Letters, Friday August 10th, 2012

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A sorry tale of two cities’ architecture

I recently read about the fluctuations of population between our two cities of Sunderland and Newcastle and the ongoing revelations that while our population is diminishing, the population of Newcastle is burgeoning to the point that, population-wise, we are now the smaller city, albeit not in area, I think.

Now as you know I am always banging on about old Sunderland buildings being consigned to the dustbin of history thanks to that awful word “progress” .

Since I last ventured into this subject matter, I have learnt that the majority of Villiers Street is boarded up, in all probability, awaiting even more destruction of the oldest part of Sunderland.

The former Gas Works offices, in Hind Street, are to become a hotel.

My main point of all this is that Newcastle, after Hitler’s bombing, did not have a council eager to eradicate the past as is our council’s wont (apart from Monkwearmouth Station, thank you) and that my goings-on have made the people of Sunderland compare the two cities and decide that they like the architecture through there and have forsaken Sunderland to swell Newcastle’s population.


Alan ‘The Quill’ Vincent

Old Penshaw

Assessment anger


AM writing to express sympathy with Fred Kennedy for the ordeal he suffered undergoing his assessment for sickness benefit.

I was also subjected to a similar assessment in January this year with similar results.

The assessment process is unfair and heavily weighted against the claimant to the point where the nurse carrying out the assessment is able to ignore the opinion of both GPs and hospital specialists when I suspect they are not properly qualified for such a task.

It seems the only priority they are interested in is to fail as many claimants as possible by whatever means they can, despite their medical condition or disability, in order to meet predetermined targets.

 The copy of the assessment I received was little short of a pack of lies and misquoted statements, all designed to fail the applicant.

The appeal process offers little or no protection as it simply uses this flawed report to reach its decisions without referring to further specialist opinion.

It is a matter of great concern when a relatively-unskilled nurse is allowed to countermand the opinion of the doctors and hospital consultants after carrying out a short and very basic examination.

 People do not choose to become disabled and their condition is often the result of a lifetime’s work.

To allow them to be subjected to these assessments and the manner in which they are carried out, is nothing short of disgraceful and it is time action was taken to protect disabled people.

 I too was told I was fit to work, despite having serious medical problems. This in turn led to a deterioration in my condition when I tried to work.

I have not worked since and now have to live off my savings, such as they are.

 I have submitted complaints to both the DWP and the General Medical Council regarding the matter. Whether I succeed or not is debatable, but it is the only course of action I can take.

I would suggest that anyone else who has been subjected to these same biased assessments and are unhappy with the results, should consider a similar course of action. It is only in this way that the problem can be resolved and a fairer system to help disabled people can be introduced, a system based on fact and the needs of the claimants.

Mr C Richardson,


A cut too far

HOW sad and a tragedy that the Bridge Women’s Education Project, with three Washington and one Chester-le-Street complex, has gone into administration, after all its years of public service.

 We have also to remember the savings/cutbacks the city council made last year, this year and next year mentioned.

Charities and the voluntary sector are not immune.

 Whilst the success of our Olympic Games is on track, we also have to remember that some major past manufacturing industries are now not in our hands. A past trade unionist said in public: “We won the Second World war, but have lost the economic war,”

Was he right?

Bill Craddock,

Donvale Road,


Calling all writers

COALFIELD Writers are looking for new members when we meet after our summer break on Tuesday, September 11.

 We are a small, friendly group of creative writers who meet in the library in the Hetton Centre, the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month, 1.30-3.30pm.

For further information please feel free to contact me.

Brenda Graham,

Oak Avenue,