Letters, Monday, May 14th, 2012

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What will future be for our shops?

DOES it occur to you that the shops lying empty in our High Street could remain empty for ever? For sure, it will be many years before they reopen. Why would I say that, you may well ask. Well, the state of the financial world, that’s why.

Funnily enough, it occurs to me that owners of shops are in a pickle. They cannot rent out or lease for obvious reasons, nor can they sell on as no one wants or can afford to buy. In other words, empty shops are worthless.

So what will be the problems of the next generation of entrepreneurs? At the lowest level, ie the high street, as follows: High overheads eg rents, electricity etc. There will be no openings for speciality shops as the supermarkets have everything covered. High prices to compare with the cost for the consumer at their monthly sojourn to Morrisons, Tesco, Asda etc.

Things then get worse, as car parking is difficult and costly locally as compared with free parking. Then opening hours would, of necessity, be very long so that a living could be made, and of course the cost of holding stock that may never be sold. The great shadow of the internet market hangs over everyone and cannot be ignored.

Could any type of shop survive apart from the charity emporiums? Well, even they could go if people run out of things to give or attempt to sell online. Hairdressers are considered a must but would have to bring down charges as women in particular are adept at doing their own or each others’. Card shops to go re. cost of card and postage. Betting shops are also empty now, in effect, as people bet online more. Cafes may manage but shoppers will buy their cappuccinos along with the monthly “look out” to the superstore.

Do we, as citizens, proud as we are of our towns and villages, care about these shop futures? We do, but not enough when comparing our bills after shopping. There’s still, of course, our corner shops, but they already charge an excess for convenience, as we only go there when we forget to buy otherwise. We could, in the future, see high streets full of flowers and a bandstand, as in days of yore, filled by folks, in their Sunday best, parading of an evening to see and be seen.

As a conclusion, let us remember that individuals are clever at overcoming all types of obstacle and ingenious at finding solutions. Let’s hope they are up to the mark when the bell tolls. I do, believe me, hope so.

Allan Wilkinson

Review city roads

I READ with amazement your front page item regarding a review of the traffic system at the Wheatsheaf to facilitate a Tesco store at Roker Retail Park.

It is more than 10 years since the Stadium of Light opened, without any changes to the road system into the city centre.

Traffic should be able to access the city via the bridge directly from Newcastle Road and Southwick Road, as was originally the case, without having to go half way to Roker and back.

This would also allow access to the Central Station, which incidentally, must be the most embarrassingly pathetic station entrance of any city in the country, without a detour to Hendon.

Surely it is time for a total review of the city’s arterial roads, taking into account the possible development of the Vaux site.

David Hegarty, Gillas Lane West, Houghton

No to wind power

IT would be wrong to build a wind turbine at Tunstall Hills. The first thought would be that this would be a blot on the lovely landscape of that scenic area.

The important thing is the well-known uselessness of these turbines. Denmark stopped making them in 2008. They only get 13 per cent of their electricity from them and they have the highest energy prices in Europe.

Our rulers, the EU, have set a target for us to generate 38 per cent of our electricity from renewable energy within the next 10 years. This would cost us about £200billion.

At present only about two per cent of our energy comes from turbines. Nuclear would be cheaper and better. Wind turbines are rendered useless by both gale force winds and low wind conditions.

Marjorie Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Damage to car

I PARKED my car at Mill Bank near Fulwell Mill at 10am, nowhere near any driveway and not on the pavement but on the road, and when I returned at 2pm found my car had been scratched down the near side.

Obviously someone with a sharp instrument had walked down the pavement and deliberately done the damage. A car next to mine had also been scratched. I am warning motorists not to park here.

The damage to my car is approximately £200 and I hope the low-life scum responsible is happy and can sleep at night.

Matthew Short, Fairfield Drive, Whitburn