Letters, Monday, June 25th, 2012

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Yet again seafront gets left behind

FOLLOWING the news that there will be additional sport facilities, not a leisure centre, at Washington, provided by the council, the seafront has again been bypassed following the huge sums that have been spent.

The funding allocated to the seafront, in particular Seaburn, amounts to roughly £1.5million, and has provided a grassed area in front of the Marriott Hotel and a number of wooden, backless seats suitably indented to collect rainwater. Toilets are still a problem as everyone who needs the facilities discover they are not open or they are in short supply.

When one compares, once again, the difference between the facilities offered by our neighbours at South Shields, the difference is spectacular. South Tyneside Council have funded the whole £16million cost of a new leisure development which includes an eight-lane, 25-metre pool, a learner pool, leisure area with flumes, library and tourism access points, activity rooms for volunteers, outdoor performance space, fitness suite, studio rooms and meeting rooms. All this has been offset by savings from replacing older facilities. Here in go-ahead Sunderland one thinks about the Crowtree Centre that is falling into disrepair.

South Tyneside Council say the emphasis of their project has been on providing a high-quality product, given the importance of the development at a prominent location on the seafront. The project is expected to be completed in March 2013. Meanwhile the much applauded and highly expensive Sunniside Gardens here in Sunderland has the assumed the the status of a white elephant. The regeneration was to provide boutiques and restaurants. There are some of the latter, but not much else.

The leader of Sunderland Council stated during the meeting of the full council held recently that the Conservative opposition were being “picky” when they suggested that more support should be given to retailers and the like to bring a little life and excitement to the area.

There’s plenty of resuscitation needed throughout: the Vaux site, Farringdon Row, Holmeside, all of which are on the back burner and remain so until this Labour council stop moaning about the financial crisis, which their government under Blair, followed by Brown, created by removing fiscal regulations on the banks when they made the Bank of England independent.

The Sunderland Way of Working needs to step up a couple of gears or, better still, get a new engine.

Councillor George Howe, Fulwell Ward

‘Wor Horse’ idea

I SEE work has started on the redevelopment of the Vaux site.

I think due to the historical and sentimental importance there was a feeling of emotional loss felt

by the people of Sunderland. Nearly all local families had a connection with Vaux. It was

known to be one big family unit from top to bottom.

I think to embrace these heartfelt emotions it would be appreciated by all if a life-size statue of a Vaux dray horse was installed at the entrance to the Gateway to Vaux.

It could be named “Wor Horse” and would I am sure be a great token of respect and remembrance.

Neil McOnie

Yet another plan

NOT another master plan. They have had more cunning plans than Baldrick in Black Adder.

If we have to wait for this as long as we have waited for the Vaux site, I think we will be in for a long wait.

I would have thought the council would have learned from the past – all the promises and plans made to the Sunderland people. Five-year and 10-year plans, and nothing happens.

Looking at the map, where does the traffic go after leaving the bridge? Has it to go through Hendon?

More pies in the sky, I am sorry to say.

G.Liddle, Roker, Sunderland

Olympic ‘cruelty’

I READ with great anxiety that the opening ceremony at London 2012 will involve live animals, including cows, sheep and chickens.

It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate setting for animals than amid the thunderous crowds and fireworks of such a ceremony.

Sheep are particularly fearful of loud noises, and farmers have reported that they may spontaneously abort during fireworks displays.

In 2008, the noise of a hot air balloon killed 300 chickens on a Herefordshire farm, and if horses become frightened, there could be human casualties, as well as animal.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause physical or mental suffering, “where this is unnecessary and the person knew or could be expected to know that an animal would suffer as a result”. The 1988 Seoul ceremony was seriously tarnished by doves being burnt to death in the Olympic flame. Is London prepared to be seen in an equally negative light?

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent

Rivet legends

THE Echo mentioned how the Queen Mother always remembers her visit to Sunderland when her husband drove a silver rivet into Wearmouth Bridge.

Many myths and legends have grown about that rivet. Does it really exist or not?

One night I was in the Windsor Castle pub with Big John and the lovely Sue Jean. He fancied her like mad, but she wasn’t interested.

What could he do to prove his love for her?

After a few rum and cokes Sue had a bright idea. In days of old, she said, a knight set out on a quest to find the one thing his blessed damsel treasured most. Only then would she bestow her favours on him. If you truly love me, bring me the silver rivet from the bridge.

So after closing time John set off on his quest, undaunted and unfazed by the number of pints he’d just supped. I pleased with him not to be so daft. No woman’s worth it.

He tried to clamber up the bridge, resembling King Kong on the skyscraper. Ha’way man, I shouted, surely the Duke of York didn’t go all the way up there to hammer in the rivet.

I warned him neither the police nor the coastguards, not to mention any motorists, would appreciate it if he climbed to the top at that time of night. Finally he saw sense, or the drop to the river below, and came down.

This is one of the legends about the silver rivet. We never did find it, and sweet Sue married another gentleman who presumably slew a dragon for her.

Jim Ridler, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Political cycle

IT seems obvious to me that the Lib Dems are courting the Labour Party on the expectation that Labour will win the next election.

The Lib Dems can then attach themselves to Labour and be in a government coalition again.

I said, the moment the Tories won the last election, that while they tried to reduce the debt that Labour had left the country in, the electorate would then turn against the Tories because of the austerity measures.

They will vote Labour back in and then complain of the new debt Labour will impose and also the further rule of this country by the EU.

Labour will promise us a referendum on whether we should be in or out of the EU, but then they will not give us one, same as the Tories.

Then it will be back to Conservatives and the same old story repeating itself.

As they say, time will tell.

Majorie Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Search Party

I AM hoping to make contact with Davy and Linda Tucker. They used to live in Houghton, but I haven’t been in touch with them for about nine years.

If they read this, or anyone has any information about them, I would be grateful if they could get in touch on the number below. Thank you.

Geoff Smith, Tel. 07502 241064

I AM trying to trace my daughters Clara and Erica Saxon whom I have not seen for 12 years.

Anybody with any information please contact me. I would be most grateful.

Mrs L. Owens, 159 Mossley Road, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancs OL6 6NR. Tel. 07500 211713