Recorder letters: Hornchurch rescuers, anti-social behaviour, outdated notices, Diana interview and Christmas posters

Mr Matthews was helped by three men when he tripped over in High Street, Hornchurch. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Matthews was helped by three men when he tripped over in High Street, Hornchurch. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

Letters sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Thanks to my rescuers after I fell

Terence F Matthews LL B (Hons), Clement Way, Upminster, writes:

I never get over just how helpful our residents are.

On Friday, November 20, 2020 at about 12.30pm, I was crossing High Street Hornchurch when my foot got caught in a small hole. I crashed to the ground with traffic approaching in both lanes. I was rescued by three men who picked me up.

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I never had the time to properly thank them, as they went on their way virtually immediately. I would be obliged if I can thank them through your publication.

It is so nice to know such people are still willing to help others with no thought for their own safety.

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Anti-social behaviour totally unacceptable

Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, writes:

The recent violence and anti-social behaviour that has impacted residents in Ardleigh Green is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

This problem has been going on for many years, but the latest incidents have really unnerved local residents of what has always been a family-friendly community and a safe environment.

This is not a time for party politics. The whole community needs to come together and work out solutions, in both the short term and also looking to the longer term future.

That is why, as Ardleigh Green’s MP, I have sought to bring local residents, shopkeepers, the church and local organisations together, opening up much needed dialogue between the community and Havering College, along with the police, local councillors and our London Assembly member, Keith Prince.

My meetings with local representatives, followed by the principal and deputy principal of Havering College were extremely productive and we now have a plan for much greater dialogue and communication going forward.

The college have also committed to take direct action against students who bring crime and anti-social activities into our community.

I am sorry that the Liberal Democrat candidate for the London Assembly chose to use this worrying situation to launch an ill-informed and partisan attack on me and the leader of Havering Council.

Such wildly unhelpful politicisation of this issue does not help anyone. On the contrary, we need to build consensus in the area, not cause political division on top of all the other issues the people of Ardleigh Green are facing right now.

It is the unruly, disruptive minority of students at Havering College that are making people’s lives a misery and so for the Liberal Democrat candidate to lecture local people and claim that the local community should be working out why a teenager feels the need to carry a knife on them, is a slap in the face for the law-abiding residents of Ardleigh Green, who have not invited this trouble into their community.

The decision and responsibility for bringing a knife into what should be a place of learning, is the fault of the student in question and I commend Havering College for working with the police to apprehend this individual and exclude them from attending the college.

This swift and uncompromising approach is exactly what is needed.

As the local MP, I will continue to work with our local police, Havering College, local residents, Having Council and the whole of the Ardleigh Green community to restore calm, order and safety for all the people of the area, who want to live, work and learn without fear.

Outdated notices look a mess

D. Ainsworth, Barnstaple Road, Romford, writes:

Throughout Havering are lampposts and street signs with outdated and badly faded notices hanging loose. Sad fact is that most are Havering Council official notices.

I recall one notice, dated 2012 in Geoffrey Avenue (Harold Wood) and valid for six weeks, was in 2018 still in position.

I reported this to the council and it took a further three months and a number of additional reminders to get it taken down.

When this eventually happened the notice was torn off, so leaving its fixing in position - which took a further two years to be dealt with.

Sadly Havering Council has been mired in demarcation issues for decades and still has a “Not me” culture, no matter what is being dealt with.

Their lighting department believe it’s up to street cleaning to remove such tat - while street cleaners mark it down as lighting’s responsibility.

Their signs department also don’t remove outdated notices, again leaving it for street cleaners who only operate at pavement/road level.

Actually there’s little evidence of street signs being properly inspected as they’re often allowed to get so bad through rust, erosion and ‘wear-and-tear’ they become unreadable - then are removed and not replaced, leaving the community missing vital information.

When official outdated signs are eventually removed, the method is to tear down signs and leaving fixings in position.

All over the borough are lampposts and signs with cable ties, string and wire left for years.

Last year I made a simple suggestion to our council that whichever department attaches notices should make notes of expiry dates for their removal - and do so!

I offered, in honorary capacity as a public-spirited citizen, to show how to install a simple computer procedure to bring to their attention when signs reach expiration dates. This was declined.

Of course other items hang on street furniture, such as “Joe Bloggs is 50 today” and “Tiddles is missing”.

However when Joe’s celebrations are over and Tiddles finally returns home, those who posted such notices usually do what Havering Council can’t - they remove them.

Havering Council should inspect all lampposts and signs and remove outdated items and fixings.

Cease childish fascination with knee-jerk politics

Adam Grace, Amanda McKiernan, Andrew Curtin, Michael Armstrong, Shauna Holmes and Tim Howson, executive committee, Romford Civic Society, write:

The future environment of central Romford continues to cause extreme concern.

At the heart of this concern is the failure of Romford councillors to articulate any clear, reasonable and positive vision for the future of the heart of the town, against which progress can be measured and schemes assessed.

For example, while professing that they find something wrong with the very green development proposed on Rom Valley Way, Romford councillors were instrumental in ensuring that a very large development was approved on the Jewson’s site in South Street recently. Thus potentially establishing a precedent for similarly overpowering developments to spread along South Street in the future, creating a “mono-environment” with negative implications for life in the centre of the town, and overpowering the significant and very attractive registered heritage assets from the late Victorian and early twentieth centuries which currently give character and distinctiveness to the road.

