Letters, Thursday, April 5th, 2012

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Hurry up with the high-speed rail link

The headline read “Calls to bring high-speed rail link to Sunderland” (Echo, March 29). About time too.

I’ve, been pushing for this since Lord Adonis first announced High Speed 2 (HS2) in 2009 and was pleased to see a cross-party consensus from those members present last night.

A full high-speed link to Sunderland and the North East should be planned and its cost estimated along with the next extension from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester. If it is not, then, like having a fully-integrated motorway system through the North East, it will never happen.

We are not talking about one government or two here, but many over the coming years and the lifetime of building the system.

The Manchester and Leeds extension is not expected to be completed until 2032/33.

If plans are not finalised from day one, they will be pushed on to the back burner, never to be realised.

We don’t want promises that it will come to Sunderland in the next phase or sometime in the future, we want hard facts, plans, costings and a timetable.

I would dearly like to take my grandchildren from Sunderland to Paris on a high-speed train, but fear I, along with many in the council chamber, that day will never come for the people of our generation.

As for the suggestions concerning antiquated rail line and a poor station, you would need to build a brand new rail system anyway, so build a brand new station, linked to the current one via the Metro too.

If money can be found to create more HS2 tunnelling in the south to protect the countryside and its tranquillity, it can be found for a new state-of-the-art station to make the best of the new route.

Bob Price, Rydal Mount, Fulwell

Show ship support

After visiting Peter Maddison while he occupied the City of Adelaide ship in Irvine for over 28 days, I was struck by his absolute commitment, despite so many personal difficulties including cold, discomfort and poor communications.

After more than 12 years of campaigning and uncertainty, the Sunderland-built City of Adelaide is at a pivotal time in her almost 150-year life.

Much has been said and written in local, national and international media about the plight of Sunderland’s ship, the last and most important example of our magnificent maritime heritage.

I have been privileged to work with a number of key figures whose efforts to “Save Our Ship” have been instrumental in helping to stop the deconstruction (demolition) of our icon of Sunderland past, but more importantly, our future.

Achieving a sustainable future in Sunderland, generating jobs and offering training is the key.

Peter Maddison was with me when presenting a petition of more than 4,500 signatures to the then leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Colin Anderson, in June 2000 when our campaign started.

While many supporters have fallen by the “quayside”, Peter has been committed to the cause and continues to fight along with members of the Scarf organisation to bring City of Adelaide back home where she belongs.

Uncertainty about the ship’s future continues and nothing is concrete yet. Scarf needs your support.

They certainly have mine.

Alexander Renwick

Keep it in centre

A Motion was debated at the city council meeting on March 28 which called for support for the campaign to keep the Sunderland tax offices open.

This quite rightly gained the support of the full council and was carried.

It was pointed out by Coun Alan Wright, however, that the council should practise what it preaches and stop/reverse the policy of moving staff out of the city centre to Rainton, Leechmere and Jack Crawford House and also halt the planned decline of the leisure centre.

I would suggest this would, at a stroke, increase the spend in the city centre, probably by more than the £500,000 per annum that it is claimed the city would lose by the closure of the tax office.

Dominic McDonough (Silksworth Candidate)

Ban not a Ttonic

Now that Ttonic bar has banned chavs (Echo, March 30), I thought I would pay it a visit, but alas I was refused entry because of my 1970s star jumper and white chinos.

There was, however, admittance for Ken Barlow-types.

I’m sure I saw Mick ‘The Pen’ Brown being allowed in with his plus fours, deerstalker hat and monocle,with Scrabble board under his arm.

I bet he enjoyed his half of stout now that all the undesirables have been banned.

John Watson, Pensher View, Washington