Recorder letters: RAF Hornchurch plans, thanks to Romford refuse collectors, Remembrance at Harold Hill and South Ockendon

A protest in Cavendish Avenue. Picture: Cllr Stephanie Nunn

A protest in Cavendish Avenue. Picture: Cllr Stephanie Nunn - Credit: Archant

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

We object to building on RAF Hornchurch site

Cllr Stephanie Nunn, Elm Park ward, writes:

A planning application has been submitted by Hanover Housing to build 21 flats on the green space in Cavendish Avenue.

This is not just any estate or any green space, it is part of RAF Hornchurch and of significant historical interest.

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It is an area of recreation and beauty with mature horse chestnut trees which will be cut down and wildlife which will be disturbed.

The green is to the benefit of residents on each side of the Avenue and they have asked me to publicise their opposition and a petition which currently stands at 1,500 signatures against the development.

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You will find the petition on -

Thank you to refuse collectors for keeping Romford clear from household waste

R Weston, Astor Avenue, Romford, writes:

While walking locally to the shops I notice the local refuse collectors (the bin men) having to cope with vast quantities of cardboard boxes of different sizes and a large amount of packing material, along with the regular black and orange refuse bags.

This increase in packaging is the obvious result of the increasing popularity of online shopping and of course lockdown, but it did make me aware of the extra physical demands now made on the bin men.

Much of their time is now taken up folding, flattening and carrying vast amounts of cardboard that once was only an occasional need.

I wish to acknowledge our bin men and say thank you for all their efforts in keeping Romford free from household waste.

Which is oldest tree in borough?

Cllr Linda Hawthorn, Upminster & Cranham Residents Association, writes:

There is always some rivalry about the age of trees, and which tree is the oldest in a borough.

Oak trees are usually very long lasting, with one in Lincolnshire believed to be over a thousand years old. Here, in Havering, a sessile oak in Harold Hill is believed the oldest at 380 years, but Upminster does not come far behind.

The huge oak on the corner of Little Gaynes Lane and Little Gaynes Gardens is thought to be 330 years old.

I would be interested in readers views if they know of any older?

Remembrance at Harold Hill

Denis O’Flynn, Havering Council Forces Champion, writes:

On Sunday morning of November 8, residents of Harold Hill in company with their elected representatives gathered at the Hilldene Avenue memorial to pay their respects to our dead of two world wars and numerous intervening conflicts spanning three continents.

We were a country at war and the nations resources were put to full use in both defence by our armed forces in land, sea and air but those forces needed supplies and those supply lines were kept open by the bravery of our merchant sea men who frequently lost their lives to the German U-boats, in total 35,000.

At home, too, the battle was fought in our factories, foundries, coal mines and docks and some people coming home from work then went driving ambulances for some hours .

There were other services also that we are inclined to forget from time to time.

As our people sheltered from the bombing the scum of society took the opportunity to rob the empty homes and our police force were there to deter such activities some times at the risk of their lives. Armed with a truncheon and a whistle to help them protect our empty homes.

Firemen too played a major part in firefighting, again at a cost in lives, and of course our fire wardens.

No matter how dark things seemed I do not ever remember any one using the expression “If we win this war” but the expression, “When we win this war and sorted out this lot”. It was a sign we never doubted our ability to be victorious in the end and confidence in our armed forces.

This message was given to the Harold Hill residences who attended our memorial on Sunday and they agreed.

Armistice Day service in South Ockendon

David J Savage, The Green, South Ockendon, writes:

The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford and Thurrock Council abjured me to stay indoors this Remembrance Sunday which also marked the centenary of the unveiling of the The Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall.

My home is opposite my village War Memorial and when I pulled the bedroom curtains on Sunday morning, I saw British Legion members assembling with their flags and a bugler. I quickly dressed and, in glorious sunshine, joined a socially-distanced crowd of more than a 100 to observe the two minutes silence.

Afterwards, 10 wreaths - representing military, political, civil and youth organisations - were laid at the base of the memorial and subsequently painted stones, portraying the symbolism of the poppy, were placed there by local schools and playgroups.

Now in my 70s, I have not missed an open-air Armistice Day commemoration since first taking part in the observances as a drummer in a Boys’ Brigade band in my home town of Croydon where, in 1944, mum and I survived a V1 rocket attack and a strafing by a Luftwaffe fighter pilot.

Members of my parents’ generation fought to preserve our freedoms - and I find it ironic that during the 14th century bubonic plague and the World War One Spanish flu epidemic, many churches remained open as places of prayer and sanctuary but during Bumbling Boris’s second lockdown parishioners are ordered not to communally remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Stick to rules to cut infection rate

A Hornchurch resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I recently went to a local restaurant for a meal. I was immediately struck by how many tables were taken by several people who I’d be shocked to say the least if they were from the same household.

There was a group of six girls at one and four blokes at another for example. Why weren’t the police cracking down on these places? There were enough police outside the pub opposite for one to have popped into the restaurants.

When are the public going to understand it’s not the government’s fault we are in this mess. If everyone adhered to the rules in the first place the infection rate wouldn’t be high. Plus everyone should take ID out with them to prove they are same household.

Never see police on the streets

Michael J Frost, Peartree Gardens, Romford, writes:

When I was growing up in north London in the 1940s and ’50s, it was a common sight to encounter a local ‘beat bobby’, and this engendered a certain feeling of security in one’s neighbourhood.

At that time, the force could be considered to be proactive.

Removing foot patrols and putting officers into area cars may have been a good move from a governmental and financial point of view, but making the force reactive has done little to enhance its reputation or alleviate the fears of the average citizen.

Furthermore, I cannot recall the last time I saw a policeman, be it on foot or in a patrol car. Do they not venture out at all now, unless specifically called upon?

