Letters, Monday, September 19th, 2011

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Don’t miss chance for excavation

AS a former Vaux Group employee, I have watched with dismay as the site development saga has meandered to its latest announcements after the transfer of control from Tesco to Sunderland City Council.

I therefore read, with more than a passing interest, Keith Cockerill’s letter (September 9) about the inconclusive excavation at the former Vaux Brewery site, together with Ross Robertson’s Page 6 article (same edition) discussing the proposed £2million interim regeneration project to deliver a field of wildflowers and an area of car parking.

I am struggling to understand why we need further car parking next to the award-winning St Mary’s car park or why the wildflowers could not be incorporated into the beautiful surroundings of Mowbray Park.

The council plans appear at first reading to be admirable – aiming to protect the site in the short term by covering everything under a layer of earth without damaging the potential for a fuller excavation, reviewing the situation when the full planning application is considered several years down the line.

At that future date, what guarantees do we have that they will be able to resist the temptation of a hurried or token excavation, much like the reported previous attempt?

Why not begin a series of excavations now under the umbrella of a co-operative of the County Archaeologist, the Northern Archaeology Group, our local university archaeology departments, societies and others? They may be able to expand their current links with BBC’s Time Team to document the search.

As careful, considered excavations at each part of the site are completed, the remedial work could then deliver the wildflower, car and coach parking proposals, step by step, not in haste.

Just suppose that among other “run of the mill” items, they unearth one significant find such as a tool, or a coin, an engraving, a weapon or the remains of a mosaic. Apart from the historical significance, a good find could be used by the architects/developers as a theme for the eventual development project.

Recently the City of Adelaide project was scuppered by a stronger bid from the other side of the world. I believe this project can only be scuppered by a short-sighted strategy formulated within our region.

Alan Wilkinson, Washington

Action over care

I AM extremely concerned about the current state of the care system in this area and the country as a whole. It is not only failing the elderly but those with illnesses and disabilities alike.

We should no longer tolerate a system which leaves many with no support and others with poor quality services.

A survey by the National Autistic Society found that two-thirds of adults with autism do not have the support they need and, as a result, a third had developed mental health problems.

Recently, Andrew Dilnot released a report on how the system can be improved. As a local resident and a supporter of The National Autistic Society, I would like to appeal to our local MPs to bring this issue to Parliament and help make Dilnot’s suggestions a reality.

Without this, people will continue to be left to cope without the support they desperately need.

Kathleen White, Mitford Close, Oxclose, Washington

In defence of dogs

I TOTALLY disagree with Roland Green about dogs. Not everybody has the same opinions as him about dogs.

First, dogs are important. They are very important to some people. They are friends to their owners, in some cases their only friends.

Dogs are loyal and trusting and if you treat them with love they will give the love back.

Thank god not everybody is like Mr Green. If the dogs in your area are messing your pavements, contact the city council and I’m sure they will look into your problem.

It’s amazing what powers they have, like fining the owners £100. The council will also provide dog bins.

If you recall, I had a letter in the Echo recently asking for the council to make dog owners obtain a dog licence, with their dog also to be microchipped by law.

Scott Andrews, Wilkinson Terrace, Ryhope

Who should go?

ED Miliband’s latest headline grab is for all bankers involved in the recent banking troubles to be struck off.

Yes great, but how?

While we figure that one out why not look at the politicians who landed us with the record debt and near economic ruin being struck off. Bye bye Miliband, Balls and Brown. Now that would be a result.

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward