Letters, Friday, March 1, 2013

Have your say

Don’t bring down town’s reputation

LIKE many other Houghton residents, I attended the planning meeting to discuss the proposed new blasting at the Biffa site in Houghton.

 Having heard the latest in a long line of scaremongering half-truths from the Rats, I expected them to give a robust strong defence.

 The reality was totally different. As a result of amateurish tactics, the Rats found themselves in a position where they could do nothing to influence the decision or even raise concerns.

 The proposed blasting at the quarry is a temporary thing deemed an essential as part of the remedial work to make the site safe. The Houghton Labour team is determined to ensure that any remedial work is essential in order to end quarrying and landfill activity and so provide a foundation for re-development.

 We want to ensure the minimum of disruption and risk to residents. We also hope that this is the end of the work at the quarry.

 At the meeting, I raised concerns that if the proposal was accepted what impact would the blasting have on Houghton residents properties and who would be liable? Due to the volume of the rock to be blasted there is also great concern about the noise disruption. The blasting that was done some time ago caused damage to residents homes near the landfill and we don’t want this to happen again.

 I also raised concerns about the scope of the application. Is it purely for ‘blasting’ for Health and Safety reasons? Officers assured me that this was purely for Health and Safety Reasons.

 It was Coun Dennis Richardson who gave a strong lead in the meeting and forced a deferment of the decision and sent Biffa away to look for other alternatives.

 As the long overdue Biffa trial comes to an end, the focus turns from the pros and cons of landfill to how do we make the most of the opportunity to redevelop the site?

 The RATS’ tactic of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to win votes continues to be unnecessarily damaging Houghton’s reputation.

 Houghton is a great place to live with a strong community spirit. It is time to build on the positives and let people know what Houghton has to offer.

 I believe Houghton people need a strong voice in the council chamber to ensure that we get the support that we need to maximise our town’s potential.

 What we don’t need is a blinkered group of self-serving individuals who are bringing down the reputation of the town.

Gemma Taylor,

Houghton Labour Party Spokesperson

No definite plans

AS a former life-long Labour voter, I wrote to my MP and as part of my letter mentioned the debacle concerning the closure of Crowtree Leisure Centre at the end of the letter. This must have been forwarded because a note was attached to her reply from someone called Colin Clark.

 He wrote: “The council has announced its plans to bring forward the Crowtree site as a development opportunity for new city centre uses, primarily retail. This will involve the demolition of the Crowtree Leisure Centre, with the exception of that part of the structure which is integral to The Bridges. The location of the site is such that its development would be a logical extension to The Bridges.”

 So there you have it. As predicted in my previous letter to this newspaper, there are no definite plans by the council as to what that development will be, only weasel words. As things stand the existing public leisure facilities will be wiped out for some ‘pie in the sky’, possible future development.

 We, the electorate, are not to be informed as to what that development will be or what market research or similar has been carried out to justify this decision.

 Another Vaux site looms and without the added bonus of another set of artists impressions.



Power stations

THANKS to the EU, we have to close a third of Britain’s coal-fired power stations and all our oil-fired power stations to abide by the terms of the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive.

 This was agreed by the last Labour government.

 We will then be heavily dependant on Russian gas and have to spend billions on new nuclear provision and renewable energy.

 We should keep open our power stations.

Marjorie Matthews,


What a moaner

IT’S about time ‘Mick The Pen Brown’ was renamed ‘Mick The Moan Brown.’

 Who is this Brown guy? Probably another old benefit scrounger.

 He should tell all the readers how old he is and what he does for a living – apart from driving around looking for something to moan about.

 Some of these old drivers probably drive better than him anyway. They keep their eyes on the road, instead of looking where their next moan is coming from.

 He probably looks in the mirror every day and thinks: “Nothing interesting there, I’ll have to go out.”

John A Stott,



Poverty shame

READING the Echo on Wednesday, February 20, I was dismayed to read that in Sunderland alone we have 17,181 children living in poverty.

 I would be very interested in reading more of Monica Turnbull’s idea of poverty.

 I was born in 1942. Yes – a war baby. This idea of five–a–day, we would be luck to get one–a–fortnight.

 I, being the youngest of four boys, had hand-me-downs, I even remember wearing clogs.

 As boys we used to search out pop bottles in bins to return for money to buy chips and sweets (if we had coupons) or to visit Cora Cinema.

 Holidays were for rich people. We visited Whitley Bay once a year. We had a one-and-a-half mother, who did many things for us, and a half father, when he was around.

 We, and friends had to amuse ourselves and had to make up our own games, no mobile phones, no house phone, no plasma television, no Sky TV, no video, no smoking, no drinking – until you had a job – no bingo, no drugs, no multi-electronics.

 We used newspapers between our blankets to keep warm. And, like today, we lived in luxury compared with many others in the world.

 We have lost many men and women in two wars to make this a better country. Now we must live with the shame of admitting “we have children living in poverty”.

 How could our Government allow us to admit this with so many millionaires in the country?

 By the poverty list in Washington alone, there is supposed to be a total of more than 3,000 poverty stricken children.

 In my 14 years in Washington I have not seen one of them. (I must get out more).

 My mother went without many things to keep our family living decently, I wonder how many present parents go without for their kids?

 We give millions of pounds to Children In Need all over the world. That is a luxury we give – now we have to admit that we need some of that money back for our own children.

 Very ashamed.

John A Stott,


Lost bus pass

BEING a rather clumsy and forgetful OAP, I find that I have lost my bus pass. It was probably on February 20 or 21 and likely in the High Barnes area.

 In the unlikely event of it being found, would the finder please give me a ring. I’d be most grateful.

Ken Wilkinson

0191 514 1234

Dedicated staff

I WOULD like to say a big thank you to the Macular Unit at the Eye Infirmary for the dedicated help given to me by the lovely caring and professional staff each time I attended.

Mrs Taylor,

Red House

Get in touch

I WOULD like to get in touch with one of the two ladies, Sandra Brass or Linda Forster, who had an article in the Echo on September 26, 2002, along with the photo of Green Terrace School.

 My contact details are 0191 551 0960

Christine Murphy

Thanks for help

THANKS to the gentleman who came to my rescue, after a fall in Fawcett Street at the No. 23 bus stop on Thursday, February 21.

Jean Dixon,


Show support

WE would like readers to support Self-Harm Awareness Day 2013, which is today, by joining thousands of people tweeting and talking about the issue.

 Self-harming among young people has risen dramatically in the UK in recent years. It has been estimated that one in 12 young people in the UK have self-harmed at some point in their lives, but we believe that this figure could be even greater.

 Despite this, the subject remains taboo and many thousands of young people who self-harm are suffering in silence.

 Our aim is to get the nation talking about self-harm, so that we can challenge the many misconceptions around why young people do it and how we can best support them.

 You can find out more about Self-Harm Awareness Day on our websites and join in the debate on twitter via #selfharm.

Sue Minto, Head of ChildLine,

Rachel Welch, Director, Selfharm.co.uk,

Emma Thomas, CEO, YouthNet, the charity behind TheSite.org,

Sarah Brennan, CEO, YoungMinds