Letters, Friday, October 7th, 2011

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A waste of prime industrial land

THE most recent reports in the Echo give grave cause for concern to the working people of Sunderland as the cabinet and the planning and highways committee contribute to the further degeneration of Sunderland.

“Riverside Village gets green light” (Echo, September 23) says the report. Why should this awful news be a cause for rejoicing by Councillor Margaret Forbes, chairman Phil Tye and Keith Lowes (head of planning and environment) when prime industrial land and potential permanent jobs are being sterilised for generations to come? Where, indeed, will the job creation be when and if 650 houses sit on the Grove Crane site when such building work is finished?

Where will local workers have to go for employment when all available land is misused for housing, instead of wealth-creating engineering, manufacturing and, most importantly, the Port of Sunderland?

In recent months, we have seen prime industrial land delivered over to the building of 650 houses at the ex-NBC workshops in Philadelphia; half the Dubmire industrial estate has be given over for house building; the Sunderland Forge site is planned for house building; and now our councillors have unanimously sacrificed the Grove site to profits of enterprising land and property speculators.

Perhaps the trade unions should take notice of this disgracefully bad town planning.

The report also says: “The Groves site will also be the Southern landing point for the Wear Bridge crossing for the Iconic bridge crossing and accommodate only a very small part of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC)”.

The SSTC, (which is completely unnecessary if the Claxheugh bridge green route option was to be adopted) will displace the vital industrial land which the planners purport to be regenerating!

This is land that should be used to create permanent jobs to which workers have easy access by a sensibly designed bridge at Claxheugh green route … for which an east-to-west road link already exists.

All that is needed to complete it is the replacement of a footbridge at the Gill ravine with a road bridge.

Ron McQuillan

Good role model

I WAS as disappointed as anyone to hear of Niall Quinn stepping down as chairman of Sunderland this week. He has done wonders for our club and the city overall. He is proud of Sunderland and we are proud of him.

In his new role he will be expanding the reputation not just of Sunderland AFC but the city of Sunderland.

He will be travelling the world to search for investment, new markets and who knows he may even succeed in bringing some new jobs to the city.

This is what our lazy council should have been doing for the last decade. That’s the difference between our council and our football club, though. We demand high standards from our football club and if they are not reached we are rightly furious. Why do we not do the same for our city itself?

For years we have let our city slip down the leagues. We should have a council who go around the world, look for the best players (businesses) and attract them to Sunderland. They should be ambitious and constantly striving to make the city better and make us a champions league city instead of being happy with us teetering around the relegation zone.

We need to treat out council like we treat our football club. Praise them when they do well but hold them to account and boot them out if they fail to make things better.

We have a fantastic club; let’s demand a fantastic city.

Dominic McDonough

Future of football

YOUR Comment column referring to football being beamed back on foreign broadcasts finished with the lines: “What sort of football will we be watching?”

Well, how about football where the players actually want to turn out for the team, instead of sulking on a bench on £200,000 a week? Where words like loyalty, honour, team spirit, commitment and contract don’t mean “I’ll kiss the badge and make fools of the fans till some one else wants to pay me more”. Where players remember that they have a duty to the paying people on the terraces. Where players train to do their jobs for more than a couple hours of the day. And finally where footballers don’t act like overpaid devas who hide behind the lawyers to cover their deeds.

If the spoilt brats want to go elsewhere and have mugs pay them, let them. What type of football, you ask? A better type, I say.

J. Murch, Clarence Street, Seaham

Thanks for help

I WOULD like to thank the gentleman who picked me up on North Road on Tuesday, September 27, when I ran out of juice in my scooter

I do not know what I would have done without the lift. I did not get his name, but many thanks.

M. Edmondson, Norfolk Street, Hetton

High-rise haven

WORRIES about the ageing population and also the housing crisis is on the agenda of most political parties. Perhaps I could make a suggestion to our housing and elderly agencies which would give them something to consider.

Having lived in a three-bedroom house for nearly seven years since my wife died, I thought I was depriving a family of a decent family home. Also my health is somewhat debilitating. Even though my memories of 31 years in the house were strong, I decided to put in for a smaller home on the level so no more climbing stairs. Also the upkeep of the house was difficult.

