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Recorder letters: Bee count, housing zone, more charity trustees needed, equal pay at Ford, council merger issues, resident groups and travellers.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 June 2018

A honey bee, submitted to 2016's Great British Bee Count. Picture: Neil James Brain

A honey bee, submitted to 2016's Great British Bee Count. Picture: Neil James Brain

Neil James Brain

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Join in the Great British bee count

Emi Murphy, Friends of the Earth bee campaigner, writes:

Friends of the Earth is urging people to help our under-threat bees by taking part in the Great British Bee Count, which runs until June 30.

Habitat loss, climate change, pesticides and intensive farming are just some of the pressures facing these fabulous insects, which pollinate much of the food we eat.

By downloading a fun, free and easy-to-use app participants can find out more about the bees that visit their gardens, parks and countryside – and get tips on how they can help them.

Thousands of verified sightings from this year’s bee count will also contribute to the government’s Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, which is compiling the first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.

Get the app and get counting: greatbritishbeecount.co.uk

Housing zone must include restoration of River Rom

Lois Amos, Michael Armstrong, Andrew Curtin, Tim Howson, Amanda McKiernan, Caron Webb, executive committee, Romford Civic Society, write:

Romford Civic Society is extremely concerned that the restoration and re-naturalisation of the River Rom in central Romford does not seem to be being planned for by the local authority as part of the densely-packed Romford Housing Zone, which will result in about 3,500 new flats being built in a very small area in the centre of the town over the coming years.

Romford Housing Zone could, ironically, result in a great improvement in biodiversity and ecosystems in the centre of the town if planned for properly. It won’t if the local authority doesn’t have a clear proposal to present to developers as to how this should be achieved.

This is important.

Havering is a very green borough. At the moment, however, the centre of Romford acts as a block on nature conservation and wildlife corridors as it is so very urban.

Re-naturalising the river in the centre of the town along with a comprehensive programme of living walls and green roofs as part of the housing zone could go a long way towards rectifying that. But it needs to be planned.

The character of the River Rom is to be broad and shallow.

This also means that it is prone to flooding. Plans to improve the river in the middle of the town will need to be based on a clear understanding of the hydraulics of the river, so that they don’t just result in flooding elsewhere.

A comprehensive and coherent plan to restore and re-naturalise the river in the centre of the town could also have important advantages for the new built environment of the middle of Romford.

As developers point out, they will be more likely to be able to borrow a greater sum of money from the banks to build a development by a pleasant green river than by what is effectively now a storm drain.

This would mean they could build their developments from good quality materials, with all of the environmental and quality of life benefits which this would bring compared to structures made from cheap, poor quality, materials.

We hope that high-quality sympathetic restoration of the River Rom as part of Romford Housing Zone will very soon appear as a key priority for the local authority.

Our charity needs more trustees

Mike Yore, Parkside Avenue, Romford, writes:

I am a trustee with the charity home from home for the elderly. Our aim is to open a care home in Havering that would be run on a non-profit making basis.

We have been in existence for seven years and run a befriending service at the moment until we can fund our care home. We visit lonely elderly local residents, help out with shopping, gardening or just have a chat and a cup of tea.

We also have a once a month meeting with local elderly folk at a Hornchurch school, arrange talks with tea coffee and light refreshments.

Life is very difficult for charities in Havering with government and council cuts to charities.

We raise our own funds and get no help from the government or council.

What we need are new trustees to help us move forward. People with confidence, computer skills, admin skills but most of all people who can help us raise funds.

If you think you would like to help us contact me.

Michael Yore at mpyore@hotmail.co.uk, phone 07832299081.

Equal pay at Ford, but at what cost?

Mr E F W Dean, Fagus Avenue, Rainham, writes:

With reference to your report from Jon King about the factory strike at Fords by the 187 women (June 1968).

Although the action started in 1968 triggered equal pay for women, it should be noted that the seven-week strike they created in 1984 would seem to have attracted no attention.

As a result of the 1984 seven-week strike cars were being made without seats and being stored at great expense to the company. This resulted in plants in Europe also suffering because of this strike because they were supplied trim.

As a result of this long strike and the delay of production of completed vehicles throughout Europe, Henry Ford stated that no plant would ever again be held to ransom by any strike at one plant.

This was the start of Ford moving out of Dagenham?

It started when the Sierra was moved to Belgium.

It continued when Ford then started to produce complete seats by company called Johnson Controls. Thus the end of trim production at Dagenham.

The women may have got their equal pay but at what cost?

Where are the car plants at Dagenham now?

I aim to get council out of this merger

Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, leader, Independent Residents Group, writes:

Further to the many complaints I have been receiving I will be straight with you all.

This is regarding the bus service being withdrawn from Rainham North. I contacted our council on local residents’ behalf, and later directly and indirectly with all other parties, TfL, the roadwork contractors, the bus company, and of course LBH Council.

After listening to many other residents and reading all the correspondences back and forth I can only put my findings down to the lack of organisation and poor professional consultation management between our council and the other parties involved.

Since the back office merger of Havering and Newham councils our council has been plummeting from a top performing council down the ranks with the likes of Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the other poorly managed councils.

This is why we find ourselves in this trouble and why our council is not performing like it once did.

I know this statement will once again find me in deep trouble but if you want the truth from me, I am sorry but here it is.

I will continue to do my best for the residents I represent and my main aim will be to get Havering Council out of this merger with Newham.

Resident groups don’t share values

Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, writes:

Readers may be forgiven in believing that all residents’ association councillors are part of one large harmonious group, seeking to serve all people across Havering.

The truth is that political resident association councillors are almost a uniquely Havering phenomena. Our borough has more resident association councillors than anywhere in London or, most of the country.

Resident associations play a vital role within civic life, and an important way in which residents may have their views and opinions heard.

However, the view that seems to be expressed as of late, that all residents association and independent councillors across Havering subscribe or share a common set of beliefs or values, is a nonsense.

Over many years, the many different resident associations represented on the council have made their own mind up on how best to deliver for all residents of the borough.

I have often been told by residents’ colleagues that they are better placed because they do not follow a whip on the council.

We must therefore look to Brighton Council, which was the first Green authority in the country, as what could happen to Havering if they took charge.

Brighton was taken to a brink of ruin by a group that maintained no whipping system on the council and was, in effect, a desperate grouping of independent Green councillors – all sharing a similar branding but a very different view point on how best to manage their affairs.

Looking at all residents association councillors on Havering, we have former Labour, Conservative, and National Front members, all now proudly sitting as resident association councillors – a collection of individuals with a shared branding but view different political beliefs.

In comparison, the Conservative Group, which is by far the largest single group on the council, is united in a view and desire to deliver one thing: to Keep Havering Special.

Whilst I doubt that my view will be universally welcomed by those that may wish to hide their true colours under a sanitizing R A banner, my administration will build upon the successes of the last 16 years – to deliver a truly special borough.

We need injunction against Travellers

Cllr Clarence Barrett, group leader, Upminster & Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:

Given the regular Traveller incursions into our borough and the inevitable mountain of fly-tipped rubbish and debris left behind, we should be doing all within the powers available to tackle this scourge.

A tactic that has proved successful elsewhere is the use of an injunction against unauthorised camps and named persons from setting up such encampments across sites on a borough wide basis.

The injunction allows the authority to move encampments on within 24 hours, as opposed to the five or six days it normally takes, while a breach of the injunction is contempt of court and punishable by a term of imprisonment.

Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Enfield and Essex County Council all have injunctions in place – so why haven’t Havering?

No wonder the Traveller community targets our borough, as we must seem a soft touch compared with our neighbours.

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