Letters, Saturday, October 15th, 2011

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When will the pier be reopened?

I’VE moved. I’m back to the Barbary Coast where I spent most of my younger life in Dock Street East and many happy times were had, but that’s another story.

What is worrying me at the moment – and not only myself but quite a few hundred others who enjoy angling as a recreation – is when is Roker Pier going to be open? It’s a great miss to many people – anglers, walkers and tourists.

It’s a great attraction. Any coastal town that has a pier draws visitors who spend money in the city. The longer the pier is closed, the more it will hit the angling trade shops.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there were good venues to fish from. The South Pier is out of bounds. We used to have passes for that and it was very popular, but then all the passes were recalled and use of the venue was refused. I’ve heard one excuse was in case of terrorism. What a joke! What right-minded terrorist would even bother with our south dock? Yes, years ago, perhaps, when it was full of ships and lots of trade. It’s funny, but then they didn’t bother about anyone fishing the area. In fact the fishermen perhaps helped with security, their presence enough to deter thieves or vandals. The only thing on a fisherman’s mind is fishing and finding the best spot.

It’s not that long ago a councillor stood on the old North Pier and stated they were going to make it “fisherman friendly”. I say not long ago: it was a couple of years ago, but given the reputation of our council, two years is a short time to expect them to get something done.

As far as visitors to the city are concerned, if we don’t use our lovely seafront to its best potential we may as well forget it. A lot of good cosmetic work is being done, but what attractions have we to offer? We can’t even keep a decent fairground. All the emphasis seems to be aimed at the town centre – pubs, clubs and luxury flats which can’t be sold.

Why not move the leisure facilities to the seafront? Then this would rejuvenate the latter and may kickstart more interest in our shoreline entertainments. This would perhaps bring monetary gain to the city, be forward-looking for a change and bring something we can be proud of back to our city.

Colin Wasey, Zetland Square, Monkwearmouth

Voter registration

I NOTED Coun Morrissey’s letter in the Echo on October 5 and think it’s worth setting him straight on a couple of details.

To begin with, Labour is not opposed to individual voter registration and, in fact, introduced legislation to stop electoral fraud. This included safeguards and a staggered timetable for its introduction.

Secondly, I believe that Mr Morrissey’s misunderstanding of the issue is deliberate.

Specifically, it’s this government’s proposal that you will no longer have to go on the electoral register, and that is what Bridget Phillipson and the Labour party are against.

According to the Electoral Commission, bringing in individual voter registration while making registration a voluntary choice will cost up to 10million people their right to vote. Also, what many people will not know is that non-inclusion on the electoral register may affect credit ratings.

Perhaps Mr Morrissey and his party should rethink their stance on this issue in support of what could be thousands of local people who will be disadvantaged by it. He should be defending the rights of local people to hold their elected representatives to account.

Alex Scullion

Labour’s legacy

AGAIN Mr Quinn has not answered the question: what has Labour done for the city? If he opened his eyes he would see the bombsite of Vaux after 13 years, a seafront with nothing to do, Newcastle Road Baths demolished, Crowtree Leisure Centre with no pool or ice rink, Holmeside, Fawcett Street, concrete and glass play parks and much more. Nothing has happened in the city but decay and demolition.

I would vote for anyone who would put the city first. This council will not. If Mr Quinn is happy with the standard of the council, I am not.

We do not all get baby bonds, heating allowance, bus passes or TV licences (over 75 only).

A meeting on the old town hall took place behind closed doors and members of all sides voted to demolish the building. As for Mr Quinn’s comments about heritage and depriving future generations, rather that than my great-great-grandchildren still paying back the massive £428billion of debt left by the Labour government.

G. Liddle, Roker, Sunderland

Lack of support

THE lack of support given to the residents of Millfield by their Labour councillors over the controversial issue of a proposal to build a mosque and regional Islamic centre is to be deplored. It should, however, come as no surprise to anyone.

In the recent past when Millfield residents looked to support from their Labour councillors when concerns were expressed over the illegal use of a building as a mosque, the councillors failed to lift their heads above the parapet.

Ron Metcalfe, Warwick Drive, Sunderland