Letters, Thursday, July 26th, 2012

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Residents’ fears if centre goes ahead

THE Planning Committee will meet on July 31 at 5pm to decide if the proposed Islamic centre in St Mark’s Road will or will not be approved. The date and time will not help residents as many will not be able to attend, looking after children, at work, on holiday etc.

People keep calling it a mosque but a mosque is only one part of an Islamic centre. Prayer times, had this been open for July, would start at about 2.32am and it would be open seven days a week. The council garage is open between 7.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

It will clearly increase traffic, noise, people and parking problems at the site daily. The council garage is in a built-up residential area and has row of terrace cottages bungalows and other homes beside and behind it. There is a large nursing home near it, an Aldi store next to it and a small field opposite where children play and people walk their dogs.

St Mark’s Road is mostly terraced cottages and has a history of young and old being knocked over. Some have been killed. Last year two children were knocked over trying to cross it. One cottage has been hit by a speeding car and two others have nearly been hit. Most of the terrace cottages don’t have an upstairs so residents live and sleep at road level and all they have protect them from all the traffic whizzing past them is a narrow footpath and the front wall of their home.

The road is so narrow if you parked outside one you effectedly block off that side of the road and more cars will make it more difficult to see past them. What about emergency vehicle access, bin men, deliveries to Aldi and other larger vehicles which use the road daily? Residents are rightly scared of the major impact this will bring to their lives.

Residents are concerned about road safety, being woken up early in the morning and kept awake at night. People who rent can leave with little fuss, but homeowners can’t afford to move.

Personally, I have no problem with Muslims or any other religion having a place of worship, but when lives and jobs are put at risk you have to stand up and say it is wrong.

Residents hope the Ombudsman will get involved.

P. Thompson, Sunderland

Such generosity

MAY I please take this opportunity to send out my heartfelt thanks to Washington Pool League for their wonderful and very kind donation to Peter’s Trust Fund.

I was staggered by the amazing donation of £937, a wonderful amount raised by yourselves from your various pool teams. Your generosity really blows me away.

As with previous donations, this amazing sum has been placed in Peter’s Fund. We have already used some of this money by giving a donation to a brave little boy named Kian Armstrong who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment,

after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

He is doing very well with his treatment and to cheer him up his parents decided to give his garden a makeover. Our donation helped with this project and also bought him a new TV, so like me I hope you are all very proud with the knowledge that each and every one of you has helped in some small way and brought many smiles to Kian’s face.

Another donation will be going to our chosen charity for this year which is the RNLI (Sunderland lifeboats). The rest of the money will stay in the fund but you can be assured that it will be put to effective use by helping some other charity appeal over the coming months.

I close by saying again thank you so very much. Your continued support to Peter’s Fund is inspiring to all.

Julie Reay, Queen’s Crescent, Sunderland

Animal slaughter

I HAD not been aware previously that halal meat was used in Subway shops. I would be interested to know what the rules are in this country about the slaughter of animals for food. Was I wrong to think halal was allowed for Muslims etc and kosher for Jews, but otherwise animals should be stunned before slaughter?

I care very much about animal welfare and do not wish to buy halal or kosher and object to shops selling it without informing their customers what it is. Is it common practice these days that halal meat is used by cafes etc without the general public being aware. What is the RSPCA’s opinion on this problem and what is the British law?

Joyce Dixon, Newbottle

Thanks to finder

I WOULD like to thank the person or persons who visited the Lidl store in Roker Avenue on July 6 and handed in my mobile phone to the security guard in the store.

It means alot to me to know that there are still some honest people around. I for one didn’t expect to be reunited with my phone.

Thank you again

J. Leithes, Norley Avenue, Sunderland

Town twinning

THE excellent item on Martine Coquiec, the French teacher from one of our twin towns, St Nazaire, whose period of teaching at Castletown Primary School has come to an end, jogged my memory when I went with Coun Len Harper to Copenhagen in 1974 to try and form a town twinning arrangement with Bronby new town.

Our officers were Brian Oglemorpe, headteacher of Oxclose Community School, and John Kinnison, local Lloyds bank manager, but town members then just did not want to know.

Nevertheless visits were made via coach to St Nazaire and we hosted in return, in our own homes, St Nazaire officers. Even with our other twin town, Essen, continuity has died a death, in these economic times, but Seaham Town Council still manages today even longer in twinnings. But we can still welcome 40-50 international students to our city annually with the co-operation of our university and Age UK Sunderland.

Town twinning on a whole is more educationally and socially run, residents only going on holiday to Europe.

Bill Craddock, Donvale Road, Washington

Bike menaces

I WAS walking along in High Street West when two bikers decided to mount the path where I and others were walking. They were expecting people to move out of the way.

The other week I was walking along Wearmouth Bridge. This biker was on his bicycle without any care. He was riding one-handed and in the other hand he had his phone to his ear and he was swaying about.

The odd ones on bicycles will just whizz past you with no care at all.

What I’m getting at here is these grown-ups should learn how to ride and handle a bicycle properly. It’s not the kids that teachers should teach the correct way to handle a bicycle, it’s the grown-ups.

Some of these riders go along on the path and then the road and then again on the path – like joy riders.

Edwin Robinson, Zetland Square, Sunderland

Long live Gala!

I READ John “the Pun” Watson’s letter (July 20) about his suggestion to scrap Durham Miners’ Gala and I am sure I am not alone in disagreeing with his comments.

At this year’s event, I saw an old miner, Norman Raine, with New Herrington Lodge’s banner. He was wearing the orange NCB overalls, a white helmet and lamp, plus the New Herrington Miners’ Banner Partnership medal around his neck. The chap was smiling proudly and rightly so. People like him are not an “embarrassment” as suggested in the letter by Mr Watson.

Thanks to Norman Raine’s efforts, and those of many others in the region, local children are taught about their mining heritage. Many in Houghton, for example, do not even know that a colliery existed.

It is vital that the tradition of the Miners’ Gala continues, not just for the sake of our heritage, but for the boost it brings to local shops, businesses, pubs and hotels.

Long live the Gala!

Paul Lanagan, Chairman, Houghton-le-Spring Heritage Society