Letters, Thursday, May 19th, 2011

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Complaints about seafront changes

FOLLOWING the alterations along the seafront, the positioning of new seating, re-grassing and the provision of waste bins, as councillor for Fulwell Ward I have received many complaints as to the choice and the quality of the improvements.

Many other complaints focused on the delay in grass cutting and the devastating appearance following work having been done. Having monitored the results of the grass cutting, I cannot understand why a forest of dandelion stalks was left standing among the tattered remnants of the grass

One resident walking along the front asked if the equipment used for grass cutting was programmed to ignore the dandelions, which were standing erect as far as the eye could see.

I must admit that similar scenes were to be found in the grassed areas behind the seafront and, surprisingly, in nearby South Shields as they never let the grass grow underneath their feet when there are things to be done along their seafront.

Getting back to the new seating provision, another resident carefully walking her dog along the pathway said that the new wooden seating reminded her of a butcher’s block that had through the years been grooved with the constant cutting of meat.

As she spoke, her dog lifted its hind leg and christened the nearest seat. The lady apologised and left with this remark: “I’ll not be parking my derriere on these ‘chopping blocks’.”

She walked away, heading north to the dandelion stalks. I cannot imagine what she would say about them.

There is, however, one potential saving grace for the seafront and that is the implementation of the Seaburn Master Plan, but that seems to be heading in the same direction as the Vaux site, the Holmeside triangle and the Farringdon Road project.

Coun George Howe, Fulwell Ward

‘Opt-out’ payback

I WOULD like to ask our Conservative members of the community if, now that the Conservatives are back in power, there are any plans afoot to put right a great wrong they did in 1988.

That was when the Government “advised”, “encouraged” and “bribed” workers with the promise of extra money in their pensions if they contracted out of “Serps”. This move would help the Government and the country save money on pensions as the private pension provider would then pay part of our pensions.

We now know that after the pension service makes a Contracting Out Deduction C.O.D), we are all approximately £200 per year worse off than if we did not contract out.

As this was a big push by the government at the time, surely they should assume responsibility and reduce the amount of C.O.D. they are taking off our pensions?

It may seem to be a small amount, but the longer you live the greater the deficit gets, which will then be in the thousands of pounds.

When is the Government going to protect the workers of this country who pay their taxes and NI contributions year in year out instead of them being ripped off?

B. Drummond, Hastings Hill, Sunderland

Child stars

NOEL Coward, sang his message to the world and some:

“Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington”.

Shirley Temple, beautiful and bubbly, with blond, curly mop,

Singing away merrily “on the good ship Lollipop”.

Hayley Mills, cute pug nose with crystal eyes of blue,

Sang so sweetly “cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe”.

Think long and hard before your child treads upon the boards,

For sometimes an audience can be like barbarian hordes.

Edward Ryles

Thanks for help

I WOULD like to express my sincere gratitude to the ladies and gentlemen who came to my aid when I collapsed outside Wilkinsons Store on Monday, May 9.

They helped me until the ambulance arrived and they also informed my wife as to what had happened.

I’m afraid I didn’t get their names, only that one lady said she was a care worker.

Thanks also to the paramedics and staff at the Royal Hospital.

I’m slowly recovering.

Peter Wright, Rhondda Road, Red House Estate, Sunderland

Kids’ league tables

THE Echo reported that Gareth Southgate has called for the scrapping of all football league tables for children of primary age.

Two days later you printed the Russell Foster Youth Tables. One team had a record of Played 24, Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 24, Goals For 7, Against 142, Points 0.

What good does it do them to see that?

I used to run schoolboy football teams. Believe me, the boys were enthusiastic enough even when they were losing, but it was soul-destroying when they saw they were rock bottom of the league.

I hope the Echo stops printing the Russell Foster tables. Take Gareth Southgate’s advice.

