Monday, July 11th, 2011

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Have your say

Loss of parking bays for disabled

OVER the last 18 month I have been watching the elimination of disabled parking bays and road space parking in the Pann Lane, High Street, Union Street areas.

First to go were two disabled bays in Pann Lane. This was a very good place for wheelchair users to get out as it is away from pedestrians. The council said it was because they had no legal status. Disabled can still park here, but only for three hours – previously it was unlimited.

Next, No Loading indicators applied to High Street kerbline. The existing double yellow lines allowed three hours’ parking.

Union Street. The footpath was widened. It was wide enough already, but this was a good way of eliminating four disabled bays, not the old yellow lines following the old lines of the kerb under the new footpath, just by the first litter bin.

These bays allowed disabled drivers to step out on to a footpath, much safer than stepping out on to a roadway.

The council replaced four disabled bays behind Jackie White’s Market, one re-used parking bay and three used the loading/unloading area for the market’s vehicles. Where are Jackey White’s vehicles supposed to unload?

As soon as a parking bay was marked up for disabled access, it was closed off due to the demolition of the car park, so Jackey White’s vehicles continue to use the bay lawfully. The relocation of these bays has moved the disabled parking further away from the central shopping area, which is the opposite to the intended objective for disabled parking.

When the road access is open to the public I can see disabled persons not using it as it is too far and blocked by Jackey White’s vehicles which have nowhere else to park.

P. White, Sunderland

The bare facts

RE Mick The Pen Brown’s letter about why the council wouldn’t make part of Seaburn Beach into a nudist beach, the answer is easy: the councillors in the area are Conservative.

If Mick and Tarquin want to hit a few balls, come to Cliff Park – but watch out for the dog poo.

G.Liddle, Roker

Group going strong

AS with Richard Mckie, secretary of Sunderland Indoor Bowls Club, who felt compelled to write a letter stating that his organisation based at Crowtree was thriving, on behalf of the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group, also based at Crowtree, I have to assure the public that our cardiac rehabilitation and general exercise sessions also still

continue to thrive at Crowtree over three mornings each week.

Since the recent announcement by the city council that from October only “block bookings”

would be accepted, people in Sunderland appear to believe that Crowtree has already effectively been closed.

Our group have signed a lease giving us security of tenure at Crowtree until at least next March. The group also has a verbal assurance from Coun Paul Watson, leader of the council, that if and when Crowtree does eventually close, we will be offered suitable alternative premises from which to continue our vitally important work.

The people of Sunderland may be assured, then, that no matter what the future of Crowtree,

the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group will continue its work offering NHS-approved, gym-

based, Phase iv Cardiac Rehabilitation in the Community to people with cardiac trauma.

Barry Cook, Secretary, Sunderland Cardiac Support Group

Club on the up

LAST season Sunderland averaged 40,000-plus for home games, even after a catastrophic period subsequent to the sale of Darren Bent last January. However, recent days suggest that the lessons of selling your best goalscorer in living memory without replacing him and operating with a very fragile squad numbers and quality wise, have been learned.

The signings of Wickham, Westwood, Larsson, Gardner and Vaughan are excellent ones, but the introduction of the Man United pair John O’Shea and Wes Brown emphasises just how much SAFC mean business in 2011-12.

This is a fantastic time to be a Sunderland supporter and surely season ticket sales should now go through the roof as the club have undoubtedly shown vision and ambition this close season in a manner not seen by the modern generation of Sunderland supporters.

Since Niall Quinn got involved and brought in investment and business acumen via Drumaville initially and now with Ellis Short, with David Milliband in the background, Sunderland are operating on a different planet and manager Steve Bruce has come to the fore with some brilliant signings after a partly self-inflicted struggle in the latter half of last season, so all credit to him.

If the manager can bring in an out-and-out goalscorer and a pacy wide player such as Nzogbia or Jarvis, this could be the best season at SAFC in recent memory.

Tom Lynn

Ideas for seafront

IF we are trying to attract visitors to our seafront, where are they going to park after we have sacrificed the car parks south of Morrison’s filling station?

In all towns and cities parking is a constant problem, hence the proliferation of ugly, expensive multi-storey eyesores. We have a good-sized unobtrusive parking area here and we are proposing to build over it.

The area we have has proved to be barely adequate at events such as the airshow. To further reduce these amenities can only result in fewer visitors instead of more. How long before we lose what was Seaburn Camp and the fields west of there? Not yet, but watch this space. They will probably be turned into car parks or built over.

What we really need are the basics: more seats on the prom, preferably facing the sea, and, even more basically, toilets.

In the days when visitors could be numbered in their hundreds, we were adequately provided for in this respect. Now that we are looking for thousands of visitors, we have had toilets closed down at the junction of Dykelands Road and Queens Parade and, of course, the toilets south of the bus shelter opposite the Recreation Park. Both of these were underground and therefore not an eyesore.

