Letters: Social distancing, vaccination experience and how to stop catalytic converter thefts

Raphael Park

Ray Emery says some joggers in Raphael Park are not observing social distancing - Credit: Ken Mears

Joggers ignoring social distancing

Ray Emery, Romford, full address supplied, writes:
Is it safe to mix walkers and joggers together in Raphael Park?
I walk with my wife there and the footpaths are quite narrow, social distancing is possible. 

However the joggers do not think social distancing is applicable to them and rush past almost brushing shoulders and exhaling huge plumes of breath over everybody. 

They do not obey the 1 metre + rule and are becoming something of a menace to the other park users who for the most part are obeying the rules for public safety. 

We all need our exercise but it should not be at a cost to others. 
Do they not think of wearing a mask or if not then keeping two metres apart from others many of whom are in the age group which classes them as vulnerable? 

Some joggers of course are respectful of others but from my own observations, and many people that I talk to, they are a minority.

Is it possible perhaps to restrict joggers to the north end of the park where they could do circuits without endangering the health of others? 

I know this is a growing concern all over London and have written to the council to ask if they are considering this matter. 


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I’ve had the vaccination, there’s no need for apprehension

Mr J M Branch, Grove Court, Little Gaynes Lane, writes: 
As one who still finds many of the statistics surrounding Covid-19 to be suspect and who is therefore also critical of the overriding strategy, I should like, much to my surprise, to present a more positive note. 

I am 85 years old, with current health issues, and a few days ago I asked my surgery if and when I could expect my vaccination. 
I was told that I would be contacted at some point in the future, which turned out to be a few minutes later. 

It meant me attending Hornchurch Library only an afternoon or two later, where the entire procedure took only about 45 minutes, including a quarter of hour “sit down” at the end (with a timer), to make sure there was no adverse reaction of any sort. 

Everybody involved, whether medics or helpers, were efficient, calm and kind and if anybody, of any age or in whatever state of health, is in any apprehension about having the vaccination I would urge them not to be so. 


Clamp can stop catalytic thefts

Terence F Matthews LL B (Hons), retired police inspector, Clement Way, Upminster, writes:
I am reading in national newspapers about the lack of suitable accommodation to conduct vaccinations. 

We should have no problems in Havering as there are plenty of council owned properties that cannot function as normal, that could be used rather than our libraries. 

For instance Langton’s, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, where there are two large halls with a way in and exit (normally emergency exits to the car park). Both halls have sufficient seating and tables available for there to be a vaccination area and a waiting area. 

Why are these Havering venues not being used if the reports are true?

Also, having read the plight of the nurse who had the catalytic converter on her hybrid car stolen, I am disgusted. All car parks have CCTV so I hope hospital security are assisting police in their enquiries.

About four years ago, I had two catalytic converters stolen from my camper in six weeks, while in a so-called security compound in this borough. 

This crime was rife at the time. We are now hearing of this crime, once again, getting out of control.

Police should stop every vehicle, especially vans, during late evenings and nights. 

Only those with a lawful reason should be out, these thieves operate in the dark, some with night vision glasses. 

Police have always staged road blocks to stop any particular crime requires that action, so it should be now.

The police will not advertise a company in their advice but I can. 
I fitted a device called a Catclamp. It can be self-fitted but a professional car mechanic can fit it very quickly. No more thefts of my catalytic converter took place. 

This is a American firm but operates in the UK. Have a look on the internet, there also may be UK firms making them now .
Only by the courts cracking down on these low-lives will this crime stop, or at least reduce.





How could MP oppose lockdown?

Joseph Sowerby, Romford, full address supplied, writes:
I struggle to understand how Andrew Rosindell could refer to Queen’s Hospital in his speech in Parliament during the debate on the newly introduced lockdown regulations, when his subsequent vote ignored the fact that that hospital is currently stretched to the limit in caring for Covid-19 patients.

His position in opposing the lockdown measures seems to show little appreciation of the scale of the illness, and of the deaths, that are occurring in his own constituency. 

Those who are ill with Covid-19 are just as much his constituents as others – and, so far as limits on our freedoms are concerned, the instruments that enshrine exactly those fundamental rights and freedoms that Andrew espouses also acknowledge the legitimacy of constraining those freedoms in the interest of the common welfare in situations of emergency such as the present.


Mr Rosindell is not taking this seriously

Thomas Clarke, Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for Havering and Redbridge, writes:
I, like many of the Recorder’s readers, receive a weekly email update from the council. 

Recently this has, of course, been filled with updates on the pandemic and how we as a community need to act to help keep ourselves and our neighbours safe. In the last update it thanked us “for continuing to play your part in saving lives and protecting our NHS”. 

Unfortunately there is one person living in our community who is not helping the fight or the NHS - Member of Parliament for Romford Andrew Rosindell. 

I was shocked to see that he was one of just 16 MPs to vote against the new lockdown measures when they were voted on last week. This comes just a couple of months after a picture of him was published in The Mirror newspaper not wearing a face covering appropriately on a train. 

It is clear that the MP is not taking the pandemic seriously and is letting down the heroic doctors and nurses who are battling to save lives. 

A major incident has been declared in London, patients are being treated in the back of ambulances at Queen’s Hospital and oxygen supplies are nearing their limit - the system is nearing bursting point! 

So, we should be all working together to help defeat the virus and protect our community - yet we are being let down by the very man who has been elected to represent us. 

Mr Rosindell has decided to oppose the advice of the government he was elected to, the council his seat resides in and the medical opinion of the incredible healthcare professionals in our NHS. 

