Recorder letters: Post Office, PSPO, local papers, Dagnam Park, Tories, Brexit and save trees

PUBLISHED: 10:03 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 03 April 2017

PA Wire/PA Images

The Post Office is looking to move the Hornchurch branch into a franchise. Picture: PA

Don’t lecture about playing politics

Eamonn Mahon, chairman, Brooklands Residents Association, writes:

May I take issue with some of the comments from the chairman of Hornchurch and Upminister Conservative association in his letter (Forget politics and join fight to save post office, Recorder, March 24).

Amongst other things he invited Cllr Woods to put people before politics, cross the political divide, and join himself and his Tory cohorts in fighting a bad decision by the Post Office and work with them instead of playing politics regarding the Hornchurch issue.

Playing politics was precisely the stance the writer and his colleagues took when I organised a 5,000 named petition opposing the post office in Romford being moved into WH Smiths in the Liberty (see Romford Recorder October 25, 2010).

On that occasion I wanted to “cross the political divide” and invited the writer and every councillor in the town hall to sign the petition, but I am sorry to say, not a single Tory would sign.

I also asked the Romford MP if I could hand over the petition to himself and Cllr Keith Darvill – to which he replied he would except it “only if I would hand it to him alone and at Tory HQ”.

The above was a disgraceful demonstration of putting politics before people and as the Hornchurch issue is similar to the Romford one, I would invite Hornchurch residents to be aware of Tory propaganda.

In my opinion they are in no position to lecture residents regarding putting people before politics.

We disagree with penalty for begging in town centre

Graham Potter, chairman, Havering Liberal Democrats, writes:

I write in response to Havering Council’s proposal for a PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) covering Romford Town Centre. Havering Liberal Democrats fundamentally disagree with the suggestion that we should prevent “begging or the seeking of alms” through the use of penalty notices or criminalisation.

We have a sad and shameful situation at present where the number of homeless on our streets has increased and now includes young and vulnerable people.

The appropriate response should be to help them, not sweep them off the streets.

There are a number of other areas within the proposal which seem excessive, particularly around preventing busking with amplified equipment and “charity solicitation”.

Do we want to completely ban electric guitars, violins etc? Surely this would be better controlled by limiting excessive noise.

Although many people do find “chugging” objectionable – the wording of the proposal suggests it could extend into a wide variety of charity activities. I assume we don’t actually want to prevent charity collection?

Charity collectors already need to be licensed in Havering – perhaps this would be a better mechanism to control problems in this area.

One of the problems with PSPOs is that they can be enforced by council officers in addition to the police.

This means that someone who is not a police officer, in addition to being able to issue a fixed penalty notice or on-the-spot fine, may be able to send you to court where you could receive a fine of up to £1,000 and possibly a criminal conviction.

While it is very important to keep Romford a safe and pleasant place, we need to avoid a situation where teenagers can end up with criminal records on a “hair trigger” – this tends to cause greater problems for society in the long run by marginalising individuals away from the world of work and into our overcrowded prisons.

We need to ensure that if a town centre PSPO is to be implemented in Havering it is done in a wise and measured way

Local papers vital to communities

Tom Copley, Londonwide Assembly Member writes:

Local news matters.

That is the name of the National Union of Journalists campaign this week that is celebrating, defending, and raising awareness around the threat to local news coverage.

Local newspapers are read by millions of people every week.

They are trusted. They highlight important local issues that are not covered in the national press, but also break stories which often end up on front pages across the country.

There is no doubt in my mind that independent, well informed local newspapers are vital to our communities.

They are also important to our democracy.

They are holding councils and local politicians to account, and research shows there is a link between poor local news coverage and low participation in local elections.

Worryingly, in just over 10 years, over 200 newspapers have closed and the number of newspapers overall has halved.

Many daily papers have become weekly, and often those weekly issues do not have a dedicated editorial team.

We are in real danger of losing our local press, and with it some of our local knowledge and scrutiny.

Trusted local journalists, and stories highlighting issues that matter to residents of Havering and Redbridge, are more important than ever.

We stopped solar park, not CAT

Lorraine Moss, member of The Dagnam Park Campaign Group, writes:

I was rather surprised when I read the latest leaflet from The Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Action Team that has been distributed in Harold Hill.

