Letters, Saturday, November 2, 2013

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Bad planning is ruining our city

IN 1936 (I was seven years old), I overheard my grandmother talking to her daughter, who had just been rehoused at Plains Farm estate as part of a slum clearance council initiative in the Johnson Street area.

 My aunt was complaining about the cost of tram fares for getting her children to school at (now)St Michael’s Way from Plains Farm estate.

 Even worse was the fact that they were miles away from the town centre shops.

 The few council shops – the butchers, grocers and greengrocers were really exploiting their monopoly – were adding to the price of the tram fare for their convenience services.

 My grandmother’s remark was: “They (the council) have given you all new houses to rent in but they are making sure that you all have to come back down to the town to do your shopping.”

 This has remained as a council policy for the past 63 years. It is abuse of town planning laws to facilitate the exploitation of Sunderland residents by bus companies, big business and council officers by turning Sunderland more and more into a dormitory town.

 The road network in Sunderland is a prime example of how our town has lost its grid system due to bad planning to promote favourable conditions for millionaires.

Ron McQuillan

Just another day

CORNFLAKES and fruit for breakfast were good today, then all went downhill.

  I took my wife for lunch and a mope about the shops. Well, one supermarket to be honest.

 Lunch of ham omelette and salad was a disaster, the former cooked on its own and slices of ham stuck in after – no finesse. The salad was similar, basics only like tomato, lettuce and the inevitable cucumber slung on, not tossed together. Her indoors had a miserable pannini with hardly any filling, so left most of it.

 What really upset me was a lady who, when obtaining accoutrements, stole about 50 tubes of sugar. She avoided my barbed comments by walking away.

 She probably stole half a pound of sugar.

 I should have alerted the store manager, but didn’t want the hassle. What would you have done?

 So, she stole from the store – the store stole from me by supplying inferior meals. Am I a miserable old moaner?

 My faith in my fellow man is at rock bottom.

 On the way home I noticed all the rubbish and the dog dirt on pathways. I imagined being in Germany where cleanliness abounds.

 We went home, switched on the telly and watch quizzes complete with intricate questions about personalities – people who are famous for being famous.

 Oh, where are we going and where will be end up? If only young people had the first idea of how to cook, we would not need unending dross of “personality” chefs and cooks teaching us how to cook before we switch off and go to the chippie or Chinese for our meal.

 What a world!

Allan Wilkinson

A dismal future

ON October 17, I did my usual nostalgic visit to Roker to see Sunderland’s fantastic illuminations at Roker Park – with sadness.

 The council no doubt paid many thousands of pounds for a few mostly pathetic lights – there is no twinkle.

 The lights are put on basically for the children. Fortunately, most are too young to know how wonderful it should be, and used to be – there is no action.

 Sunderland will never be anywhere near as good as Blackpool, where people visit from all over the world. It will do well to get visitors from all parts of Roker and Seaburn.

 I never saw anyone dancing with joy when leaving the park, with its food stand, couple of kids play machines, novelty rack and a kids’ play area next to the toilets. I am surprised Health and Safety haven’t closed it down. The kids play in virtual darkness.

 There is no enthusiasm about the place.

 The council will state a shortage of funds while in the meantime spending £11.8million on a town centre – a possible white elephant.

 I heard people talk of expecting lights all along the road from the Little Cafe to Whitburn.

 No new visitors would believe this was the same area of the now famous airshow.

 The great past is gone – the future looks dismal.

John A Stott,

Washington