Letters, Saturday, May 21st, 2011

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Ambition needed over Vaux site

MICHAEL Tuckwell (Echo, May 17) has once again brought a positive idea into the arena with regard to the future use of the Vaux site, with his suggestion that a major music venue for Wearside should be built there.

He should liaise with the people behind the likes of The Bunker and others in the local music scene. Wearside, in tow with County Durham and South Tyneside, has a huge catchment area that would support an innovative music venue.

It was, however, disappointing to see Sunderland City Council’s head of planning and environment say that: “We know what we want from the site – a new central business district which will become the Doxford International of the city centre.”

Why can’t this site be a mix of business, retail and quality hotel-leisure complexes? Look at the drastic lack of accommodation for the Stadium of Light Take That and Kings of Leon concerts. Has Wearside not got enough empty business space, enough uninspiring, boring out-of-town retail parks, enough supermarkets built in ridiculous locations and an appalling city centre that the Vaux site could help regenerate?

Just about every other former major industrial port in the UK – even Hartlepool – has built excellent waterside environments that people flock to. The Vaux land overlooks the river in a prominent position and deserves far better than to be another business site. It is a well-known fact that people love to live and socialise by water. Why can’t some quality, glass-fronted hotel and bars be built overlooking the river? Why can’t the council go to major retailers and attract them to a supposedly flagship site?

SAFC’s Gary Hutchinson, head of venue and events at the club and Sunderland Area NECC chairman, has shown what can be done to attract top names to Wearside, and the movers and shakers of Sunderland must impress upon the council that the Vaux site must be something special that will help regenerate a once proud industrial powerhouse of a city as soon a s possible.

Whatever your thoughts on Take That as an act, they are starting an apparently unprecedented major tour on Wearside and SAFC have succeeded with ambitious policies that have come to fruition due to their professionalism.

The council must do the same with the Vaux site and should invite local visionaries on board to help them achieve more ambitious goals.

Tom Lynn

Special thanks

THANK you very much to J. Cummings Fruit and Veg, Town End Farm, for the kind donations to a cancer patient and his family, also to Micky Stevenson, manager of the Halfway House, for funding a charity pool trophy which was won by J. Smith, L. Mooney and P. Thompson.

J. Smith

Amazing staff

ON May 2 my two-and-a-half-year-old son pulled the mantlepiece on top of himself and had a very bad cut to his head. I was a complete mess, very scared and didn’t know what to do.

I would just like to say a very big thank-you to everyone involved in the treatment of my son, from the operator on 999 who sent the ambulance and kept me calm to the paramedics who took us to the hospital in the ambulance, the A&E staff, x-ray staff, porters, theatre staff who cleaned and stitched his forehead with 20 stitches and all the staff on ward F63 who looked after us for the night.

You are all amazing people to deal with that kind of thing day in and day out.

My son made a card for the hospital staff and one for the ambulancemen, but since we took the card to the hospital he has had nightmares waking him in the night.

 I’m sure he will be fine but that is all thanks to the wonderful people who helped us. Thank you all.

Katy Taylor and Dan King,

Pennywell, Sunderland

Not socialism

TO state that Labour are, or ever were, socialist is to misunderstand and or misrepresent, the fundamental nature of an alternative society.

As I have stated many times on the Letters Page, socialism is not merely a different way of running capitalism.

That is what Labour have always offered. It is not enough that if something is stated and restated enough it becomes fact. This is simply not the case.

What emerged from the Unofficial Labour Representation Committee in 1900 was a commitment to set up a party at a later date that had, as its sole mandate, the amelioration of the impact on workers’ lives of capitalism.

It was to reform capitalism, not to change it. To state differently is to attempt a revision of history that is simply not borne out by the facts.

I, as a socialist, despise the Labour Party, for the role they have played in obfuscating the reality of an alternative to capitalism – a reality yet to exist but that will only exist through a revolution, a revolution in thought and understanding, not of the barricade and of violence.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Deneside, Seaham