Recorder letters: Open spaces, face-to-face conversation, general election, fly-tipping, listening to residents, health cuts and Ramadan
PUBLISHED: 10:50 22 May 2017
The Anzac memorial service and plaque unveiling at Dovers Farm Estate. Picture: MELISSA PAGE
We must fight to save open spaces
Cllr Graham Williamson, Independent Residents’ Group, South Hornchurch, writes:
Last week I wrote about the existential threat to Havering posed by the council’s “offer” to facilitate the building of 30,000 properties by 2025 (‘Our quality of life must be protected’, Recorder, May 12).
Apart from high densities, insufficient parking and lack of infrastructure, it is inevitable that it will also lead to a potential loss of some green spaces.
For example, a green bounded by New Zealand Way in South Hornchurch, has been in existence since the early 1950s when the estate was created. It has been used ever since as a community asset and is much loved by local residents.
The blessing last Sunday of a memorial to the New Zealand troops that were stationed in the area and elsewhere in World War One or World War Two, was well attended by dignitaries and residents alike (see this issue). It is a little gem in this part of the borough.
However, in a desperate rush to build properties, the council now threatens the sanctity of the green by attempting to build on it and leaving residents and visitors alike aghast at the thought.
If we continue to push ahead with over-ambitious housing targets (primarily to meet inner London’s problems) we will be forced to concrete over valuable green spaces and once done they will be lost forever. If the council administration will not commit itself to protecting these spaces residents must fight hard to do so!
Delight of a face-to-face conversation like old days
Patricia Gogay, Royal Jubilee Court, Romford, writes:
It happened last week. An intoxicating afternoon of wit, banter and reflections, as when old friends meet up again and “roll their eyes to heaven”at shared memories of dalliance, broken hearts and the emotional experiments of youth… those excruciating lapses that shape and dress our values in the future.
It was during the tea and biscuits interval that we realised that we were having a conversation (an old-fashioned term already)!
How sad it is to realise that it is one of the pleasures we “oldies” most miss. The ebb and flow, the interruptions, changes of direction. The mutual pain of losses, the “bend at waist laughter”.
Conversation, whether new or familiar always leaves behind points to ponder, adjustments to make and consider as you learn the views of others: how they were acquired, how strongly felt, how immutable or flexible and where you can freely dare to expose your own scrutiny.
Each of us was ageing to the point where a seat is offered on a bus, when “poor dear” is overheard. When a walking stick becomes a sensible precaution and a step down from a roadside kerb feels like a descent from a 10 metre diving board.
But to admit to not tweeting or Facebooking invites a look of startled amazement, even fear. We had all experienced the step backwards, followed by the look that says “you need treatment”.
However, we cannot be trolled, “unliked” or vilified for describing such a dated cause for joy and have always thought that ageing should be fun (sans mobile phone). I left that last admission just to be mischievous!
Offended by Ukip ‘slaughter’ remark
Rosina Purnell, address supplied, writes:
I have just received an election leaflet from Ukip’s Lawrence Webb. In it he says he wants to “protect British culture” and “oppose Halal and ritual slaughter”.
As a Jew, I find this deeply offensive.
Jewish “Kosher” meat could be described as to be killed by “ritual slaughter” and has been an established practice for Jewish meat eaters in this country from when my grandparents arrived here as immigrants early in the last century.
I don’t know what Lawrence Webb means by “protecting British culture” in his opposition to established religious practices which have been ongoing here for over 100 years.
Of course if one wants to stop cruelty to animals then one doesn’t eat meat at all.
However, if his motive for this statement in his election literature is to be offensive to both Muslims and Jews, then he has certainly succeeded.
I am proud to have come from an immigrant family of Polish Jews many of whom were murdered in the Holocaust.
Our family has contributed to the life and culture of this country in numerous ways with my father having been a well known local artist.
Ukip’s cheap and ignorant jibes against religious groups are deliberately made to stir up racial tension and undo all the good work done to create community harmony in our increasingly diverse society.
For the first time I may not vote
Marilyn Edwards, Shaftesbury Road, Romford, writes:
I’ve just received a flyer from Mr Rosindell. “Working for Romford” it says.
I went to the MP’s surgery last September 2016 about Havering’s Private Leasing Scheme and the nightmare it is for neighbours because the council does not enforce its tenancy agreement.
I had a letter thanking me for attending the surgery and then ....A BIG FAT NOTHING!
For the first time in my life I am thinking of not voting.
Increased mandate would be mistake
Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents’ Group, writes:
The Conservatives cast Labour as a danger to Britain, but if so, why call a general election that Labour could win? I mean it seems a bit mad to call a general election because you fear the other side getting in!
The Conservatives say we should fear Labour because of the Labour leader’s opposition to the renewal of Trident.
But the Trident nuclear deterrent isn’t independent, because the missiles, as opposed to the submarines, are US made and maintained and this means it’s a US rather than UK finger on the button.
Do you really think the US would sell another country nuclear weapons that could potentially be used against them?
Also the double-speak neo-con policy of “humanitarian destruction of Arabia to save lives” has led to the migrant crisis and is a recipe for perpetual war. Indeed government policy is to bomb all sides in Syria!!! It’s a madness illustrated by the foreign secretary’s recent sabre-rattling against Russia.
