Letters, Friday, July 12, 2013

Have your say

No surprise about the bridge fiasco

Is it really surprising our iconic bridge won’t be built. This is Sunderland, where everything always appears to go wrong.

Going back a few years, Sunderland put in for a grant to build a walkover bridge from Deptford to the Stadium of Light.

We were knocked back, but the same week Newcastle/Gateshead got the go-ahead for the multi-million pound “winking eye bridge” over the Tyne.

It appears it takes nothing to slap this council down and put them in their place.

If and when we do get the go-ahead to build our bridge, let’s build it with half a dozen arches, lit up red and white.

R. Knight

We want answers

Given the debacle over the proposed iconic Wear Crossing, senior figures in Sunderland Council, both elected members and officers must surely be considering their position.

How can the proposed scheme be so much over budget that it has had to be scrapped? How could they have got is so wrong?

After all they have worked on the scheme and estimates for a few years now!

It is enough that our civic leaders have once again reduced Sunderland and its citizens to a laughing stock but to have also cost the taxpayer what could amount to several million pounds in wasted, aborted costs it is now beyond the pale.

We now need the people at the top to be held to account and we need a full, detailed, audited account of what has been wasted on the aborted scheme.

This should be provided publicly without need for any councillor or freedom of information request.

After all, these costs for design, contract documentation and negotiations etc must be well documented and it is our money.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes, Sunderland.

What a welcome!

So no iconic bridge then. Well for me, the idea of it didn’t quite match the rest of the area anyway.

I mean, there’s certainly nothing iconic about Sunderland just now.

In fact, the city centre is in an unbelievably filthy state and no amount of flowers shoved into containers – let alone snazzy bridges – is going to disguise the fact. A dreadful mix of badly-stained paving, bird droppings, fag ends and festering bins greets you all over town. Wire brush and Dettol springs to mind... and plenty of the latter please.

Who in their right mind is going to bring visitors to this fag-end city? Perhaps a tiny fraction of the money saved by ordering a bog-standard bridge could be used in a wash and brush-up.

Edward A Etchells


Such a shame

WHEN I was a kid living at Knox Square. up Beaumont Street, Southwick, it was a lovely place to live.

When I had my last look at Southwick in 2010, I had different views about the place where I was born.

Where my house and the shops used to be, at the top end of Beaumont Street, there are now new houses.

But the bottom end of Beaumont Street, towards St Hilda’s Church, is still ugly.

The Green is also ugly at Southwick, and Southwick Road, before you come to the Green at Southwick, still has ugly shops.

Will that area ever be rebuilt to make Southwick beautiful?

Mr Whippy ice cream and Sykes pop all used to come around the Square in the 1950s and 1960s.

Now and then we used to see Benny’s ice cream horse and cart in the area.

It’s always a shock when you visit the area where you were born.

I look back with my memories and see Southwick now as a sad place.

I was born in Knox Square in 1950 and stayed there until 1969, when my family moved to Dame Dorothy Crescent. That house in Dame Dorothy Crescent is not there now.

My last visit to the area was in 2010 because it always depresses me to see Southwick now.

Edwin Robinson,

Zetland Square,


Off-road oddballs

What is it about people who have four-wheel-drive vehicles.

All these blokes who drive about in their four wheel motors seem to have “small man syndrome”. They look great driving about but when they step out, they are like Lord Farquhar from Shrek.

And when they let their wives or girlfriends drive them, they all seem to have dyed blonde hair and orange faces with massive sunglasses that practically cover their face – whatever the weather.

We should also ask why these vehicles are called “off-road”, as I’ve never seen any of them off road – just taking up space in built-up areas.

Ged Taylor,


We need new rules

There is a simple solution to the question of MPs’ pay. The already well-remunerated representatives of the people also receive handsome allowances with regard to travel, accommodation and secretarial expenses.

Put together, these allowances with salary and pension qualifications amount to more than £100,000 per annum – far more than the overwhelming majority of their constituents.

Let us ignore, for the moment, the ‘extras’ which come as a result of sponsorships, second jobs, consultancies and parliamentary junkets – did I mention subsidised food and drink within the House of Commons?

Each MP elected should earn no more than the average annual sum of their average constituent.

There may be, of course, frantic jockeying for ‘wealthy’ seats such as Tunbridge Wells or Kensington and Chelsea but seats in working class constituencies would attract potential MPs whose ambition would be fired by an intention to raise the living standards of their electors – not to line their own pockets.

It may surprise readers we once had such an MP – Bob Clay in Sunderland North – who took only the average pay of a bus driver, which he once was.

Middle class adventurer he may have been but he was true to his principles.

R W Stothard, Washington

Tories attacking

SO this heartless bunch of Old Etonian multi-millionaires, who by accident of birth have landed into a life of wealth and privilege, have finally announced the closure of the Sunderland Remploy factory. Their all-out attack on the sick, the low-paid, the unemployed and the disabled continues unabated.

The Remploy factories are not being closed to save money – they are being closed because they were set up in 1948 as part of the welfare state.

The Tories, of course, despise all aspects of the welfare state – it us completely at odds with Tory ideology, and they are currently dismantling it at an alarming rate.

And please don’t let’s have any letters from Tory apologists blaming the previous Government for the Remploy closures.

What do we call the Remploy workers thrown onto the scrapheap, deprived of their dignity and contact with their friends and colleagues – are they skivers, shirkers, spongers, malingerers or just plain benefit scroungers?

Name and address supplied.

Dark side of history

EVERY now and then, there is a discussion about what should be taught as history in our schools.

I suggest we should ignore Alfred the Great and Henry VIII and concentrate on the Opium Wars.

These wars were fought to force the Chinese to accept imports of drugs despite the best efforts of the Chinese Emperor to stop this pernicious trade.

He changed his mind when we sent gunboats to bombard five Chinese ports.

That was the sort of thing we did when the jackboot was firmly on our foot.

We can only hope that the Chinese are a forgiving lot and do not come asking for compensation.

B McGill,

South Bents.

Worried about fish

It is very nice to see the koi carp in Sunderland Museum when I take my grandchildren but I feel they are overcrowded as they are swimming in the aquarium pool.

The aquarium is approximately four yards by one and a half yards in length and two foot deep.

I counted around 50 fish – some are huge, about two foot long and seem to be swimming into each other.

In my opinion, there is not enough room. It would be nice to see the very big fish put into Mowbray Park lake as they have been in the same pool for 13 years or more.

I am concerned about them only swimming in one direction backwards and forwards in this tiny pool.

Name and address supplied.