Letters, Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

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Cities united in working for region

THE Journal’s front page headline yesterday, based on remarks by a senior Lib Dem, did a great disservice to the North East. Sir Ian Wrigglesworth seems to think our cities are at civil war. Well that might have been true in 1642, but as a comment on our current situation, he’s about 370 years out of date.

Let’s look at the facts behind the collaboration between Newcastle and Sunderland councils. We work closely together in many of the initiatives and institutions that benefit the daily lives of our residents – our transport system, our museums, our police, fire and rescue services, our work to promote jobs and investment across the region. Only last week we set out proposals for an extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro.  

And we have worked together to respond to the damaging impact of the Government which Sir Ian supports, including the abolition of our regional development agency. Sunderland and Newcastle stand shoulder to shoulder in lobbying the Government for more powers and funding for the North East. We work together to create the jobs of the future, in new sectors such as electric vehicles and offshore wind energy.

Of course our cities have a healthy competition between each other, particularly on the football pitch. We deplore the rare situations when this gives rise to violence, and we work together to ensure our two cities are safe. 

And, yes, sometimes the councils do disagree on the priorities for our cities. No other pairing of cities will see eye to eye on everything.

Perhaps rather than disparaging our joint work for the region, Sir Ian could join with us both in championing a better deal for the North East.

Coun Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council; Coun Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council

Carry out Vaux dig

I COULD not agree more with Keith Cockerill (Letters, September 9) about the Vaux site being excavated. What happens if a supermarket or something is to be built on the site and then work is halted because of some very important archaeological find?

The people of Sunderland have waited all this time for something to be built and then find that building work is held up on account of archaeologists. Won’t that be grand? The council are going to look pretty silly. It might even put off potential businesses from building there, knowing that the building work may be delayed on account of archaeology.

As far as financial outlay is concerned, why not organise a few car boot sales on the site to pay for archaeology to be done? The council may even get its money back if any gold is found.

I keep reading in the Echo that Sunderland is trying to attract business and people into Sunderland, but the City of Adelaide ship was rejected. The Nissan Leaf car was first put on show to be tried out by the public, not in Sunderland where it is built, but in Newcastle.

If cost really is the bottom line why not get the unemployed to dig the site or the community pay-back offenders? You could even just ask for volunteers. You can put my name down.

R. Tomlinson, Seaham

Seafront vision

SUNDERLAND’s proposed iconic bridge is well named, icons being craven images of little use except as monuments to the myopic vanity of local politicians.

Sunderland should have a new bridge of some substance and purpose. It should be over the harbour entrance, using the present piers as foundations to knit together the north and south coast of Sunderland from Seaburn to Seaham and that road should be wide enough for car parking on both sides so both locals and visitors will be able to walk, run, cycle and drive from Seaburn to Seaham with a view of the sea. There would also be seats which actually face the sea too.

To end erosion there should be a promenade from Hendon to Seaham and on that promenade can be built a fish farm growing things like mussels, oysters and cockles which would need a flow of sea water. When the mussels have sated their market the surplus can be used to farm lobster, crab and salmon and so will be ecologically self-sustaining.

On top of the mussel farm can be built flats, each with its own private balcony. The Roker population will live half a dozen floors up and the civic centre, the university at St Peter’s and the Central Library and Arts Centre can be relocated to Roker. These sites can then be used for housing, using what is now a barren area and giving it some use.

J. Young, Alexander Terrace, Fulwell, Sunderland

Boxers’ invitation

SUNDERLAND Ex-Boxers would like to invite new members to come along to their monthly meetings.

Young or old ex-boxers or boxing fans are welcome.

We meet on the first Sunday of every month, 12 o’ clock start, at the Railway Club, Holmeside, Sunderland.

Geoff Rushworth, Sunderland Ex-Boxers