Letters, Thursday, May 17th, 2012

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Back campaign to reopen Crowtree

AS readers well know, I am almost always going on about the destruction of old Sunderland and this missive is no exception, albeit on a totally different tangent.

You see I well remember the destruction of Crowtree Road and the surrounding streets, the “best example of Victorian street design in the country”, as said by an expert whose name unfortunately escapes me at this moment of time, but when the sight that is the leisure centre was built, with “Britain’s largest single roof”, my heart sank even further from the loss.

However, over the years I’ve grown fond of the place and I have been saddened by the piecemeal closing down of certain areas, the ice rink, swimming pool etc, the likes of which were ideal for children to enjoy splashing about rather than just swimming in the immensity of the Aquatic Centre.

I peruse the internet now and again and I have found a campaign known as “Bring Back Crowtree Leisure Centre” and I highly commend the efforts of this worthy enterprise.

The general consensus by the powers that be is that the centre is in such a state of disrepair that it would be cheaper to pull it down. However, recent photographs of the closed areas show that, basically, all it needs are the cleaners sent in and the ice rink fixing, so I say help Chester The Crow in his endeavours to fully reopen the leisure centre by searching online for the petition to save the leisure centre and please sign.

Then perhaps the destruction of the “finest Victorian street design in the land” will not have been in vain and the children of Sunderland can once again have somewhere to just splash about in and have fun.

Alan “The Quill” Vincent, Old Penshaw

Let’s work together

I WRITE to express my thanks for the recent election result in Millfield. This may surprise some, given that I came last. Nevertheless, I am very grateful.

The Millfield result was one of the most important in the Sunderland local elections.

My opposition included the National Front and a sitting Liberal Democrat councillor, standing for a severely discredited party. It was therefore with some delight that I witnessed Bob Price of the Labour Party storm to electoral victory. If I wasn’t an opposition candidate, I would have voted for him. Bob appears to be a credible socialist with values I admire.

Nevertheless, while I may celebrate his victory, it is vital that the Green Party stands candidates as widely as possible. The politics of the old parties has led to increased inequality, political disengagement and a decade of warfare.

But it isn’t all about elections. We can resist the cuts and fight for a better deal for hard-working people across Sunderland. We can work together and take action to build a better future. To find out how, come along to our next branch meeting at 2PM on Saturday, May 19, at the Minster (Choir Room). Let’s work together.

If you have any concerns about your area of Millfield you can contact me at helmut.greenparty@yahoo.co.uk. I will work for the people of Millfield all year round.

Helmut Izaks, Green Party, Millfield

Cycling dangers

A RECENT correspondent complained about people cycling on pavements. While I don’t condone such activity, clearly, he wasn’t a cyclist himself or he would be aware of the numerous difficulties and risks there are for those riding a bicycle on UK roads.

Unlike several of our European neighbours, Britain has (with few exceptions) an abysmal cycling infrastructure which makes using city roads a hair-raising means of travel. Just try cycling from Wearmouth Bridge to Queen Alexandra Bridge without using pavements, for example.

Even if there are cycle lanes available – usually just a painted section of the road, without segregation from motorised traffic – you normally have to contend with glass and other debris, manhole covers with raised edges, drains, badly repaired surfaces, parked vehicles etc.

Worse still are the many potholes in our roads. Swerving to avoid these invariably takes you into the traffic lane with the risk of collision.

Compare this with The Netherlands, where there are properly surfaced and maintained urban, inter-city and rural cycle paths everywhere, usually segregated from motor traffic and pedestrians, often with their own lighting and safe intersections when meeting with motorised traffic. If they can do it, why can’t we?

With the availability of a cheap, healthy and green means of transport, you would think that Government and local councils would be doing their utmost to promote and support cycling in Britain. Instead, we pay lip-service to that ideal and pander instead to those who spend their lives being ruled by the tin chariot.

Edward A. Etchells, Friarage Avenue, Fulwell, Sunderland