Letters, Saturday, September 10th, 2011

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Shocking remarks over Mayor’s car

THE front page of the Echo on Wednesday night shocked me. Selling the mayoral car registration may seem a good way to grab a cheap headline, but it does not paint the true picture of potential cost saving.

In my time involved with the North East Chamber of Commerce I have spent almost 10 years working with the council, permanent staff and elected members alike.

Like many others attending these meetings, there was no charge, a loss of earnings and paying our own expenses.

In Sunderland a councillor is granted a basic £8,043 and the leader of the majority opposition £12,067, whilein Newcastle parity allowances are £3,365 and £1,130.

Let’s be clear on this: neither the car, registration, museum, libraries or parks belong to the council. They are ours – the city residents. If he wants to be chivalrous about saving funds, Coun Oliver could volunteer to accept Newcastle-size allowances, struggle by on his meagre teacher’s salary and save us £15,615. We can keep the registration without guilt then.

Coun Oliver has shamed his party who have many hard-working, dedicated and committed members. Messrs Wood, Forbes and Howe, for example, may not be my cup of tea, but they have my utmost respect for their unbridled efforts to make Sunderland a better place.

Alas, on this showing Mr Oliver has not got a cat’s chance in hell of reaching their level.

Dr Mick Thurlbeck

Mosque plan

ON September 1 there was a meeting to discuss a proposed purchase of a disused council depot by residents seeking to convert the building into a mosque.

A local councillor speculated that a mosque may lead to parking problems. Alternative suggestions that the building be converted into a leisure centre or a factory were welcomed.

The Green Party urges the council to give due consideration to all appropriate planning issues, such as additional car parking requirements.

It would be disingenuous if a politician opposed to the mosque for illiberal reasons and attempted to pass off the campaign as a relating to parking concerns. I refer specifically to untrue comments made within the meeting, such as that the existence of a second mosque would create a potentially toxic situation between Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims.

Sunderland has had a large Muslim community for many years. It should be a source of pride that people of different religions and denominations have lived peacefully together.

It is unfortunate that no one representing the proposed mosque was able to speak to the meeting.

Jack McGlen, Sunderland Green Party

Seafront ideas

ONE simple way to attract more visitors to Seaburn is to provide more parking spaces for them and that can be done by widening the road over those useless grass verges which can also provide a much wider footway too.

On that broader footway you can erect a row of statues of those who are mentioned in Bede’s history such as Kings Edwin and Oswald, Saints Cuthbert, Wilfrid and Hilda and Biscop Benedict and a row of the old Anglo-Saxon gods too, for without King Ecgfrid’s gift of the land there would not have been any monastery at Monkwearmouth or Jarrow.

Between the statues there can also be planted a line of trees and shrubs which will survive the sea breezes. These can be planted and maintained by any group interested in doing so.

The statues themselves could be paid for by the car parking fees, which should not be more than £1 for one visit rather than charging by the hour.

J. Young, Alexander Terrace, Fulwell,

Sunderland

Wogan was wrong

I SAW the article about Terry Wogan putting a slur on our city and as one person said on August 23, he is bang out of order.

All the city council needs to do is rebuild the old town hall, get rid of the civic centre and that eyesore on the seafront (the railway carriage) and the supermarket, and have accessible toilets on the seafront for disabled people as well as able bodied.

We have a lot of responsible adults and children in this city, Wogan was bang out of order comparing us with London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool for the riots.

I am proud of where I am from. We have an Olympic pool in the Aquatic Centre and a fantastic theatre, a brilliant multi-plex cinema and a shopping centre (Bridges) which is brilliant. Who needs to go to Newcastle?

The Grand Hotel was a lovely hotel. We could do with a new one.

When and if we get our TV station, I hope we get more coverage than Darlington, Newcastle, Durham, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. For goodness’ sake, we are the biggest city in the North East, but we hardly get a mention on Look North these days.

Redevelopment: room for improvement.

Mr Wogan needs to get out more.

Joe Lennox, Park Gate, Roker, Sunderland