I now live in a multi-storey flat and what a godsend it is. My life has been improved tenfold. There’s plenty of room, even though it’s compact, perfect for the way of life I must lead now.

To build a high-rise multi-storey needs less land than, say, a bungalow complex for about 20 or 30 elderly couples or individuals, so it would ease the encroachment into the green belt and be cheaper in the long run.

The building I’m in is kept immaculate and the facilities are top grade. The people are friendly and even in a short time I have a sense of community spirit and even though so many people live in the building there is no sense of crowding. There are lots of things organised and provided if required. It’s an ideal environment for people in their latter years, very secure, and there are always support people on hand or at the end of a phone to help with any problems. These people are very friendly and professional, which again gives one a sense of security.

Gentoo are the landlords. I have found the employees very helpful and professional, and in this way you keep your sense of independence but also a little security.

Colin Wasey, Zetland Square, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland

History repeats

I THOUGHT perhaps Echo readers might be interested in the following article.

“Britain is in the grip of a really serious crisis with a return of mass unemployment that could be permanent, while our welfare state is being destroyed at the expense of the young and old and especially the weak and sick. Why is this happening? That is the first question to ask.

“The answer does not lie in putting all the blame on the government of the day, no matter how bad their policies are. The fact is that British capitalism – based on the worship of profit at the expense of human values – simply cannot keep people in work to meet the most elementary human needs and, unless we change that economic system, whoever runs it will face the same problems. The present Government believes that mass unemployment boosts profits by cutting wages and frightening the trade unions into accepting unemployment and into accepting cuts in public services.”

When was this written? Last week? Last month? No, I found it amongst my late husband’s papers. It is dated July 1981!

Some things never change.

Mrs R. Royal, Hollinside Road, Sunderland

Mosque plan

IN reply to Marjorie Matthews (Letters, October 4) and any others regarding the proposed mosque and community centre in Millfield, I don’t want anyone in Millfield, Sunderland, or anywhere to suffer from nuisance neighbours whoever they are.

My opinion on the proposed mosque (Letters, September 28) is based on speaking to some of the Muslim members of our community who are involved in buying the building and land, who state they wish to convert the building into a mosque and community centre for everyone. They also told me that parking will not be a problem as enough parking already exists in the site. They also stated that noise is not an issue.

It is for these reasons, and if assurances are given on these concerns (as stated in my previous letter) that I would then support the planning permission as an individual. If the alleged issues of parking and noise are factual, I also want the council and police to give assurances this will not happen, or I too would oppose planning permission, as I too live nearby and don’t want anyone to suffer.

I feel there is a lot of different information from good and bad sources out there on this issue. Only after all reasonable concerns are addressed and assurances given should planning permission be allowed on this sale of this building, in my opinion.

We all want the same really, in my opinion, for all members of our community to respect the rights of all others so we can all live in peace and together, in harmony.

Gordon Chalk, Millfield

English ignored

THE English are often told that being British is not synonymous with being English which is true, but so is the fact that being British is not synonymous with being Scottish.

That being the case, why do the main political parties describe themselves in Scotland and Wales as Scottish and Welsh yet don’t contest elections in England as English? Their lack of the word English in England means they are committing an act of racial discrimination against the English people.

The BBC, too, seems to be practising racial discrimination against the English people. It provides Scotland and Wales with their own national channels and also provides services for Muslims, Hindus and everyone else it seems – except the English.

Where and what is the English version of Scotland’s Alba channel?

Joseph Young, Alexander Terrace, Fulwell

Search Party

I AM researching my family tree and looking for anyone who knew of my grandfather, Francis (Frank) Roney (born 1920 in Sunderland).

Frank passed away suddenly at the age of 43 on January 12, 1964, while working at Sunderland Shipyards.

He lived in Primate Road, Plains Farm when he died and was in the Merchant Navy.

Any information would be great.

Please contact me via the email address below.

Many thanks in anticipation.

Vicky, email: orange123vic@yahoo.co.uk

I AM looking for relatrions of Sgt Leslie Duncan who was killed on a bombing mission at Munster, Germany, on September 12, 1944.

I was the other air gunner in the same plane.

I believe his parents were William and Ada Duncan, and they lived in Millfield, Sunderland.

I would be very grateful for any information.

Fred Hooker, 4 Wickham Road, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 6NT, email: fred111@virginmedia.com