There was no need to call a Brexit general election so it would be a mistake to give the Conservatives an increased mandate for them to misuse by wasting billions on Trident and a pro-war foreign policy that undermines our national security.
Problems not being addressed
H E Carless, Wedlake Close, Hornchurch, writes:
The content of Conservative policies inherently fails to address the problems in the UK today that ordinary families and the public encounter in their everyday dealings with private, financial organisations and public bodies, including local authorities.
Are we beginning to see the fabric of society being destroyed and the goodwill and helpfulness that formerly accompanied such dealings disappearing as austerity begins to firmly take hold on our society?
With the correlation this downward spiral indisputably must reasonably represent.
On its present course, we are saving money at any cost in public services, with the national consequences of this. And encouraging profit-making similarly in private organisations, with the poorer services and consideration for the public interest we are beginning to see more regularly. That surely must reflect on the reglulators in place.
Is our society well and truly on its way to “hell in a handcart” in order to balance the books, with the obvious contempt and wrongdoing towards the public interest and our democracy the above appears to signpost?
Will we yet see our democracy slowly being replaced by the requirements of government policy and our rule of law replaced by the “rule of authority”?
I would lobby for fly-tip action
Rocky Gill, Labour candidate for Hornchurch and Upminster, writes:
Fly-tipping is a major problem in Hornchurch and Upminster, with many industrial sized fly-tips.
Upminster and Cranham residents recently raised a large petition on this matter.
The cost of clearing the fly-tipping in this constituency is an immense expense to the local taxpayer and is costing Havering Council significant sums per year.
Tackling fly-tipping is a priority in this constituency. We need more government support with higher fines.
The council should be more active in identifying perpetrators, installing mobile CCTV at the hot spots and using media and communication channels.
The council should also work with other neighbouring authorities in the region on a co-ordinated approach to fly-tipping.
If elected, I would lobby for more effective government support with funding and enforcement methods.
Listen to what residents want
Alan Cauvain, Elm Park, Hornchurch, writes:
Here we go again. The policy makers at Havering Council making decisions that they believe the residents of the borough want and need.
They are planning 30,000 new properties across the borough without consulting the residents – as they do on most occasions.
The roads in the borough are a mess with potholes, parking and with bus stops having the stand area built out into the roads. It’s time the people who are making these decisions went to Specsavers to get fitted with glasses and hearing aids because they certainly do not listen to or see what the residents of Havering want.
The borough is already overcrowded with the open door immigration policy so every available piece of land is being built on with no thought to car parking facilities.
As far as I am concerned I live in a car park, partly because of the charging policy and lack of car parks.
Drivers park along the roads around me and go off to the train station or catch buses.
Then we come to the bus stops that have had the stand expanded into the road. Drivers used to be able to drive round the bus but now cannot go past due to traffic coming in the opposite direction, which means vehicles pumping out toxic emissions while waiting for the bus to load up with passengers.
Whoever thought of the bus stand idea needs certifying, just like Ken Livingstone who had the bus pull-ins filled in.
Is this what they mean by keeping traffic moving? A doughnut could do better.
We need to make these decision makers understand that they work for the people of the borough who pay their salaries and not for themselves. Sounds like the Tories again steam rolling through.
Listen to what residents want they have to live with it and pay the bills.
Health cuts are false economy
Dr Gary Marlowe, BMA London regional council chairman, writes:
Prevention is better than a cure and this is especially true when it comes to public health spending in the UK.
A recent series of papers published by the BMA highlights how cuts to public health budgets – expected to total £400m by 2020 – have undermined a prevention-based approach and are a false economy, ultimately costing the NHS more money in the long run.
The government’s watered down strategy on obesity and failure to place tighter restrictions on smoking and alcohol consumption means we are facing a ticking time bomb as services in east London reach breaking point.
Politicians must commit to working with healthcare professionals to deliver an effective public health strategy as, with the correct public health approach, there is a greater chance of preventing illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes which continue to increase year on year.
As well as the financial implications of failing to grasp the seriousness of the situation, the health and wellbeing of the nation has and will continue to suffer if the government does not intervene and commit to funding a long-term sustainable public health strategy.
Ramadan advice for diabetics
Roz Rosenblatt, Diabetes UK London manager, writes:
This year, the holy month of Ramadan begins on Saturday, May 27 when members of the Muslim community across London will be fasting for up to 19 hours a day.
Ramadan can be a challenge for Muslims living with diabetes for whom the medical implications of undertaking a prolonged fast can be extremely serious, even fatal, if not managed well.
If you are living with diabetes and thinking of fasting, it is important that you consult your GP or diabetes nurse. They will outline the potential risks associated with fasting and may also be able to provide some useful tips on how to manage the condition during Ramadan.
Another person to consider talking to is your Imam. Many of them will be able to provide advice and guidance as we work closely with them through our Community Champions programme.
It’s also worth mentioning that people with diabetes are not obliged to fast and an Imam can provide you with guidance on alternatives.
Diabetes UK has a helpline for people who have any questions regarding diabetes, including fasting during Ramadan, so please feel free to get in touch on 0345 123 2399 or visit our website