Letters, Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Building of homes is welcome news

WHILE obviously welcoming the news (Echo, August 12) that Gentoo has a renewal plan for building on the vacant sites at Upper Ford and Pennywell, I think that most people who saw local authority houses being demolished in such vast numbers, will say that it is not before time.

 Gentoo has had some great successes. Doxford Park is particularly outstanding and there are many others where fantastic improvement has taken place.

 Unlike other builders, the company has made every effort to construct bungalows, which is to its eternal credit. It has also carried out commendable work with residential homes for the elderly, which deserves all our support.

 But where I found myself rather confused in the announcement was when Ian Porter, of Gentoo, stated that the houses demolished had “outlived their lifetime”. Bearing in mind that the houses in Pennywell were about 50 years old when the bulldozers arrived, this will have come as a nasty shock to thousands of home owners in Sunderland, myself included.

 The Pennywell houses that were demolished were of traditional brick and tile construction, built in the early to mid-1950s. Others in Ford were usually of traditional brick and slate construction, built in the 1930s. Not that old at all.

 I think it was a big mistake to demolish in such vast numbers. True enough, these areas had many “challenging” occupiers, but that is an irrelevance and in any event where did these tenants end up?

 Houses previously owned and let by the council in Pennywell and Upper Ford should have, in my opinion, been the subject of a progressive policy of repair, not destruction.

 It is quite ironic that Gentoo made this decision to demolish because its standard of repair and maintenance has proved to be vastly superior to what was on offer by the council’s Public Works Department.

 The residents of Sunderland, too, would have been spared the embarrassing spectacle for many years, of disused prime land, some of it close to a major access road used by countless visitors, being occupied by tied-up horses and ponies, grazing away merrily.

 But to conclude on a brighter note – let the developments begin.

Councillor Michael Dixon

Housing spokesman, Sunderland Conservative councillors.

Use your vote

I REFER to Marjorie Matthew’s recent letter regarding benefits for unrestricted EU immigrants in this country and Mr McCardle’s call for revolution.

 Free movement of labour and goods is one of the basic principles of EU membership and the only way to restrict uncontrolled immigration from the EU is to leave it.

 Love them or hate them, UKIP is the only party that could hold the balance of power at the General Election next year and force a referendum to either leave or stay in the EU.

 Revolution is not necessary. People simply need to vote, and need to vote UKIP at the General Election before it’s too late.

 Allegiance to other parties can be restored if desired afterwards.

Kay Rowham,

Easington Lane.