Letters, Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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It’s high time civic leaders listened

THE Save our Libraries (SoL)campaigners have little chance of success now that the Labour-controlled cabinet has spoken.

 But there could be a sting in the tail for our civic leaders if the SoL organisers decide to put up rival candidates at the next local elections.

 I understand that the former Sunderland Echo journalist and Sunderland University lecturer Patrick Lavelle was so disillusioned about the way Sunderland City Council was being run he was about to organise a new, non-political party in the city – perhaps to be called Save Our Sunderland – but sadly he died before he could set the wheels in motion.

 Many years ago the council, in its wisdom, wanted to demolish the terraced cottages in Millfield, causing an uproar – and an electoral backlash.

 The Millfield Residents’ Association was set up, and if I recall correctly, the vicar of St Mark’s, the Rev Jim Taylor, and a university lecturer, Norman Dennis, were elected to the council and successfully fought off the ill-considered plans.

 Certainly it is high time the present city council was cleared of the Labour-controlled cobwebs, which have seen the city stagnate over the past few decades.

 It is also time that councillors, many without educational or professional qualifications but fiercely jealous of their positions of power, listened to the wishes of the electorate instead of adopting the “we know best” philosophy which will lead to the closure of nine of the city’s libraries.

 So, SoL supporters, how about setting up a new “Save our Sunderland” party to oust these Labour die-hards before they inflict further damage to our once-proud city?

Frank Johnson

City needs change

I APPLAUD Patrick Lathan’s letter (September 6) congratulating Dr T’s (Mick Thurlbeck) article and damning our civic leaders for not being publicly scrutinised for the scandalous waste of public money relating to the so-called iconic bridge.

 As far as his suggestion that, in many cases, this city is being led by amateur councillors, I’m afraid this too is true.

 Too many times I have witnessed committee chairmen being prompted by council employees as they haven’t a clue what’s going on or councillors speaking in committee, barely audible and unintelligible, as well as seeing written correspondence. Of course, we have some notable exceptions to whom I take my hat off: Sheila Ellis, Colin Wakefield and Derrick Smith to name but three.

 They have demonstrated fine professional and analytical skills in their support of objections from Houghton, Hetton and other residents over Biffa and the Broomhill and North Road Developments. Unfortunately, to no avail as this Labour Council hasn’t even bothered to wait for the result of the consultation residents were promised earlier this year – they simply bulldozed these planning approvals through.

 Let’s hope the people of Sunderland realise they must change the way they vote next May to change the way Sunderland is run.

Kay Rowham,

Easington Lane

Protect our wildlife

YOU MAY not have heard of my home in Kenya’s wildlife-rich Tana River Delta, and may know even less about the threat that it faced.

 You may be shocked to realise that this magnificent wetland was threatened by growing crops to put fuel in the tanks of the cars of British and European drivers.

 An area of over 420 square miles was under threat from companies wanting to plant crops to produce biofuels to meet the commitment of transport fuels containing biofuels.

 We have managed to fight off proposals for now. But this threat could return and other places may not be so lucky.

 At this time of year, many summer-visiting birds which have nested in England will be leaving your shores to spend the winter at sites in Africa, like the Tana River Delta. If we turn these sites into fuel depots, this natural heritage will be lost.

  I’m deeply troubled that my home is under threat to provide fuel for cars.

 Your MEP is voting on potential safeguards on EU biofuels law. If you share concerns please write to your MEP.

Jillo Kokani,

Chair, Tana Delta Conservation Network, Kenya