Cost saving at the expense of the safety of the general public is a no-no. I can never see old-style policing being re-introduced, but an occasional presence on the streets might remind folk that law and order are still the watchwords.

A Conservative government purports to be the party of law and order, yet it seems content to make do with reduced personnel.

M11 has highest user satisfaction

Cllr Ron Ower, Derham Gardens, Upminster, writes:

It was interesting to see a report in the national press on the Strategic Road Users Survey for 2019/20.

The report focused on the best motorways in the country.

It showed that, in a survey of 8,000 drivers, the M20 motorway (London to Dover) was ranked the least satisfying for the second year running. This road carries large amounts of heavy goods vehicles to the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel, and has had reduced speed limits for almost two years.

The motorway with the highest amounts of satisfaction was the M11 between London and Cambridge.

For more details of the survey, take a look at the Transport Focus website The website gives full news on the various work they do on behalf of rail and bus passengers, and is well worth a visit.

Will the government be trying to get more goods on our railway network? Thus reducing pollution.

Push back on over-development

Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of the opposition, Havering Council, writes:

The leader of the council, Damian White’s latest statement is that he has always campaigned for the right type of development and that he is against the proposed development of the Seedbed Centre in Romford.

Having looked at the proposals, I certainly share his concerns, but how does that stack up when he fully backs the council’s re-development of the Waterloo Estate that will be almost as high as the Seedbed Centre proposals, but with even greater density of population?

The leader of the council has cited that the Waterloo Estate re-development is fine as it is only a few minutes away from Romford Railway Station. In truth, not much less than walking to the station from the Seedbed Centre. He is certainly clutching at straws with that argument.

Whilst Residents Association/Independent councillors have for some time been pushing back on what we consider the over-development of Havering, his Conservative colleagues on the council’s strategic planning committee have been waving through plans that are not in the long term interests of Havering.

The latest being the re-development of the former Jewsons site in South Street, Romford that will see a number of blocks of flats, including one seven storeys high.

I fully appreciate that Havering Council have been set unacceptably high housing targets from the mayor of London and the government’s housing minister, but we must not let that stop us from pushing back on the over-development of Havering that will inevitably not be to provide housing for Havering residents, but will suck in a large influx of residents from other parts of London.

Santa letter for visually impaired children

David Clarke, director of services at RNIB, writes:

With the festive season almost upon us, I’m writing to let your readers know that Santa and his elves are getting ready to give children with vision impairment a Christmas treat in the run-up to the big day.

Each year, Santa receives millions of letters from children all over the world. To make sure that every child can read his reply, he has teamed up once again with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make sure his letters are available in accessible formats including braille, audio and large print.

RNIB’s elves have been spreading festive cheer for over 20 years and last year sent 1,345 of Santa’s letters to blind and partially sighted children across the UK.

If you know a child with a vision impairment who would love to receive a letter from Santa, please send their Christmas letter to Santa Claus, RNIB, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough PE1 1TN by Tuesday 1 December.

Alternatively, you can email by Monday 21 December for an email with a large-print attachment.

Make sure to include the child’s name age, postal address, contact number and which format they need.

Merry Christmas!

Have flu vaccine if you’re eligible

Amanda Batten, chief executive, Contact (the charity for families with disabled children), writes:

Due to the Covid pandemic this year’s flu vaccination programme has been expanded to include more at-risk groups including parent carers and children and young people with long-term health conditions or a learning disability.

This follows new analysis that shows an increased risk of having coronavirus with flu.

As a charity working to support parent carers we know many are often too busy to think about their own health. And we know that the coronavirus pandemic has stopped almost half of families with disabled children from seeking medical care for themselves and their children. That’s why Contact is urging eligible families with disabled children in Havering to get the flu vaccine.

Who is eligible?

All children aged 2-11 – Primary school age children and children in year seven of secondary school will get their flu vaccination at school, so look out for the consent forms. Younger children and those who are home educated can get their vaccine at a community health clinic or your GP surgery.

All children aged 12-17 who have a long-term health condition or a learning disability – you can choose whether to get your child vaccinated at a community health clinic or your GP surgery.

Young people aged 18 and over with a long-term health condition or a learning disability.

Carers, including parent-carers, are eligible for the free flu vaccine if you receive Carer’s Allowance or are the main carer for a disabled person who may be at risk.

Getting the flu vaccination is one way to protect the health of parent carers, children and young people with disabilities.

Sick pay should be increased

Dr Alison Moore, Londonwide Assembly member, writes:

This week, thousands of lower paid Londoners will be given a pay boost with the increase of the voluntary London Living Wage to £10.85 an hour.

Over the last four years, the number of employers in the capital signed up to the Living Wage Foundation’s scheme has doubled. As London begins its economic recovery from the second lockdown, I hope to see this number continue to rise.

I welcome the government’s recent announcement of the extension of the furlough scheme until March. However, the chancellor must now put measures in place to ensure that furlough pay can no longer be allowed to fall below the minimum wage and that, as a starting point, the temporary uplift in Universal Credit payments is extended.

I am also backing the calls made by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that statutory sick pay should be increased from £95.85 to £320 per week to match the real national living wage.

Show support for working animals

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive, SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), writes:

Working animals play a key role in the world’s poorest communities and help provide a livelihood for more than half a billion people.

An estimated 200 million working horses, donkeys, camels and elephants are relied upon to transport goods, food, water and firewood. By doing the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, this invisible workforce ensures the survival of poverty-stricken families.

However, these animals often endure appalling conditions, with poor nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment when they are sick or injured.

On International Working Animal Day (November 19), please find out how you can show your support for these hardworking animals by visiting

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