Letters, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Have your say

We need people to fight for us

IN her letter (March 1), Gemma Taylor refers to the planning application meeting to decide whether to give permission to Biffa Waste Services to blast away a large section of cliff face for health and safety reasons.

 She said that she expected a better defence from RATS and accused them of being “amateurish”.

 This is completely misleading. RATS members, Couns Colin Wakefield and Sheila Ellis both used their allotted time to raise their concerns. Several RATS members were also present in the committee room.  Coun Wakefield brought it to the council’s attention that two statutory bodies had not even been consulted by the council on the matter – who looks amateurish now?

 Ms Taylor also says that RATS have been “scaremongering” and “spreading doubt and uncertainty”, I’ve seen the Environment Agency’s (EA) own figures and the groundwater under the quarry – where our drinking water is drawn from – is being heavily polluted.

 It’s been happening for years and it’s still happening now. Biffa is having to pump millions of litres of water away to stop it poisoning the aquifer.

 This is not scaremongering. It’s fact. The EA has prosecuted Biffa for polluting the groundwater but has only charged them with five separate occurrences of this. It’s happening every day.

 The figures are there for anyone to see. The EA knows this and the council know this. So why aren’t they doing more to stop it? Perhaps if they had done more to protect the public, RATS members wouldn’t have had to stand as councillors themselves.

 I do agree though with what she said about Houghton being a great place to live. It’s a fantastic town and has fantastic people – I’m proud to live in Houghton and I love my town.

 RATS are fighting to make it better. Unfortunately, that sometimes means drawing attention to some unpleasant truths.

 Not talking about it and pretending it isn’t happening isn’t going to make those problems go away. Putting the town’s reputation above an environmental disaster is naïve in the extreme.

 Someone needs to fight this and if our elected Labour councillors won’t do that, then we should elect people who will.

Paul Marriner,


Empty promises

AS a close neighbour of South Shields, Sunderland has become a back water as far as regeneration is concerned.

 Sunderland has received £5million for the seafront alterations – £2.3million was given by the Government, plus a Government grant to support the freezing of council tax.

 South Shields has spent £16million on a soon-to-be-opened Seafront Leisure Centre.

 The new leisure centre will have a 28-metre, eight lane pool with adjustable floors and an 18-metre teaching pool. There will be leisure waters with flumes, sprays, bubble pools, a suana and steam room. For the exercise conscious there will be an 80-station gym, two dance studios together with fitness testing and consultation rooms.

 Meanwhile here in Sunderland we have the aged Crowtree Centre about to be demolished with no apparent alternative provision.

 We have been promised, in the past, a sports village, a skyscraper in the promised Holmeside Triangle, and more recently the development of the Farringdon Row area, and who can forget the famous poster on the derelict Vaux site, erected by Arc, asking people to ‘watch this site’?

 Sunderland has been governed by Labour for nearly 40 years and one would expect worthwhile improvements in the city. Instead we have been promised with highly speculative and undelivered projects one of which could be the ‘iconic’ bridge’.

Councillor George Howe

Another do-gooder

WHO is Vera Baird?

 Another hanger-on, I would say. How does someone, who no one has heard of, get these jobs? How much is it costing for her and her staff? More, I suspect, than it would to train at least three more police officers.

 The Chief Constable should be the one to do changes in his area. He is the one with years of experience and knows what the area needs from policing, not a nobody trying to justify her existence.

 Has she ever had to deal with murderers, rapists, gangs etc. She wouldn’t know how to deal with an angry man.

 I saw in the paper the other night, she is going to give a talk at a dinner – £35 a head. I wonder where that money goes?

 I bet you can all guess – another so called do-gooder.

 Let the people who are trained do their job. There are too many busybodies in the world today.

 If you read this Mrs Baird, leave those things that are not broken alone.



Let’s vote now

I AGREE with everything Rodney Atkinson says (Echo, March 2).

 When will this Government come to its senses and realise the EU needs us more than we need it.

 The EU only wants the money we give, never mind waiting till 2015 for a referendum, give it to us now. They know the answer!

M Metcalfe,

East Herrington

Fine dog owners

FOR many years I’ve enjoyed getting out and about on my bike.

 Sunderland and the surrounding areas have some magnificent cycle routes and breathtaking scenery.

 Every Sunday, me, big Gordy, Little Al, Dave The Bike, Flash, Fatty Charlton and Stibbsy, would meet at the willow pond then head off on our journey.

 Sadly, the conversation would not be about the journey or the scenery. Regardless of which cycle path taken – Seaburn, South Hylton, Ryhope, or Silksworth – the conversation was always about dog owners who allow their dogs off their leads and stand by as they defecate all over the cycle paths.

 As well as this there is the antisocial behaviour of the kids who congregate at every underpass, smashing their Lambrini bottles after guzzling the contents.

 It’s about time the council and police patrolled these aforementioned places and arrested and fined these people.

Ged Taylor


All coal is imported

IN her letter (March 1) Marjorie Matthews states that Britain should keep open all its coal-fired and oil-fired power stations to prevent us being dependent on Russian gas.

 I would like to point out that all the coal we now burn in the power stations is imported due to the closing down of our own coal industry by a spiteful, vengeful Tory government in the early 1990s.

 We will soon be reliant upon oil imports as our North Sea reserves are rapidly dwindling.

 So what is the difference between relying on Russian gas or on foreign imports of coal and oil?

D Robe,

Royal Courts

Honour Mullin

SUNDERLAND has had its fair share of humdrum and/or devious politicians, so we should rejoice that we have had a statesman of the stature of Chris Mullin.

 He is a righter of wrongs and a writer of note.

 We should name a landmark or a stretch of road after him.

 A roundabout would be out of character, but I like the sound of Chris Mullin Boulevard.

 If a road is christened in his honour it should be as straight as the man himself.

Brian McGill,

South Bents

Make Britain great

I HAVE just watched the last programme in a series presented by James Martin about what he, and a dedicated team of chefs, have done to help turn around the deficits in producing food in hospital kitchens.

 It was terrific viewing and James must be congratulated for what he has and will be doing.

 If this type of approach can be applied to catering – why, oh why, can’t it be applied to businesses as well.

 Let’s try to make Britain great again.

David Warden

Bowlers homeless

SUNDERLAND City Council is to make 400 people from the bowls club homeless with the closure of the Crowtree Leisure Centre.

 Meetings with council officials and bowls officials have been held since 2004.

 The council has said that bowls is part of the future plans of the city. It brings enjoyment and health benefits to a large number of people. Facilities will not close at Crowtree until they are replaced.

 Then the big crunch ‘£100million budget cuts’ – hollow promises.

 Vaux land has stood desolate for 13 years, then it is decided to landscape the site. Then dig it up and build a car park. What a waste of money. They could have built an indoor bowling green on part of the land to replace Crowtree.

 Voted labour for 52 years. Rather than waste a vote I will be putting my ‘X’ somewhere else.

David Woodward,