Letters, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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More housing is not what we need

IT was disappointing to see the Echo give so much coverage to the Esh Group’s proposals for the Philadelphia Complex in Houghton.

 Many of the observations quoted by Esh regarding the state of the Philadelphia Complex are correct – it is an eyesore and needs redevelopment but what we don’t need is yet more houses. We already have 3,600 new houses, either built, under construction, planning permission given or applied for.

The planned number of new homes for the Houghton area is 2,213 by 2028. We already exceed this by a staggering 1,387.

 The Philadelphia Complex has lacked maintenance for years and if this planning application is granted, the land owners will be handsomely rewarded for allowing the site to fall into its dreadful state. The site needs redeveloping, but with factory units, large and small. One of the companies on the site was told by Sunderland City Council it could not stay as it was planned for housing, but could instead move to a new large factory unit on Sunderland Docks. Unfortunately, the company went bust, but why was this large new unit not built on the Philadelphia site?

 The answer is simple –Houghton and district is being asset stripped by Sunderland Council. The Houghton Colliery site remains undeveloped after standing empty since 1984 and despite the council’s claim to want to redevelop Houghton town centre, what actually has it done?

 Jobs from Rainton Bridge Business Park transferred to the new centre in Tavistock Place in Sunderland, Kentmere House demolished, and Kepier House closed, Shiney Row College to close and 144 houses planned for the site, with the funding raised to go to Sunderland’s Bede Centre, and Newbottle Community Centre closed.

 In the same week as the Esh story, Professor Gary Holmes, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Sunderland reported the university’s continued efforts to build a University Technical College(UTC), specialising in engineering in Newton Aycliffe.

 Would the Philadelphia site not fit the bill better? It has a long history in heavy engineering and railway engine maintenance and is within the City of Sunderland.

 We have enough houses. We need better shopping facilities in Houghton town centre. We need better employment industrial estates. We need better facilities. We pay our council tax and we want our fair share of it.

Coun Colin Wakefield

Plea for photos

I AM looking for photographs of the hospital’s football team for the 1950s and 1960s. My dad played for the team and recently died.

 His name is Robert (Bobby) Timm and he would have been 82 in May this year. He also had a relation of the same name who also played football.

 My dad was born down the Town End, later moving to Hylton Lane, Millfield and Plains Farm.

 I would really appreciate it if anyone could contact me on this matter.

 My dad was also a painter in the shipyards.

 I can be contacted on 528 9593, or 07729 950543, email trimmallyson63@hotmail.com

A Timm,

Darlington

Replace PCSOs

VERA Baird seems determined to use the Goverment as a fall guy.

 I am not a Tory lover but the Government needs to step in where Sunderland is concerned because its on its knees and continues to get worse.

 When is somebody going to look at the situation?

 Vera has no background with the Police Sevice.

 I would get rid of Police Community Support Officers (CSOs) which are useless civillians dressed up to look like the real police but have no handcuffs, weapons or equipment and hardly any powers.

 The CSOs should be replaced with a paid TA-style special constabulary. Specials have equipment and full powers.

 PCSOs make the police look like a second class service.

D Swann

End this saga

DAVE Richardson nailed it in these pages when he wrote that our current system of government is not working.

 The news following Maria Miller’s financial frolics, that senior MPs have alledgedly been molesting young researchers at Westminster is more disgusting than it is surprising, but it merely confirms Mr Richardson’s view that root and branch change in government is long overdue.

 The electorate have it in their power to send a message to the established big three parties that enough is enough by completely ignoring them at the ballot box.

 By voting UKIP, for example, it would at least send a message to all prospective MPs that there is life beyond Conservative, Labour and Lib/Dem.

 We could see new parties and new candidates, not blinkered by party lines and not preoccupied with right or left, but concerned about right and wrong – people purely motivated by the fact that they have the opportunity to make a difference.

 Moreover, all parties would realise that no seat is safe when there is a greater choice for the electorate.

 So use your vote as a huge new broom to sweep away the complacent, self-serving group, most of whom are unscrupulous in their pursuit of personal gain, often to the detriment of the electorate.

 Surely, it is time to switch off this long running Labour-Conservative saga now that there are other channels.

Denis Gillon,

Sunderland

Cost of democracy

IT is very rare I agree with W Quinn, but I too think MPs should not get any expenses – they have a very good salary and a gold-lined pension scheme.

 If we worked in London, or anywhere else for that matter, we would have to pay our expenses out of our salaries, so why not them?

 W Quinn states that they will do away with democracy, so what about Sunderland Council banning a Labour councillor for three months because she had the nerve to look after her constituants rather than the Labour Party?

 I wondered why the Labour councillors on the firing committee did not have the nerve to vote against the closing of the city fire station – now I know why.

 Democracy at work. Now we have a Labour MP running all over the city getting votes to keep the station open.

 Why has she not spoken out about the closure before? Perhaps it has something to do with the £470million wasted on Labour building nine regional fire stations that nobody wanted and are still standing empty today, costing thousands of pounds in rates.

 Labour doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word democracy.

 The elections are coming up so now may be the time to get rid of 40 years of Labour running the city into the ground.

G Liddle,

Roker

Unreasonable fans

MANY people are asking why SAFC is in the mess it’s in?

 There are many reasons.

 Do you blame the players, the back room staff or the manager?

 If you look at the latter there must be fundamental reasons why the likes of Martin O’ Neil and Steve Bruce could not turn the club round as they did at previous clubs they were involved with?

 Gus Poyet was on a hiding to nothing when he arrived and he gets a lot of the blame now, but it’s not all his fault.

 The fans must take a lot of the blame for the dismal home form.

 They seem to put undue pressure on the players by constantly booing them for every mistake.

 You never see this at other grounds and many opposing fans seem bemused by it all.

 It’s the same up the road at Newcastle. They are expect to win every week – it’s never going to happen.

 The fans in the North East are simply not reasonable.

 I would suggest that as it is likely that we are going to be in the Championship next season a major rebuilding of the club will have to take place. It will then take at least three years before we are in a position to challenge for promotion, so the fans must be patient.

Mick, The Pen, Brown

Honours horror

I READ with horror the letter from Alan, the Quill, Vincent that the Honours Boards at Bede School have been destroyed.

 Jane Russell would turn in her grave if she knew that the Honour of Herbert Reed, who was awarded the George Cross and gave up his life to rescue people on a merchant ship during the Second World War.

 Jane was the secretary for Bede when the headmaster was Bradshaw.

Bill Craggs,

Little Billy now living at Cockfield

Such honesty

WE would like to thank the person who handed in our uncle’s wallet to William Hill Betting Shop on Friday, March 28.

 We have been unable to thank you in person, buy it’s nice to know honest people do exist.

Angela Brand,

Newbottle