Letters, Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

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Support the Big Bus Campaign

I RECENTLY caught the 09.35 number 13 bus from Hall Farm Road travelling to the city centre. If I was looking for a leisurely tour of Sunderland south, taking in the spectacular panoramas and fascinating history of of Moorside, Farringdon, Lakeside Village and Silksworth, I would have been delighted. However, my objective was to catch the fast train to Newcastle leaving Sunderland at 10.10. The bus was on time, there were no delays and no problems, but the fast train had long gone by the time I reached the station.

When I first moved to Doxford in the 1980s, a big selling point for housebuilders was the rapid bus service which took just 16 minutes to reach the town centre. Now the service seems to be the province of school kids, pensioners and the reducing number of people who don’t own a car.

A public transport employee confided in me that many buses make profit as soon as they leave the depot due to taxpayer-funded subsidies. With no regulation they can choose routes to suit themselves rather than the public.

The poor Hall Farm service has a knock-on effect on other city problems. When faced with a choice of adding an hour to your working day and a cost of over £20 per week, many people who work in the city will take the car.

The quickest route to the town is over the Tunstall Hope road, and so as the population of Doxford area has grown there have been huge increases in the volume of traffic, the number of accidents and road maintenance costs.

Similarly, we all feel sad about the gradual demise of the city centre shops, but why would we take a bus to the town when it takes less time and costs less money to drive to the MetroCentre? I am sure that residents in other Sunderland neighbourhoods can identify similar problems with their local bus services.

The quality contract scheme for public transport has worked well for London, and Bridget Phillipson’s Big Bus Campaign is trying to have as similar approach for Sunderland.

Our bus companies are reluctant adopt a scheme that gives people a say about their public transport. It’s time to put pressure on them to provide a service that matches the needs of the public. Support the Big Bus Campaign and bring back the X13.

Dr Cameron Marshall, Silverdale, Thristley Wood, Sunderland

Wonderful staff

I AM writing to praise all the staff of Jubilee Nursing Home in Sunderland.

My sister Lil passed away recently and she spent her last couple of months in Jubilee House. The staff were fantastic and she loved them all. She always used to say to me they were all lovely to her. They were also lovely with us.

I thank you all for making her last few weeks happy ones and for the lovely send-off your gave her.

I’d also like to thank Stephen, the social worker. She also said he was lovely with her as well.

You hear so much that is bad about care and nursing homes, but Jubilee House gets top marks from me.

J. Hunter, West Lane, Hawthorne, Seaham

No democracy

ON August 7, the Echo carried a report about a plan to turn a stable into a holiday chalet. Sunderland City Council refused this on the grounds it would constitute an over-development and over-intensification of holiday accommodation in a green belt area.

For curiosity’s sake, had this been an application for a mosque this party would have passed it without any reservations.  

Democracy doesn’t come into the equation when the tail is wagging the dog with this lot in power. It gets right up my nose to think I supported these inactive, bloated political philistines for over 50 years.

W. Smith, Archer Road, Sunderland

Star’s sister

ABOUT 35 years ago I was working as a building surveyor with Sunderland Council on the improvements of houses in the Roker area. I remember being in a small cottage in Hartington Street talking to the old lady who lived there. She was thin and sprightly with grey hair. She asked if I had seen many of the Laurel and Hardy films. I think we talked a short while about the films and she told me she was Stan Laurel’s sister.

Being rather busy working at the time, I didn’t think to ask the old lady about her life and her famous brother.

Now, many years later, I wonder if my memory has served me right and Stan Laurel’s sister did indeed live in Hartington Street.

Does anyone know anything about Stan Laurel’s sister and if she lived in Hartington Street, Roker. Perhaps Sarah Stoner can help my fading memory.

O. W. Mussa, Strawberry Bank, Sunderland