Frank Seely, Cotswold Close, Lambton

Editor’s note: the Echo does follow FA guidelines of not printing league tables for U7 and U8 age groups.

Election thanks

SOMETHING remarkable is happening in Sunderland.

In the recent local elections, nearly one in four voters in Pallion chose to back the Green Party. Greens finished higher than Lib-Dems in almost every contested ward.

The local party does not doubt that Sunderland’s voters backed us for a number of different reasons. Some may have backed us in revulsion at the national profile of the other political parties. Others may have supported us due to the personal qualities of our local candidates. Many are being enthused by Green ideas and have been inspired by our Caroline Lucas.

For all those who did vote Green, irrespective of your reason for doing so, please accept my gratitude and that of our local party. Thank you for voting Green!

For me, the remarkable thing is not only that David achieved a large number of votes in Pallion; he is after all an excellent candidate. The remarkable development is that the Green Party in Sunderland stood uniformly superb candidates in seven wards, all of whom achieved record high votes. And all this, so soon after the branch’s inception in October 2009.

Finally, I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that all the Sunderland Greens care about is the number of votes they get. If that were the case then our activists would have joined one of the more established parties. As you may be aware, we campaign all year round, through a variety of means, to do good things in Sunderland.

John Lowther, Sunderland Greens Co-ordinator

MANY thanks to those residents of Whitburn and Marsden who turned out to vote for me on May 5.

The level of support and best wishes I’ve had from people have been overwhelming.

Thanks must also go to Coun Tracey Dixon, Coun Peter Boyack, my family and those who volunteered to deliver leaflets for me, and the Rt. Hon. David Miliband who took time out of his busy schedule to carry out a walkabout at very short notice for which I’m grateful and appreciative of his support.

Once again I thank you all.

Sylvia Spraggon

MAY I thank those voters in the Hetton Ward who supported me, the Labour candidate, in the recent Sunderland City Council elections. I value and appreciate every vote and message received.

As an elected member I shall continue to be, as I always have been, a strong advocate for the Hetton Ward, which it is a privilege to represent and a responsibility I take very seriously.

Thank you.

Coun Florence Anderson, Hetton

I AM writing to thank all the Labour voters in the Copt Hill Ward for the encouragement and support I received going around the ward, which was greatly appreciated.

For the people of Hetton Downs, I will still be your Hetton Town councillor which I have been for over 16 years unpaid.

I will continue to fight for the regeneration of the Downs and a new access road. I will continue to be a school governor at Eppleton Primary School, a job that I love and have done for over 20 years unpaid.

At the present time I am working with local groups and Eppleton Banner Group to remember the Eppleton Colliery Disaster 60 years ago and to revive the Miners’ Service at Union Street Methodist Church on July 10. There will be a display of banners and memorabilia in the Hetton Centre that week.

I am still passionate about the people and the area I live in and nothing has changed that.

Juliana Heron, Hetton

TO all the voters in the Sandhill Ward, may I take this opportunity to thank you all for your trust and support in the local elections on May 5.

I am proud to represent you on the council and will do my very best to have your voice heard in the next coming year.

May I also congratulate Coun John Gallagher on his achievement and the other standing candidates on their hard work and effort in the elections.

Thank you.

Coun D. Waller, Sandhill Ward

I WOULD like to thank everyone who voted for me in the local elections.

I will do my utmost to serve the residents of the Sandhill Ward in these difficult times, whatever their political allegiance, and try to protect our local facilities against the savage cuts imposed by the Coalition Government

Coun John Gallagher, Sandhill Ward

I WOULD like to thank the voters of Doxford Ward for their continued support in my recent re-election.

Over the next four years I will cotinue to work hard for the residents of Doxford Ward. Please feel free to contact either of your Doxford Ward Labour councillors or pop along to one of our regular ward surgeries at Doxford Park Library or Ryhope Top Club if you would like to discuss any local issues.

Many thanks.

Coun David Errington, Labour, Doxford War