I would suggest that Sunderland councillors take a long hard look around.
The station is a disgrace, it does not create a good impression, in fact, it does the exact opposite.
It certainly doesn’t feel as if you are entering a city at all, there is nothing to suggest that you are doing so, nothing imposing or noteworthy at or near it.
Full marks for the new square and fountains or so I thought until walking through the other day to see litter scattered around and playing let’s avoid the pigeons and diving gulls.
Many people seem to feel the need to encourage them by feeding them. I find that disheartening. I have nothing against birds but the area is a lot cleaner without their droppings. Just look at the improvement experienced in Trafalgar square since feeding was banned.
The car park at St Mary’s way is another spot that needs attention, a good clean and fully operational lifts at all times would be a start.
I read that charges for parking are to increase and am baffled by this as I’m being encouraged constantly to spend money in my city. My response to that is I’ve tried, believe me, but it is becoming increasingly difficult as I’m told “we can order it from Newcastle or it’s stocked at the Metro Centre”.
My point is we are not attracting fabulous shops. We are walking around on dirty streets with a building on Fawcett Street given a plastic cover showing an impressive facade and it has been like this for over a year. Add to this the peeling mess that was once a very fine department store in John Street and the question becomes much bigger than non-functioning escalators.
It becomes ‘can we do something positive to attract great shops back?’
Can we bring about change via small actions, cleaner streets by imposing non-feeding of birds and stringent penalties for throwing litter?
There are many positives to this city, but there could be many more if even the basic amenities were given some investment and thought.