Letters, Monday, September 24th, 2012

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Holiday ruined by camera trap

JUST returned from holiday in the Lakes. Had a great time bar one incident. Feeling slightly generous, took the wife shopping in Windermere, a nice place to spend a couple of hours if one can afford the parking fee – £3.

On the way, feeling rather smug, went through the traffic camera at about 44mph, the limit being 40mph. In fairness, it was all dressed up in bright yellow, but as I’d pulled out from a country road I didn’t even see it until I was halfway across. At that juncture, what do you do when you notice it? Is it a case of dropping anchor and chance the guy behind you running into you rear, or ignoring it?

I took the former course and was lucky, at least in that respect, so from that moment my holiday was ruined worrying about several factors. First of all, had I managed to reduce my speed to within 44.4mph, thus allowing for the 10 per cent consideration given by the Highway Authorities, or had they omitted to install a film? I understand that the dreaded “blister” must be received within 14 days in order to be legal, so the wait goes on.

On reflection, will this occurrence, guilty or innocent, make any difference to the way I drive in the future? Well, probably not, as I am quite elderly having driven, accident and claim free for 55 years. My ability to pass a camera without noticing it will be unimpaired, my confidence will take a permanent drop while on the road. Will I become one of those wrinklies who travel, regardless of road conditions at 25mph and cause numerous accidents without even knowing they were involved?

On passing a camera, most people then speed up again, so what is the benefit and point of it all? I wouldn’t care, I have a satnav that informs the driver of imminent cameras – I just wish I could use it.

What was that noise at the letterbox. Was it the dreaded envelope or a pamphlet for the local Chinese? I’m becoming a nervous wreck. I half wish it would arrive then I’d be out of my misery and know my fate. The local speed merchants hammering down our local highway at 70mph in a 30-mile limit at 8pm on Friday nights make me want to weep, but there it is.

Allan Wilkinson

Scarecrow trail

ON BEHALF of the members of Penshaw Community Association and village vall, I would like to say a big, big, thank-you to all the people who supported our fourth Penshaw Scarecrow Trail. There was a wonderful atmosphere created by the sound of music from the Pantastic Steel Band and the smell of bacon sandwiches drifting from the village hall.

While the sun shone, visitors, armed with quiz sheets, miniature scarecrows and Buddy’s balloons, streamed through Old Penshaw Village and Herrington Country Park gazing at the wonderful creations made by local residents, businesses and pupils. We had, Royalty, Olympians and many fictional characters.

There was organ music and a craft displays (including an authentic 40s collection) in All Saints’ Church as well as some additional strange-looking choirboys! There were pony rides too.

The home-made savouries and cakes were delicious as usual.

I would also thank Sunderland 2012, the city council and Gentoo for their support, and the Mayor, Mayoress and councillors for their visit.

All the profit from the day and evening ceilidh will be shared between the community association and village hall.

Lesley Shale, Secretary, Penshaw Community Centre

Hospital parking

IT’S good to see Sunderland Royal Hospital developing plans to address the shortage of parking spaces at the hospital. However, 311 spaces will be lost during the construction period – more than one in four of the hospital’s existing parking spots.

This will displace still more parking on to those streets around the hospital which aren’t part of the recently introduced residents’ parking scheme. These roads are already having to cope with an influx of cars that used to park within the residents’ parking area.

That’s why it’s important that Sunderland City Council commit to carrying out a second phase of consultation in streets neighbouring the residents’ parking zone. That way residents can decide how they want parking to be managed outside their homes. This must take place before work begins on the multi-storey car park.

Otherwise a scheme intended to solve long-term problems will simply cause more pain in the short term.

Brian Robson, Ewesley Road, Sunderland

Pension pay-off

AS an avid supporter of your article on extra pension payments (September 18), after 20 years as a Public Works foreman, paying what was known as Superan, I didn’t miss the payment into fund. But now, as an octogenarian, I can really feel the financial benefits to my way of life.

A. Pollitt, Fulwell