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Recorder letters: Cllr response, housing zone, thanks, election, overseas aid, diabetes and International Workers Memorial Day

PUBLISHED: 10:02 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 02 May 2017

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Cllr Dilip Patel responds to a letter sent by a reader

Unfair to accuse me of disinterest

Cllr Dilip Patel, Mawneys ward, writes:

A letter published in April 14 entitled ‘Council must act on danger parking’ by Mr Ralph Battershall suggested that I (as the local councillor dealing with the issue in question) am a) reluctant to get involved b) disinterested in his concerns about dangerous parking in Ashdown Walk.

In answer to the first charge, local councillors cannot be everywhere all the time. We rely on residents to supply us with information so that we may act upon it.

I offered to approach the owner of the vehicle in person and ask that they might refrain from parking their vehicle on the corner of the road, but to do so, I needed to know where that particular individual lived in Ashdown Walk.

There was never any suggestion that Mr Battershall would somehow be identified as the source for this information.

On the second point, I have known Mr Battershall for some years, he is a regular customer at my shop and we have always maintained a cordial relationship.

For him to accuse me of somehow being disinterested in his concerns is both disingenuous and wrong.

As soon as I received the complaint from Mr Battershall I ensured it was passed onto traffic and parking control for their officers to investigate.

In addition to this, I provided Mr Battershall with the dedicated contact number for the parking enforcement team so that he too could report the issue.

I acknowledge the point made by Mr Battershall that the parking situation in Ashdown Walk is far from ideal and in the past we have twice sought the support of the residents for the introduction of some form of restriction. On both occasions this has been rejected.

As democratically elected representatives, we have a duty to uphold the opinion of the majority of the residents in this street whether we think it the right decision or not.

Housing zone a noble aim but plans too piecemeal

Lois Amos, Michael Armstrong, Andrew Curtin, Jack Dobson-Smith, Tim Howson, Amanda McKiernan, Christine Santa-Ana, Caron Webb, executive committee, Romford Civic Society, write:

Though the aim of providing high-quality new homes for people as part of Romford Housing Zone is a noble one, we are extremely concerned that the piecemeal approach to the development seemingly being taken by the local authority will make it difficult for it to be achieved, with all the negative social consequences which would arise from that.

For example, environmental and heritage impact assessments have been carried out for Bridge Close, which is in an important Archaeological Priority Zone, but seem not to have been carried out for Waterloo Road Estate – even though important listed buildings border the site.

The historic environment can be a source of inspiration for new design, helping to give character to an area.

An equalities impact assessment has been carried out for the Waterloo Road Estate site, but seemingly not for others – and yet in a modern society we would surely want to ensure equality of access to new housing on all sites and not just on some?

There seem to be commitments to open up the River Rom as part of the housing zone, something which would be extremely welcome as it could open up new green walk/ cycleways for new residents in the centre of the town through to Thames Chase Community Forest in the south and to green space to the north of the town as well as greatly reducing the degree to which Romford acts as a block on ecosystems and biodiversity.

But there seems to be no identification of the amount of space which developers will need to leave on sites by the river in the centre of the town to achieve this.

The Rom, in the middle of the town, is a broad, shallow flow – that is why it was a good place to ford the river in olden days, and it is also why it either flooded regularly or was, essentially, a muddy ditch.

If the welcome aim of opening up the river is to be turned into a beneficial and characterful reality, then the local authority is going to need to identify in planning policy the amount of space which developers will have to leave either side of it when formulating their proposals.

There seems to be little material available yet which would indicate how the local authority envisages that safe and attractive walking and cycling routes will link the sites in the housing zone to important facilities such as doctors’ surgeries and schools, important if the ring road is not to be gridlocked at key times, with ensuing damage to the economic viability of the town, air quality and health.

There seems to be no strategic assessment of the number of green spaces and children’s playsites required in the centre of the town for new residents.

No one expects a new Bedfords or Raphael Park in the centre of the town, but residents will need green spaces and children will need playsites if we are to avoid the negative social consequences of individuals living isolated, inactive lives.

To add to this, Como Street car park also seems to have been identified for housing, but seems not to be being considered as part of the broader development of the town.

The GLA may have identified the number of new properties required in the borough, but the local authority is the body which will decide how it is done.

All of Romford can be very proud

Dr and Mrs J P Kyba, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, write:

Almost 50 years ago the Recorder covered our wedding at All Saints Church, Chigwell.

Last month we revisited the church and the Romford area and were pleasantly surprised at the changes which have taken place during that time.

