Tagged: Southwick

New Housing…But for Who ?

 > This is posted as an example partly of the state of affairs regarding unemployment on Wearside (empty trading estates) and the lack of joined-up thinking on planning  (no new social housing for those being forced by the Bedroom Tax to downsize).

The council could at the very least demand a percentage of one-bedroomed social housing as part of the development. We seem to have plenty of unaffordable “affordable” housing already.

140 new family homes could be created on the site of a Sunderland industrial park.

 Developers are hoping to get planning permission from Sunderland City Council for 140 two, three and four-bedroom homes where Phoenix Tower business park, just off Wessington Way, currently stands.

Bosses said today the houses, in Southwick, will go towards meeting the “crippling” shortage of quality homes on Wearside.

The site has been unused since Stag Furniture closed eight years ago.

Jason Whitfield, senior planner at planning agent England and Lyle, which has submitted the application, said: “This development will provide high quality, affordable family housing in Sunderland.

“The site is highly sustainable and offers access to shops, services and facilities, as well has having excellent transport links. There has been no demand for the site for industrial or commercial uses since the closure of Stag Furniture in 2006. In the meantime the character of the area has changed with Sainsbury’s locating next door.

A consultation into the plans finishes on Tuesday, April 15.

Source – Sunderland Echo  03 April 2014

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Nine Sunderland Libraries To Be Closed

Despite grassroots protests,  including occupation of threatened buildings, by Hands Off Sunderland Libraries, nine libraries across Sunderland have been closed by the city council, in a bid to save 850,000 pounds.

The libraries affected are those at Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green.

Coun. John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness  and culture:  “This is a very emotive subject and we recognise the strength of people’s  feelings.

“As I’ve said before, we probably wouldn’t have gone down this route if the council didn’t need to make 110 million pounds savings as a result of cuts from central government. The fact is the library service needs to save 850,000 pounds, so we have had to look at changing how we do things as budgets continue to be cut and resources become  ever more stretched.

“As councillors, we have to make difficult decisions . Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.

“But I firmly believe that the new library service will be much more flexible to fit in with people’s needs and will result in better services reaching more people  across a wider range of locations.”

Eh ? How does closing public services across a wide range of locations reach more people across those same locations ? I suspect the only flexibility resulting will be the closed service users, who’ll have to be a lot more flexible to find an open library.

How much will be saved really ? Has any account been taken of vacant buildings needing to be maintained, books and equipment to be mothballed, staff who lose their jobs ?

“Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.”  A nice attempt at emotional blackmail, but what exactly are libraries if not children and adult services ?

And should it be either/or anyway ?  We know only too well about the nature of the current national government, but Sunderland City Council is Labour controlled. Shouldn’t they – and other Labour controlled councils – be providing, you know, opposition ?  Getting together and going head-to-head with the government perhaps ? Making a moral stand ?

We’ve been promised years more austerity, whoever wins the next general election. Now the process has been started, which libraries will be next ?

As noted in no less an organ than Private Eye (#1349) –

Sunderland library chiefs have some handy advice on what can replace local libraries facing closure.

“Because of Facebook, because of gadgets, we dont need libraries the way we used to when I was 15,” Cllr Graeme Miller told a public meeting, which agreed proposals for the closure of nine libraries to save #850,000 a year.

Quite apart from how completely un-useful Facebook is for most homework, research or reading for pleasure, Sunderland is part of the UK region with the highest concentration of people off-line, with a recent survey finding only 42% of less well off people in the city had online access from any type of “gadget”, including computers, smart phones  and so on.

Quite.

Hands Off Sunderland Libraries on Facebook at –
https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Hands-off-Sunderland-Libraries/615546618458212