Isn’t it time we had someone representing his constituents with a grip on reality?


Covid shows we must stop building developments

Alan Norris, Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, writes:
With Queen’s Hospital being completely overwhelmed by the ongoing Covid crisis, when are our local MPs and council going to actually stand up for the people they were elected to represent and say that no more developments can take place in Havering until hospital capacity meets the requirements of the numbers it is expected to be available for?

It has been reported in the national press recently that government big hitters Priti Patel, Michael Gove and Robert Jenrick have each opposed and stopped developments in their constituencies, each of which were far smaller than the numbers already built recently in Havering.

But we are now told that an estate is to be built on the ice-rink site, and also large developments in the Crow Lane and Waterloo Road areas.

Last year when it was mooted that asylum seekers were to be placed in the Palms Hotel in Hornchurch, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell galvanised himself into action. justifying treading on Hornchurch MP Julia Lopez’s toes by claiming that their presence would adversely impact on local hospital places and services. 

So why does he appear to be silent when all this gross overdevelopment is taking place?

In recent years we have seen the closures of Oldchurch, Harold Wood, Rush Green and Victoria Cottage hospitals in our local area; added to which Saint George’s Hospital for older patients’ convalescence and after-care in Hornchurch is now a 390-plus housing estate, with just Queen’s as the only hospital in use.

So come on Messrs Rosindell and White and Mrs Lopez, can we expect some standing up to the developers, or are all of us that will be waiting for operations, appointments or A&E just going to form a very long queue, adding to the borough’s traffic nightmare?


A confidential matter for doctors

Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, writes:
On behalf of the government, the council leader wants to launch a council publicity campaign to persuade all Havering residents to take the new fast-tracked coronavirus vaccines. 

However it’s unethical for councils to promote medication as surely this is a confidential matter for doctors and patients, as any drugs shouldn’t be taken without medical advice.

Therefore if the council leader insists on such a campaign, he must ensure any publicity material informs residents about the effectiveness, contents and any possible side-effects of the drugs, particularly for people on other medication, so they can make an informed choice when invited to take up their vaccination by the NHS.

And for those who may refuse the new vaccines for medical reasons the publicity campaign should also fully inform residents of the benefits of vitamin D, healthy eating, exercise and socialising in the sunshine to strengthen the immune system which is vital for a healthy body and mind.

And this is why the Independent Residents Group has submitted a motion to council to secure these conditions to any council publicity campaign.



Ban secret CCTV facial recognition

Sian Berry AM, Green Party candidate for mayor of London, writes: 
London’s new rules for developers of new public spaces must ban the use of facial recognition cameras, and I’m calling on the mayor to make this happen.

Since 2016 I have worked with campaigners to win new policies from the mayor to stop arbitrary rules being imposed in new public squares. The freedom to sit, socialise and exercise free speech in public spaces is so important, but it is being eroded every time a new public space is created, and developers ban activities like playing, protesting or simply being homeless.

We have also seen the even more sinister practice of private CCTV fitted with facial recognition being used on us secretly without our consent. 

In 2017 the London Assembly passed a motion I proposed for new planning policies to fix these problems when new spaces are planned, but we have waited more than three years for the mayor to produce the policy he promised.

A draft new Public London Charter is now out for consultation.
I know how important freedom and civil liberties are to Londoners and I hope many of you will join me and call on the mayor to make this policy stronger and to ban facial recognition in private CCTV systems in the new public spaces it will control.


Join Zoom call on tenants’ manifesto

Pauline Hutchison and Pat Turnbull, regional representatives, London Tenants Federation, write: 
On Tuesday, January 19, social housing tenants and leaseholders from across London are invited to come together for the launch of The London Tenants’ Manifesto.

Just over a year ago, tenant reps from across London met to begin drawing up a vision of a positive future for social housing in London. Since then, Covid-19 has shown us that this tenant-led vision is more timely than ever. 

The Health Foundation is now making the case that social housing is essential to the Covid-19 recovery phase. 

Yet each scandal, disaster and sham consultation tells us that the quantity, quality and management of social housing is far from where it needs to be. 

We, as tenants, should be at the heart of discussions as to how this can change, but too often we feel unheard.

On January 19 we will be looking at how this could be turned around. We want to ensure that, when it comes to our homes, social housing tenants and leaseholders are respected as experts and involved from the outset in overseeing all aspects of the safety, design and maintenance of our homes.

The launch will take place at 2pm on January 19 via Zoom. To all interested, please email info@londontenants.org to find out more and book. We hope to see you there.


Help available for RAF veterans

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, chief executive, RAF Benevolent Fund, writes: 
Earlier this month the prime minister announced a third national lockdown. Although necessary, these measures mean many of our veterans will be facing the next several weeks – or months – completely alone.

Social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners supported by the Fund.

To help combat this, last year the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a weekly Check and Chat service to support members of the RAF Family experiencing loneliness. 

I speak to one such gentleman every Tuesday. He lives alone and spent much of 2020 totally isolated, and for him, this service truly is a lifeline. We chat about what he’s been up to, what he’s cooking for tea, to his time in the RAF and often I’m the only person he will speak to for days.

The Fund also facilitates weekly Telephone Friendship Groups, provides access to a Listening and Counselling Service, relationship counselling support, and an online wellbeing portal to help support emotional wellbeing amongst the veteran community. 

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learnt more about our neighbours and local community. That’s why we are calling on the people of London to consider whether they know any RAF veterans, or their spouses or widows, who may be experiencing loneliness. To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.
 

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