Most of all, however, we were delighted at the consideration shown us, especially by your younger generation.

On several occasions, and without asking, these young women and men provided advice and directions and even helped with our heavy bags, especially at bus stops and the train station.

Such thoughtfulness deserves acknowledgement and we are very grateful to them.

All of Romford can be proud of their generous spirit.

Election could be referendum re-run

Mr W Ramsay, Stephen Avenue, Rainham, writes:

Andrew Rosindell was pictured in last week’s Recorder raising his glass over the triggering of Article 50, and in the accompanying article gives his support for Theresa May’s “snap election” to empower her further following this.

I have previously remarked on the Conservatives’ desire to further empower themselves, of which we have here more evidence. But there is reason to think that Mr Rosindell may not have cause to raise his glass at the outcome of the election, whatever the polls, including the Recorder online one, currently suggest.

The single issue snap election of Edward Heath comes to mind here, and the current incumbent, who unlike her illustrious female predecessor, may be denied the intended Thatcher-style landslide through the election turning into a re-run referendum for the benefit of Remainers, who will register their dissent by voting for the Lib Dems.

Another unintended consequence may be that the poor bargain of seeking to protect the rights of one million UK citizens in other EU countries through offering the same to the over three million EU nationals in the UK becomes a matter of debate.

We know that Cllr Webb sees this disparity as “a valuable bargaining chip” (Recorder, March 3), but the latter view is contrary to his own party’s position hitherto, and he would perhaps do well to take the matter up with his current leader Paul Nuttall, who is supposed to be going to offer “new policies” among other radical changes (Times, March 28), which they will certainly need if they are to avoid being seen as a “job-done” irrelevance.

Why no local candidates?

Terence F Matthews LLB (Hons), Clement Way Upminster (Really Hornchurch), writes:

What is it about the Conservatives in the Hornchurch and Upminster constituency, that they keep selecting outsiders to become the Tory candidate?

I have lived in the borough for 47 years and have always lived in this constituency.

At least when it was Hornchurch we did have one MP who moved into Havering on becoming a MP.

Upminster has not had a local MP for over 50 years and now Hornchurch and Upminster are getting the same treatment.

Out of 250,000 people the only candidate, who has moved to Havering, is tainted by his association with EU remainer Cameron.

The local Tories by picking outsiders are insulting our residents and they must remember we voted by a large majority to leave the EU and all it stands for.

If an anti-Brexit candidate is chosen I for one will not vote for him and will try my best to ensure they lose this safe seat.

We used to care for less fortunate

Mervyn Hughes, Toppesfield Avenue, Wickford, writes:

It comes as no surprise that Andrew Rosindell MP would like to reduce our overseas aid budget.

I was brought up on the Harold Hill Estate in the 1950s and 60s. No one had any money but we were always taught to take care of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Sadly these values were swept away (along with the willingness to pay our fair share of taxes) in the “I’m All Right Jack” days of the “Thatcher Years” in the 1980s.

We help diabetics deal with condition

Pete Bailey, media officer, Diabetes UK - Havering Group, writes:

I read with great interest the item in the April 21 edition about diabetes by Beth Wyatt.

Our diabetes group, Diabetes UK - Havering Group, have been established for 37 years.

We help diabetics with their condition and have regular monthly meetings with guest speakers on various subjects related to diabetes. Most speakers are high profile doctors and scientists in the field of diabetes. They talk about diabetes and give very up to date helpful updates.

We wish to welcome anyone with diabetes, their family or carer to our monthly meetings. For further information just call Ann Prescott on 01708 572782 or check our website havering.diabetesukgroup.org.

We meet once a month on the third Monday of each month (except August and January) at Large Hall, 24 North Street Halls, Hornchurch, RM11 1QX.

Install memorial to factory tragedy

Susan Aitouaziz, secretary of Barking Dagenham and Havering Trades Union Council, writes:

Today (April 28) marks International Workers Memorial Day. A day when we remember those who have died at work and continue to fight for healthy and safe workplaces.

This year we will be remembering a forgotten tragic event that caused injury to many local people and stole the lives of seven men working at The J C and J Fields Factory, a former soap manufacturer, which had been rented by Rainham Chemical Works and housed several volatile chemicals.

On September 14, 1916, a fire broke out in the factory and an explosion spread rapidly across the factory.

Barking Dagenham and Havering Trades Union Council are asking residents and workers to join us in calling for a permanent memorial to be placed locally to remember those men and women who were met with death and injury while at their place of work.

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