Letters, Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

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Issues ignored during visit

I REFER to the visit of Labour leader Ed Miliband to Liebherr Crane factory … the last factory on the banks of the River Wear (Echo, November 17). Mr Miliband quite rightly identifies the Wear’s potential to be a manufacturing powerhouse but it appears that nobody has the gumption to inform him that Labour councillors, with the complete support of the Conservative opposition on our council, are determined to rob all the industrial land on the banks of the Wear of its manufacturing potential.

Six hundred and fifty houses are planned for the derelict Grove Crane site; the misplaced iconic bridge is planned to have four lanes with cycle and pedestrian paths (30 metres wide), with approach roads to complement it.

Surely it is obvious that the diversion and meandering SSTC is planned to by-pass the ring roads … but to what purpose? It will use up most of the land it purports to be serving to accommodate manufacturing and marine engineering.

This planned east to west link road will (if the council planners have their way) connect with High Street East (aka the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) via what used to be Doxford’s engines. Pallion engineering, the last remaining shipbuilding facility on the Wear, will have to be compulsorily purchased.

Will this SSTC emerging from under the arches of the Queen Alexandra Bridge to connect with the six-way roundabout at the junction of Silksworth and Trimdon Street do anything to diminish traffic congestion? I would say quite the reverse.

The planned SSTC will continue to isolate the Vaux site and Farringdon Row developments from the city centre. 

Mr Miliband and the ministers for the DfT are being mis- informed by our council’s bids for £82million and £16million as to how best public money should be usefully spent.

A roadbridge to replace the Gill footbridge is sufficient to make the SSTC irrelevant to the solving of Sunderland’s outdated road system in the immediate future. To this end, the restoration of public rights of way and Matlock Street on the north side of the Vaux site is vital. Unfortunately, both political parties think otherwise. They prefer to go ahead with the iconic bridge concept, which is phase two of the SSTC, without even knowing how many tens or hundreds of millions of pounds it will cost for phases one, three, four and five to complete the crazy project.

Ron McQuillan

Treaty question

IN his letter of November 24, B. Tasker asserts that the Prime Minister has reneged (or will do so) on a promise “to give the people of Great Britain a vote on the Lisbon Treaty”.

He has not.

In the run-up to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty Mr Cameron said we should have had a referendum beforehand. That would have been right and proper. The Labour Party had said the same thing previously but reneged on their promise when it came down to it. They then, as the Government, agreed to the Treaty and we are as a result where we are.

The Treaty is signed now. We could have a referendum on it, but to what effect? Do we follow it up one by one with further referenda on the preceding treaties of Nice, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Brussels, Rome or Paris right back to day one of the EU/EEC?

It’s clear to me that many people in this country want to have as little to do with the EU as possible and I don’t disagree with them, but if we have to have a referendum let’s make sure we’re asking the right question.

Coun Tony Morrissey, Conservative, Barnes Ward

Stamps for charity

KIDETOK is a village in Northern Uganda. Since the time of Idi Amin the area has suffered terrorist attacks. A church mission has converted a clinic into a hospital.

Funds are urgently needed for a water supply scheme, for medicines and now a replacement Land Rover ambulance.

Since 1995 I have appealed for donations of used stamps on paper and old, pre-1950 postcards which are sold to raise money for the Kidetok Fund.

How about saving your Christmas card stamps? Schools, businesses and churches can collect and donations can be sent to the address below,

Jeff Taylor, Uganda, 9 Oxton Close, Rowhedge, Colchester, CO5 7JN

Owner’s thanks

I WOULD like to express my gratitude to the three people who drove up in their cars on the seafront to help me when my dog collapsed and the lady who wrapped a rug around her.

It was very distressing as it happened so quickly.

A big thank-you to Christine, too. She and her mam have the pet shop in Sea Road.

Roker will be on medication for the rest of her life after being diagnosed with heart defects.

My thanks again to you all.

Roker’s mam (Name and address supplied

Path cyclists

I REALISE that the correspondence with regards to the riverside path has to have a conclusion or else the argument will go on forever, but I’ve read two letters regarding the path and as a local resident would like to add my comments.

The first letter from Mr Cockerill was precise, polite and raised concerns that I, as a resident in the area, have been trying to get across to the council for several months.

Since Mr Cockerill’s letter to the Echo, the vandalised signs have been replaced.

The second letter was from Mr Rose. This letter was sarcastic, rude and arrogant. To admit to cycling along a stretch of path that he knows is for pedestrians only shows just what a menace he is. It also demonstrates that he has no consideration at all for anyone who may be walking on this sometimes narrow stretch of path.

Mr Rose detracts from the originl point of Mr Cockerill’s letter, which was to highlight the dangers of cyclists using a public footpath, which is, I’m sure, breaking the law, but I don’t think that this bothers the selfish Mr Rose.

I was recently walking along with my friend and our dogs when two cyclists raced up behind us, yelling at us to get our dogs out of the way.

I reminded the cyclist that this was a footpath not a cycle route. After a tirade of both vulgar and insulting abuse from him I was told that it was a cycle route.

There’s a public path in front of East Bridge Street which is regularly used by cyclists, even though there is a nearby road they could use. The cyclists know that it’s a path and not a cycle track but they still literally race along it, causing a nuisance. The council is now putting a ramp in place which will make it easier for cyclists to race down which will cause more nuisance and increase the possibility of a serious accident.

As a pedestrian, all I want is to take relaxing walk along a riverside footpath without being told to jump out of the way every few minutes.

Mr Cockerill is right: it’s a dangerous place to take a relaxing stroll, and the fact that cyclists are using this in the full knowledge that cycling is prohibited quite literally beggars belief.

Christine Scott, East Bridge Street, Mount Pleasant

Thanks for signs

FOLLOWING my letter of November 11 regarding the riverside footpath between Biddick and Coxgreen, can I thank the council for quickly installing the relevant signage on the access gates at each end of the pathway?

Many thousands of pounds have been spent on a project designed to make this footpath a secure route for walkers, pushchairs and wheelchair users.

It is clear, however, that the “day to day” safety issues associated with its use will always be the responsibility of the various users of the pathway.

I will let the message conveyed on the sign be my reply to your cycling correspondent David Rose.

Keith Cockerill, Washington

No takeover

I NOTE that Nexus wants to take over bus operation in the area because those nasty private bus operators are “not serving the public”.

Well this is the Nexus that has cancelled all Metro services today, while the bus operators are continuing to serve the public. Perhaps the bus operators should be taking over Nexus?

We have seen time and again that taking transport into government ownership prevents investments, raises prices and results in unreliable service.

Don’t let it happen with our bus services in this area.

Let’s also make Nexus aware that we are unhappy at them not standing up to the unions like Transport for London (TFL).

TFL keeps the underground going. Why can’t Nexus keep the Metro going?

The unions are holding us all to ransom and making life difficult for us hard-working people. Don’t let them push us around.

Dominic McDonough

Seat move

TO the fan giving up his seat at the SoL because next season he might no have the same seat, I say: you pay for your ticket season by season, so it’s up to the club to move you whether you like it or not.

You have only paid for your seat this season, so stop moaning and don’t even doubt about supporting the club.

Richard Thompson