Shakespeare Street, Old Mill Road etc.

I was really pleasantly surprised at the homes, so airy and modern-looking. It looked to be a nice place to live.

A. Pollitt, Sunderland

Greatest PM?

THE pictures in your Retro section of Harold Macmillan visiting Sunderland set me thinking: Who was the greatest Prime Minister we’ve had in my lifetime?

Macmillan told us: “You’ve never had it so good”, and it’s true our living standards rose remarkably in the 1950s. But a lot of our leaders have been a sorry bunch: Home, Callaghan, Major, Brown. The TV series on the 1970s revealed what a disaster Ted Heath was.

In Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, he said only two Prime Ministers led Governments which radically changed the lives of the British people, Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher. I wouldn’t disagree with that, and I’d put Attlee top of my list. I’m afraid my views on the Iron Lady can’t be published in a family newspaper.

What about Churchill? Sadly his power seriously declined after he nearly died of pneumonia during the war. Attlee ran the country when Churchill was ill and was clearly the right man to lead Britain in the post-war period.

Who was the worst PM of all? Sir Anthony Eden, who deceived the British people when he invaded Suez.

And the greatest PM we never had? It must be Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary whose liberal policies made this country a better place.

Henry Whipple, Coach Road Estate, Washington

Thanks to staff

MY husband has just had surgery on his hand after a fall at home.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved – all the medical team, the staff on ward D43, the kitchen staff, and the domestic staff. They all do an excellent job at Sunderland Royal Hospital.  

With many thanks. We are both very grateful to you all.

Mr and Mrs R. Metcalf, The Avenue, Seaham

Third tattoo

WITH reference to Carole Rutherford’s article in Saturday’s Letters Page about the tattoo at Ashbrooke in 1951, I thought I should mention more.

There were actually two tattoos at Ashbrooke, the first being in 1951 to celebrate the Festival of Britain, then another followed in 1953 which was a celebration of our Queen’s accession to the throne.

Both were very successful and spectacular events with much pomp and pageantry. Over several nights there were thousands of folk came to see both of these great tattoos.

I was very proud to have been in both of the displays first as a bugler in the ACF band then as a leading drummer in 1953.

So it seems that the next tattoo which is to be held later this year will not be the first, or the second, but the third one to be held in Sunderland.

Alan Place, Winslow Crescent, Seaham