Letters, Saturday, September 17th, 2011

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Shields leiaure plan shows city’s failure

QUITE by accident I spoke to a lady during a recent visit to the seafront who asked if I had any information on the rumour that a new leisure centre was under construction in South Shields, at Pier Parade.

The “news” took me by surprise in as much as, to my knowledge, information regarding the new leisure centre being built had not had any coverage in the local press.

Inquiries revealed that the centre will cost £17million and will include a 25-metre swimming pool that will completed by the summer of 2012.

This really touched a raw nerve. Fulwell Ward councillors and residents have been campaigning for a swimming pool to be built at Seaburn without any success. Time and time again we have brought this to council only to told that the 50-metre pool at Stadium Park would serve the north side of the city. If that is the case, why do families take their children to Temple Park for swimming lessons?

The puzzling thing about the whole question of leisure provision at Seaburn is how did South Shields manage to attract £17million for their seafront and here in Sunderland all that is given is a “Master Plan” of what could take up to 15 years to realise?

The spectre of a wasteland, the Vaux site, in our city centre is stark evidence of Sunderland’s lack of initiative in almost all areas of development.

Walk down High Street and see the bare structural steel skeleton that stands forlorn and weed strewn. Go along Holmeside and count the empty properties. Or walk along John Street, which once had a very successful department store but is now just another bus route.

As for the Sunderland planners who told everyone that the new Debenhams would be the retail anchor in the west of the Bridges while Joblings would be the anchor in the east, the success of that theory is there for all to see. Had Tesco been allowed to develop the “site” it would have been up and running years ago, at no expense to the public, attracting further investment into Sunderland.

Councillors George Howe, Bob Francis and John Wiper, Fulwell Ward

Mum’s thanks

I AM writing to say a massive thank-you to everyone involved at Sunderland Special Olympics for the amazing opportunities they give to people with learning disabilities.

Without them my eight-year-old son and many others like him would not experience the sense of pride and achievement he felt after bringing home three bronze medals from a swimming gala at Blyth on Sunday.

I really can’t thank them enough for their time, effort and patience. They put in to make a lot of people feel so special.

L. Irving, Hylton Castle, Sunderland

Treasured toy lost

ON Sunday, September11, we visited Dalton Park where our four-year-old daughter Eve accidentally left her most treasured position, Betty Bunny.  

She was left on a bench outside Sleep Masters, opposite the Hallmark shop around lunchtime. We did not realise Betty was missing until we arrived back home at around 2pm.

Betty is not just any usual cuddly toy. To Eve she is her best friend, and indeed goes everywhere with us, from days out to holidays abroad.

We were sure no one would want to take her home as she was probably too tatty to be loved by anyone else. Unfortunately, we got back to Dalton Park, searched and searched, asked in every shop and even checked the rubbish bins, but to no avail.

We are offering a reward for her return and are hoping that someone somewhere will be able to help us put a smile back on Eve’s face.

If anyone can help, we can be contacted on 0191 272 6211,

Sarah and John Johnson, Blyth

Futile question

COUNCILLOR Michael Dixon persists in asking the totally futile question “what would Labour have done about the economic deficit?” I think it must have escaped his attention that Labour did not win the last election (in fact neither did any other party, for that matter) and are no longer in power. So the question of what Labour would do is totally irrelevant.

What I can say is that Labour would have taken a more measured approach to the deficit, not the brutal attack on the poor, the sick, the old, the young, the disabled and every other disadvantaged group now being carried out by this “caring” Con-Dem alliance, which is using the deficit as a smokescreen to dismantle the Welfare State in an orgy of right-wing ideology.

Labour would not have raised VAT by 14 per cent, nor would they be spending £2billion on privatising the NHS. They would not be spending millions on redundancy and early retirement packages for public sector workers, nor would they have awarded the Thameslink contract to a German company, costing 10,000 British jobs.

They would not be spending millions on the hare-brained “free” schools policy, the sole purpose of which is to save school fees for the wealthy. Neither would they have taken £100 from the winter fuel allowance for the elderly or the £30 EMA from youngsters trying to better themselves.

Nothing of the above was, of course, mentioned in the Conservative Party’s mendacious election campaign and the Lib –Dem muppets, who sold their souls for a whiff of power, are condoning this carnage.

The irony is that after 18 months of austerity the economy is heading towards recession again and the deficit has actually increased, and they haven’t even started yet.

E. Royal, Sunderland