Letters, Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

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Council should listen to people

READING the Letters Page on Friday, September 16, it looks like another nail in Crowtree Leisure Centre’s coffin by Sunderland City Council. The soft play area and sauna are due to close at the end of October.

Why can’t the council listen to the people of Sunderland? We need a leisure centre in the city centre as all local transport goes there. We are often told that we should lead a healthly life style but how is this going to be possible when leisure facilities are being closed down? The Aquatic Centre may be useful for people who are using it for fitness purposes only, but young children see exercise as fun, not hard work.

Sunderland needs facilities that will attract families as well as all other age ranges. For example a fun pool, ice-rink, sports hall and soft play area. This could also bring more people to Sunderland, which means that the council won’t be short of the “money they don’t have”.

There is no need for more shops where Crowtree is situated as many of the shops there are either closed or are closing down. Look at Blandford Street and Holmeside. They are examples of where the new shops that are meant to be put in place at the leisure centre could be placed.

I, along with many other people in Sunderland, believe that Crowtree should stay open and be refurbished to be used as the leisure centre it once was.

Sunderland City Council need to take their heads out of the sand and listen to what the people of this city actually want, otherwise by the time it comes to the local elections, many people will want a new council.

Rachel Hull, Coniston Avenue, Sunderland

Unite for our city

OUCH! I certainly hit a spot with the letter about the Mayor’s car. I was a tad confused by the response of Tory councillors. I cannot comprehend the theme of Coun Wood (Letters, September 14), and Coun Morrissey (September 16) was equally baffling, mainly because I did not understand the big words. Then again, what can you expect of a daft lad from Johnson Street?

A personal attack (rather than providing supporting arguments) was correctly predicted by my senior war cabinet members when drafting the initial letter. Despite our researchers confusing Staffs with Tyne, we followed the advice of our chief whip and also the communications department and included the statistics. It seemed obvious that anyone with half a brain would notice the intern’s error. There again, for a party who did not know what was happening with the new pool in South Tyneside until a stranger on the shore told them, it’s hardly surprising they missed it. (I am told the pool project has only been on the table since 2008).

To reiterate my appeal to all councillors, not just this intrepid party: could you cease blaming all but yourselves and concentrate on putting the city back together, please. In case you have not got the drift of the resident’s observations, we are rapidly deteriorating and becoming an embarrassment to the outside world.

We need leadership from a combined front, not just the party in power. Personal gratification must go out the window when we are stagnating as we are.

 As for taking the lead on reducing allowances – a suggestion. Councillors don’t have to accept them. It would be a great example of your convictions to forgo them. Just do your bit for the good of the city, as many of us try to do. Go on, I dare you.

Dr Mick Thurlbeck

Boundary changes

IN your article “Redrawing the Map” (September 14) Wearside Labour MPs Julie Elliott and Sharon Hodgson accuse the Coalition Government of “gerrymandering” constituency boundaries.

If this is so, I hope they will demonstrate their convictions by calling for an inquiry into the Boundary Comission for England which actually drew up the current proposals, as it is supposed to be an independent body. If they have any evidence of wrongdoing on its part they will then have the chance to make it public. If not, then perhaps an apology might be in order ?

As for Julie Elliott’s assertion that huge differences in electorates (favouring Labour) are in order because certain seats are thought to have many inhabitants who are not on the electoral register, could she possibly inform us when this has been a deciding factor in any previous boundary redrawing under any administration ?

The truth is that Labour has been greatly advantaged by the huge disparity in constituency electorates in recent years – they were silent then. Only now that the playing field is at last being levelled do they cry “unfair”.

Coun Tony Morrissey, Conservative, Barnes Ward

Sunglasses plea

THE Versace-marked sunglasses with one covered lens, lost on Friday, September 16, in Matalan Clearance Store at Riverside Retail Park, are urgently required by someone who has recently had major eye surgery.

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone finding them would telephone 528 6977. They will be given a £10 reward in appreciation.

M. Murray, Sunderland

Deficit denial

YOUR correspondent E Royal, (Letters, September 17), was good enough to call me Councillor Michael Dixon but I have to correct him as in last May’s local election, just over 200 St Chad’s Ward voters considered my Labour opponent a more worthy choice to represent them in that role.

I appreciate his kind mistake, nonetheless

It is verging on a waste of time asking Labour supporters/politicians where they would cut the deficit – incredible considering they ran the country for 13 years until 2010.

Many of those who oversaw our finances and watched their party knight banker Sir Fred Goodwin (RBS) and work closely with Labour supporter Sir Victor Blank (Lloyds TSB) are still in place in the Shadow Cabinet, such as Balls, Cooper and, of course, good old Liam Byrne.

Labour seem to either show an indifference to the scale of the deficit they left the current government and/or are unable to accept any responsibilty for its creation, such as Lord Mandelson’s spending spree leading up to the general election. The best we have had from Miliband E is a typically meek understatement when admitting that Labour that did always spend every penny wisely.

In a total dereliction of not only their responsibilty for their past errors but also a duty as the alternative Government in waiting, E Royal states “the question of what Labour would do is totally irrelevant”. A remarkable political statement.

I wonder if that reaction to the deficit is official Labour Party policy because if the word gets around it is, Miliband E could well find himself in opposition for a good while to come.

So long as anyone who supported the recently departed Labour Government, including W. Quinn, who I was pleased to see also entered into this debate, criticises the spending plans of others, they are going to be asked, whether they like it or not, “what would you do?”

The more they bluster and avoid a straight question, the longer they will lack credibility as a party ready to govern this country.

Michael Dixon, Sunderland

Unelected peers

EASY for Malcom Pratt to talk about unelected peers. Labour did nothing for 15 years, then the great working-class hero John Prescott, along with many other ex-Labour MPs, joined the late rush to the unelected Lords before any reform took place.

Just a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

What’s the bet there will be new barriers to change of an accountable second house?

Shaun Cudworth

A different view

RE. the letter (September 14) with derisory comments about the criticism of the degradation of this city, I hope that the writer, who reminded us of our “city jewels”, went over to the other side of the river and noticed the dereliction and degradation of the bottom of High Street’s old historic shopping centre from the north side.

I wonder if he would wax lyrical about what he sees from that angle. All this is situated approximately one hundred yards from where his photographic explanation was observed from the south side. The boarded-up pubs, which I am sure impress our overseas student population who would be sitting in the university, across the river, studying and believing all that they observe. Tourists having refreshment in the Glass Centre restaurant would equally be impressed.

I do hope that he enjoyed the fish he had purchased from a run-down fish quay. If he looked at the signposts, they are directing him to the “Exchange Fish Quay”. This would impress any tourist entering the city from the south entrance.

Being a lifetime resident of this city, my concern is that having a blinkered view is not being progressive and a complete misrepresentation of the truth.

The condition of our major attractions is of rapid deterioration.

Before commenting and putting pen to paper, Ken and Fred should have taken the advice of the advert on the television and “gone to SpecSavers”.

Jack Thompson, Sunderland

Daughter’s thanks

I WOULD like to send sincere thanks to the doctors and staff of Ward C34 and B21 of the Sunderland Royal, who looked after my mother, Mrs Eleanor McCormack, in the last days of her life.

The compassion and dedication and nursing skills shown to my mother, I will never forget.

Mrs S. Douglas, Bexhill Square, Town End Farm, Sunderland