Letters, Saturday, November 26th, 2011

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Debate over waste transfer station

AS one of the councillors on the development control committee who abstained in the vote on the Hendon waste transfer station, I felt I should reply to the letters this issue has generated.

I abstained because we accepted advice that there were no grounds on planning terms to turn the application down. However, I could not vote for it as I had, and still have, grave concerns over the amount of traffic the site will generate. This despite the assurances given by the highways officers.

The 22 heavy vehicles that will do the 57-mile round trip each day between the site and Teesside will cover 1,254 miles a day. Hardly environmentally friendly. I did point out at the meeting that a rail line ran along the rear of the site and asked could this not be used. A spokesman for SITA did confirm that the line also passed the site of the incinerator on Teesside. This would be ideal in terms of reducing the level of road traffic, but SITA said that a rail link was not viable due the amount of waste being transferred.

I hope that if the roads prove to be overloaded or plans are submitted to expand the site or increase the vehicular flow the council will insist on the waste being transferred by rail.

Huge concerns also exist over the 160 vehicle movements a day due to refuse vehicles visiting the site. We were assured these, where possible, will be on the main link routes through the city. Again, we will insist on high levels of monitoring of traffic levels and routes to ensure this is adhered to.

One other question that needs an answer. Was this site picked just because it was already in council ownership?

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Amazing kindness

ONCE again I wish to express my deepest gratitude to local folk for their amazing generosity in giving more than £1,000 to the Grace House Appeal in the three-week period October 29 to November 19.

I thank Steven Wilson, area manager for Lidl stores, for letting me collect at the Ryhope Road and Durham Road stores, which raised over £340. At Clay’s Garden Centre a generous £270 was donated on Saturday, October 29, followed by a stunning £441 on Saturday, November 19. Perhaps my clown’s outfit helped raise a few extra quid as well as a few smiles.

I sincerely thank Mr Clay and his manager Richard Cain and his staff for their hospitality and support. A total of £1,050 in three weeks speaks volumes for the kindness of North East folk. Heartfelt thanks.

Jeff Coxon, Lawnside, Seaham

Labour failure

IN the wake of the government housing initiative Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington, commented in the Echo that decent housing was a priority for all.

No one would disagree with that. Maybe she could tell the readers of the Echo why it was then that the last Labour administration had the worst record in modern times of building new houses. Indeed, in its last years the number of houses built was the lowest for nearly a century.

This is further evidence if any were needed that the Labour Party in terms of the economy, housing, the NHS and social depravation are bereft of ideas, policy, analysis and rational comment.

The present dire situation in Britain economically and socially lies squarely at the feet of the last Labour Government and they are irrelevant to the political future of this country.

Dennis McDonald, Winifred Street, Fulwell, Sunderland

Energy petition

WEARSIDE local group of Friends of the Earth have recently launched FoE’s Final Demand Campaign on Wearside.

In common with other FoE local groups around the country they are presenting the public with the opportunity to sign a petition which will be delivered to the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The petition urges him to launch an independent public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies’ power over consumers and influence over politicians.  

The petition also urges Mr Cameron not to axe support for clean British energy produced by communities, councils and householders.

Our thanks go out to those organisations and independent retailers who are supporting their local community by hosting the petitions.

If anyone wishes to help with this campaign contact me at:

a.r1@me.com

Allan Rowell, Wearside Friends of the Earth

Special thanks

A BIG, big thank-you to all the people who worked for free at Street Care in Norfolk Street, and all at St Gabriel’s for looking after all the people that went to those places.

You are not forgotten.

Sam Colborn, South Durham Court, Hendon, Sunderland