So there we have it. If we want more people to come to us, we need to provide more seats, car parking and toilets, not less.

The people who are tempted to move into the housing that will replace the much needed car parks will be told that the adjoining fields and skateboard park are the meeting place for people, mostly teenagers and younger, to drink themselves insensible and to do their glue sniffing and more.

One evening in early June I counted 43 young people drinking, vomiting and yelling abuse at all and sundry while burning barbecues and scattering litter far and wide, often within feet of litter bins which they also frequently set on fire.

Is the invitation to air your views on the Seaburn Supplementary Planning Document going to be yet another case where we, the public, give our opinions, only to have them ignored because the decisions have already been made by the usual people who always think that they know better than the people who will be paying for it?

Will I ever hear from anyone in authority about my concerns? No, I don’t think so either, just a deafening silence.

R. Dunn, Sunderland

Yobs in park

THIS is to the parents who allow their offspring to congregate in Barley Mow Park at the top of Villette Road on a regular basis.

Let me tell you they’re are not the angels you think they are. They systematically damage plants, benches and tennis courts – in fact anything in the park. Plants are stolen or thrown around. Someone even took the soil from the flower beds one day.

The bowling green is regularly cycled on, but it’s not only the offspring – parents have been known to walk diagonally across, pushing their buggies with their next crop while games are in progress.

All blame can’t be laid on their doorstep. The parks department in its wisdom has done away with security and park attendants, leaving the park wide open. There is a mobile security person who should lock the park each evening, but on numerous occasions they forget the postcode so most weekends you can see football or cricket games on the green.

By the time you read this, you will have seen the report of the latest activity in the burning of the bowls clubhouse. This building has been the hub of the park since 1928. We are not allowed in the club to see if anything can be salvaged.

This park is the only one in Sunderland without any means of security fencing, but even then I think gun turrets wouldn’t be the answer to the ignorant cheek and comments we receive from these hooligans.

Lastly can I say sorry to the reporter Marissa Carruthers for my unprintable comments on the subject of these hooligans.

George Gibson

Owners’ thanks

CAN we please take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped when our dog Alfie decided to jump into the sea off the pier at Seaham on Monday, June 27.

Without the people around at the time he wouldn’t be here today, and special thanks go to David Gillen and Micky Kennedy who jumped in to try to save him (However, boys, don’t try this again – you have a lot of living left to do).

Also to Roger Richardson who helped pull him up, not forgetting the girl’s towel which he covered in blood.

The vet says he will make a full recovery. However, he has no front claws left and he is feeling very sorry for himself.

Once again, thank you very much.

Corinne and Kevin Harrison, Seaham

Great wardens

WHY are people always having a go at our traffic wardens? I think that they do a great job in all weathers. I really admire them, and don’t they look smart in their uniforms?

It must be really hard work walking for miles with little thanks and then facing surly members of the public on a daily basis, many of whom think that the wardens are a necessary evil due to the crowded roads but give them little respect in any case.

In many instances the public dish out abuse and look for arguments when the simple fact is there would be no hassle if the motorist parked in a law-abiding manner, which, of course, I do.

I have noticed drivers leaving vehicles in many dangerous spots without any regard for pedestrians or other drivers.

Only yesterday I saw one driver attempting to leave his car on a very busy road, facing the oncoming traffic.

Thankfully, one of the lads slapped a ticket on his windscreen within minutes and, hopefully, a lesson was learned.

However, I think that the wardens should be given more powers. I would like to see them handing out fines for swearing in public, spitting and folk scratching themselves in inappropriate places.These type of offences rarely get punished and the police have more important matters to deal with.

In another life I would have liked to have been a traffic warden. I am sure I would do a good job.

So the next time you see a warden, give them a smile and a wave and I am sure you will find that they are not as bad as you think.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

This wasn’t justice

I CAN’T believe Kelsey Donkin got away with the terrible gesture she made to Pc Rathband. Sorry is just not enough.

She looked more like she was going for a night out than going to court.

Pc Rathband is a very brave policeman whose life changed when he lost his sight trying to protect the public.

I live in East Herrington and I was pleased to read she doesn’t live there any more.

I don’t believe for one minute she was making the gesture to her friend, and isn’t it funny that Pc Rathband never received the apology (what apology?).

I watched Pc Rathband on the Jeremy Kyle Show and I was crying. What a lovely man, a brave man.

Then you get an idiot who comes along and thinks it is a big joke.

She wants to be ashamed of herself, but of course she won’t. She will think this is another joke, getting such a light punishment.

Good luck, Pc Rathband. I hope you have a wonderful life.

God bless.

J. Nicholson, East Herrington