Letters, Monday, January 30th, 2012

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Poor driving at roundabouts

DRIVERS in Sunderland need to learn how to use roundabouts and mini-roundabouts.

On large roundabouts, such as that at Doxford Park, the markings are clear, so you should stick to the lane. So, if you are going straight on towards Houghton from Sunderland using the outside lane, you should filter to the middle lane when told and not cut up the car that’s on the inside lane that’s also going straight ahead.

As for mini-roundabouts, these are usually ignored. It is simple: you give way to the right, even though some drivers appear to think not and others just come to a total stop and are baffled by something they learned in their driving lessons.

While the police like to talk about re-educating drivers about speed (that’s because it earns them money from fines) they should try watching the roundabouts and mini-roundabouts of the city and pull over those who think they can ignore the Highway Code. It is dangerous too.

The worst mini-roundabouts are in Thorney Close. Why did the council change the perfectly designed junctions and create areas of danger? I would suggest the council replace these pointless roundabouts and strange junctions on that estate and return them to the way they were designed to be.

In all my years of driving I’ve never seen such a complete mess of the road systems anywhere, and it’s high time the council did something about them. In some cases, the changes – still causing trouble years on – mean you can’t see oncoming traffic properly any longer, whereas the old way was simple.

I once broke down near there and the recovery driver said he was a regular on the estate to recover smashed-up cars after accidents due to confusion, particularly when the white lines fade, because the priority is completely at odds with how the road is laid out.

D. Alanson, Farringdon, Sunderland

Appeal thanks

I JUST wanted to convey my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the Echo Toy Appeal.

As a single parent to three children it is often a struggle to meet the costs of general living expenses throughout the year, but this pressure is magnified around Christmas.

The emotional and financial strain of providing toys for my children and managing all my other outgoings is very stressful and at times overwhelming.

However, thanks to the help I have received from Wearside Women in Need and the Echo Toy Appeal the burden was eased. Knowing that my children would have toys to open on Christmas morning was a huge relief (and the kids were overjoyed with what they received).

Thanks to people’s kindness and selflessness, myself and my children were able to have a very merry Christmas!

Thank you again to all involved.

A very grateful mam

Park group

AS chairwoman of the Friends of Rectory Park, I would like to point out that Coun Smith’s recent letter was incorrect in certain respects.

The Friends are completely independent of politics. They were started with the help of myself with the very kind assistance of officers from Sunderland City Council.

The group has some 30 members of all ages and walks of life. Our steady progress is down to this bunch of heroes and the guys from the council. Politics doesn’t come into it.

Just to make things completely clear, I would also like to point out that Houghton Ward has three councillors and Coun Smith is not one of them. He is one of the three councillors for Copt Hill Ward.

Sheila Ellis

Overdue books

RE overdue and missing library books, I applaud the University of Westminster’s policy, namely to ban students from using the library for the length of time that corresponds with how late their books are overdue.

Having recently accessed the minutes book of Houghton-le-Spring Branch Library Sub Committee 1937-1953, defaulters were initially requested to “return their books, pay the cost of replacement or appear at the Sub-Committee Meeting to state their reason for not complying with the Rules and Regulations”. As the situation escalated, borrowers were “given one more chance to acquaint the librarian of the reason for defaulting and that the borrowers failing to do so blacklisted and their borrowing powers cancelled”. At that time libraries liaised closely with headteachers of schools.

Although it is unlikely that the present outstanding fines and missing books will be recouped perhaps it is time, particularly in this present economic climate, to introduce more stringent measures and, hopefully, encourage more personal responsibility by users.

Brenda Graham, Oak Avenue, Houghton