On this leaflet they state: “Your Conservative Action Team successfully campaigned against the proposal for the planned solar farm development. We are happy to report that after pressure not only from our action team, but Friends of Dagnam Park and others the council have decided not to go ahead with the proposed plans.”

Members of our campaign group were rather intrigued by this statement because we have never had any dealings with the Conservative Action Team. I checked their Facebook page and there is no mention of their campaign to “Save The Manor”.

We decided to email them and ask exactly what they has done. In their response they actually refer to the park as “Dagenham Park”. They claim that they worked behind the scenes with GLA member Keith Prince.

Keith Prince did respond to a personal invitation to walk around the Manor with the Friends of Dagnam Park. He was not accompanied by any members of their action group.

We were all very grateful that Keith did attend. Jan Sargent and I also were able to talk at length with the leader of the council, Cllr Roger Ramsey when we attended his “Meet The Leader” session in January.

This led to Cllr r Ramsey visiting the park with Jan Sargent and two members of The Friends of Dagnam Park. Cllr Ramsey actually referred to this visit when he made his announcement that the plans for the solar farm have been abandoned in their current form at the full council meeting on January 25, 2017.

The reasons he gave for his decision were that he has listened to the concerns raised by residents and the friends of Dagnam Park. He also visited the site on two occasions and stated: “My particular concerns include the size of the area proposed and its topography.”

The only contact I personally have had from the Conservative Action team was one of them contacted me on January 25, 2017 because they were aware that a protest was taking place outside the Town Hall.

They asked me to “please tell people not to boo us because we are on your side”. I have since been advised that the Conservative Group were informed of Cllr Ramsey’s decision at their meeting of January 23, 2017.

During this campaign we worked with and were supported by many different political parties.

It would have been a severe loss to all of the people in Havering and had an adverse impact on the wildlife and environment if these plans had been approved.

We were very pleased that the Conservative administration did listen to the people and decide not to go ahead.

I am very grateful if this Conservative Action Team did support us behind the scenes. However, I feel for them to try and claim the credit for all of the hard work done by the campaign team and the residents of Harold Hill is totally unacceptable.

It must be asked, if they had so much influence, why on earth did they not prevent the proposal from ever being put forward?

Tories adapt in pursuit of power

Mr W Ramsay, Stephen Avenue, Rainham, writes:

One thing that cannot fail to impress about the Conservatives is how adaptable they are in their pursuit of overall power.

Nationally they feared that votes for Ukip would deny them a majority in the 2015 general election and so the EU referendum was promised.

Locally, the Conservatives were denied a majority by the support the RAs have, and are therefore setting about stealing their clothes by adopting a community focus, as manifested in the Conservatives’ somewhat unexpected concern over the closure of the Hornchurch Post Office.

The trouble here is that it is their own party at the national level that decided the Post Office should be privatised, and so is free to close branches in the same way as banks do.

If the local Conservatives support the national party’s policy they must hold such closures to be a regrettable consequence of what is in the overall national interest. But in taking their present stance the suggestion is they oppose it.

Loyalty, another of the Conservatives’ celebrated traits, may however prevent them saying so.

Another good reason for Brexit

Malvin Brown, Corbets Tey Road, Upminster, writes:

The bin men came today and left rubbish all over the garden.

Were the foxes responsible? No! If they did the dirty deed it was because they were just doing what foxes do. Looking for dinner on a cold night.

Not long ago we never had this problem because we used to put the sacks on our four foot high front wall, and so did our neighbours. No rubbish!

But then the bin men refused to take them off the wall and so the sacks got left.

They were quite happy to lift them up four feet into the lorry but not down four feet off the wall. Apparently it’s a new health and safety directive straight from Brussels to protect the backs of the bin men. What a load of old cods!

Brexit can’t come quickly enough.

Sorry to see trees near theatre axed

Mrs J Atkins, Bourne End, Hornchurch, writes:

I am very sad to see that many of the trees in the car park next to the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, have been cut down.

I wonder if this is to make room for more cars. Trees are much more important for our health than cars are.

I will always miss them.

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