Letters, Monday. September 26th, 2011

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Answers needed on bridge stresses

I HAVE a copy of the September 2011 council newsletter entitled “A new bridge for Sunderland”.

There are two artist’s impressions that bear no resemblance in scale or location to the model on show in the council office in Fawcett Street.

The letter also reports that more than 80 construction industry representatives took part in a “Industry Market Sounding” event (whatever that means).

The letter also says: “Highly detailed presentations from the city council and technical consultants for the new Wear bridge crossing project were followed by a visit to the crossing site and group discussions on specific aspects of the project.”

In a shipbuilding town like Sunderland, there must be thousands of men wondering how the design calculates for the thermal expansion per degree Celsius and its effects upon the design. Have the calculations been made?

What will be the stresses placed upon the iconic bridge carriageway by changes in temperature of, say, minus 10˚C and plus 33˚C?

Isn’t it true that unequal lengths of steel cables of the iconic bridge have to descend from a great height at varying angles to a low-level carriageway that will contract at low temperatures and expand during hot weather? Under such varying conditions, what will be the stresses imparted to the fixed end of the planned new bridge?

These questions need to be asked before any reasonable public support for can be given to the council bid to the DfT.

The Vaux site has been vacant for the past 11 years. Matlock Street is still there inviting restoration of both a public right of way and an infinitely better east to west link road to the Metro rail underpass at European Way than the council’s barmy Sunderland Strageic Transport Corridor (SSTC).

All that is needed is a road bridge replacement of the Gill footbridge to achieve complete connectivity with the city centre of both the Vaux development and the Farringdon Row area.

The iconic bridge and SSTC at the site, arbitrarily determined by the Arc and the council is, in my opinion, completely unnecessary and undesirable.

Also they are damaging to the future prosperity of Sunderland by displacing valuable industrial riverside land.

Government funding is desperately needed for three new bridges … at Claxheugh, at the Gill Bridge ravine and a high-level river crossing from Matlock Street to the Stadium of Light.

Ron McQuillan

Get out of the EU

THIS country is massively in debt, but as in Greece, the people resent any measures to reduce the deficit. However, to tax the rich too highly (and many are rich only through inheritance) could drive away business from the UK.

The simple answer is to get out of the EU. Of course, this would not please the MPs and MEPs who think only of their self-serving interests.

The very urgent message to any government of any country is simply do not get into debt as people will simply not accept any job losses, tax increases or loss of privileges.

Portugal, Italy and Spain will follow the lead of the Greek residents. Just wait and see!

Marjorie Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Great trail day

ON behalf of the organisers of Penshaw Scarecrow Trail, I would like to thank everyone who helped in any way to make it such a special event. It was greatly appreciated by the committees of Penshaw Community Association and Old Penshaw Village Hall Fund.

There were more than 50 scarecrows. Some were made by individuals, some by local schoolchildren and some by local businesses. There were home-made refreshments in the village hall, organ playing and an exhibition of crafts in All Saints’ Church, plus pony rides in the village. Generous local businesses and residents donated prizes.

Many people in the area worked very hard to make our third trail so successful, and a big thank-you to the hundreds of visitors who came from all across the area to enjoy the fun.

We raised just over £1,000, which will be shared between Penshaw Community Association and Old Penshaw Village Hall Fund, both of which are registered charities.

Lesley Shale, Secretary of Penshaw Community Association

Train contract

THE awarding of Thames Link trains should be seen as a good sign for the North East. Siemens will be relying on North East labour to produce important systems for the new trains.

Labour should be happy that contracts from government are awarded on best value for the taxpayer as opposed to narrow national interest. After all, Labour-dominated Scotland was happy to award the contract for their new electric trains to Siemens, and the trains that carry North East passengers between Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool are also Siemens trains. As far as I’m aware, they’re doing a very good job.

Shaun Cudworth

Belittling our city

THE manner in which Linda Collings belittles Sunderland makes me wonder if she has joined the local Tory group.

She was at it again in her recent article where she used a Sunderland holiday brochure to worm negative answers out of innocent individuals. Did she explain to them that most holiday brochures exaggerate and titivate their areas in an effort to attract the punters? That’s something Linda doesn’t appear to do.

The mention of the old town hall and the civic centre remind us that all local authorities make wrong decisions at times, and it was a Tory council which destroyed our beautiful building, the old town hall.

Linda gave the impression (to any strangers) that our lovely coastline and accessible countryside are imaginary. Yet if she lifts her head out of the computer she would see it all before her eyes.

Linda allowed comments to be made in her column which suggested shops were closing down only in Sunderland. This is a fallacy. Osborne’s austerity measures have retailers all over the nation dropping their shutters for the last time, leaving many town centres looking like ghost towns.

For example, our city is not doing too badly in comparison to Dudley, Hartlepool, Margate, Stockport and West Bromich where between a third and a quarter of all high street outlets are empty.

At this time of year struggling retailers have to come up with three months’ rent in advance, so this dreadful situation will get worse unless Osborne changes course and follows Labour’s proven policy.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield, Sunderland

Right-wing views

A FEW of your correspondents, whose views are of a very right-wing persuasion, seem to think they can control us (to use their words) vermin and scum.

In my humble opinion, these people seem joyless, soulless and miserable, preferring to believe right-wing press fiction to science-based fact.

They don’t seem to like anyone who strays from their narrow view of humanity (anyone, in fact, who isn’t a clone of themselves).

They despise young people out of jealousy that they have lost their youth.

They believe their fellow humans should be hanged, flogged, imprisoned, starved or deported because of their own parodic fantasies.

The don’t believe we should have human rights, health and safety regulations or any safeguards against poverty. They also think prisons are holiday camps and people on benefits live lives of luxury.

They tell us multiculturalism has failed without providing any evidence. Their Philistinism prevents them from seeing the benefits to music, sport, literature, food etc of multiculturalism.

Would they close all Indian and Chinese restaurants and takeaways, I wonder?

Now that would be popular, wouldn’t it?

They are so crass they believe such drivel as, and I must laugh at the insane gullibility, Sharia Law is gradually being introduced to this country, some councils have abolished Christmas – or are trying to, EU regulations say we must eat straight bananas and the BBC is a Marxist organisation.

Some of them even claim to be Christians while completely misunderstanding or being ignorant of Jesus Christ’s Sermon On the Mount.

Go on, Echo, give them a page of their own.

It could be called Mein Kampf Revisited.

T. O’ Brien, Pennywell, Sunderland

Remembering a star

ON May 6, 1971, Dickie Valentine, the 50s crooner, was killed in a car crash.

His hits included All the Time and Everywhere, Broken Wings, Endless, Finger of Suspicion and Mr Sandman.

He mixed with British stars such as Alma Cogan, Michael Holliday, Joan Regan, Frankie Vaughan, Ruby Murray, and Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

He appeared on television shows like Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Holiday at Home, Hippodrome and Val Parnell’s Startime.

I won’t forget the great 50s crooner Dickie Valentine.

Terry Christie, Woodside Terrace, East Herrington