Equally, it is bizarre that Romford councillors are advocating for their own massive scheme of cramming 1,400 flats onto their own site at Waterloo Road even though, as the Greater London Authority has observed, it contains only just over half of the extra green space which a development of this enormous scale should provide.

At the same time they are opposing the Rom Valley Way scheme, even though 55 per cent of that scheme would be new green space, including the renaturalisation of River Rom, extending improvements made by the Thames Chase Community Forest Land of the Fanns project elsewhere along the course of the river, and transforming nature conservation and biodiversity within central Romford and throughout the borough as a result.

Romford councillors badly need to cease their childish fascination with knee-jerk politics, and concentrate on the more serious and difficult job of establishing a clear and sustainable vision for the environmental future of the centre of the town instead.

Their current failure threatens to blight the character of the area for generations to come.

It’s great to see posters and lights

Cllr Ron Ower, Upminster and Cranham Residents Group, writes:

During these difficult times several residents have mentioned to me they miss the Thursday evening clapping thanking the NHS .

Here in Derham Gardens we also were entertained weekly by Keith, a regular fundraiser for St Francis Hospice, known locally as Skip, who played his guitar and sang .

Over the last few months it has been great seeing the various posters in many local windows, thanking the NHS for all their help and then the poppy posters commemorating Remembrance Day.

Now, there are some wonderful posters locally from children wishing their grandparents a Happy Christmas!

This weekend will see more and more families putting up wonderful Christmas decorations and lights .

Well done.

Ill-informed and bizarre denialism

Cllr Jason Frost, cabinet member for health and adult care services, writes:

Once again, I find myself forced to comment on the latest round of ill-informed and irresponsible denialism emanating from the pen of Cllr David Durant.

Dressing up his argument as legitimate debate, Mr Durant takes a position that the novel Covid-19 virus does not, in effect, exist at all.

Rather, he likes to champion the idea that this horrible and deadly virus is part of a global conspiracy to achieve...well your guess is as good as mine.

Would he like to explain this argument to those thousands of people who have lost loved ones to this virus?

Mr Durant is once again advocating a corporate breaching of the law by Havering Council in arguing that the organisation should refuse to adhere the legislation handed down by HM Government. Legislation designed to protect our community. Is this really behaviour befitting an elected community leader?

Not content to peddle these bizarre (and dangerous) theories and the deliberate breaching of the law, Mr Durant now turns his poison tongue to vaccination.

Without reasoned argument or evidence, Mr Durant (not a virologist) considered his strange political philosophy to be qualification enough to pass judgement on the efficacy of vaccination.

Cranham Court no longer suitable

Cllr Linda Hawthorn, Cllr Ron Ower and Cllr Chris Wilkins, Upminster ward, write:

We would like to comment on your article last week, concerning Cranham Court Nursing Home.

The three Upminster Residents councillors, whose ward the home is in, very much share the concerns of the relatives of the residents here, with the onerous task of finding a new home for their loved ones, and all the upheaval which that involves.

Saying that, we do feel that the priority must lay with the residents themselves, their care and welfare.

Standards in our homes have improved vastly over the years, and what was acceptable years ago, simply is not now - we welcome these changes.

Cranham Court is an old house, with a lovely outlook over well maintained gardens, but the owners have stated that the building is no longer suitable for a nursing home, without vast renovations.

Drop witch-hunt into Diana interview

Michael J Frost, Peartree Gardens, Romford, writes:

What is to be gained by carrying out a witch-hunt into the circumstances surrounding Martin Bashir’s historic interview with Princess Diana? It happened. It was broadcast. Get over it and move on!

If the ‘establishment’ still feels uneasy and uncomfortable because of what was revealed, it can only be because there was some truth in what she said. In fact, there were three people in her marriage, as time has shown. Who cares anymore!?

Out of respect for her boys the matter should be dropped as it can only give them continued unnecessary grief.

NHS dentists refuse band 3 treatment

E Hoad, Romford, full address supplied, writes:

In February 2020 I had a very serious accident which resulted in my teeth being knocked out and other serious health problems.

The broken bones and other health issues are still ongoing - however one of the major problems I am facing is getting a bridge made by an NHS dentist.

They all do NHS work but not band 3 as two dentists have told me it is not worth their while because of what they are paid. But they can make me a bridge privately for approximately £800.

One dentist has made me a temporary denture which is ill-fitting and which I cannot eat with.

I have tried at least 20 dentists in this area and have now expanded my search. Even health professionals who I have been involved with say ‘you’re better off paying for it and getting it done’, although I meet all the financial criteria for band 3 work on the NHS.

If dentists work for the NHS then they should be made to provide all the services offered, including band 3. And if it is not worth their while providing this service financially then the government should pay them more for band 3 work.

After paying taxes for years this is another example of how things are not working and how people are denied treatment for which they have contributed.

Police must have our confidence

Alison Moore, London Assembly member, writes:

The mayor and the London Assembly is committed to tackling all forms of crime, and as Londoners, we all must play our part in this. Underpinning this is the fact that the police must have the trust and confidence of the communities they serve to protect.

A continuing key concern revolves around the disproportionate use of policing powers against BAME Londoners. Increasingly, where some powers have been used, it has been found that no crime had been committed. Stop and search is an important tool in the fight against violent crime, but it needs to be carried out properly and appropriately if it’s to be effective.

Our police officers work extremely hard and put themselves in the face of danger every day to keep Londoners safe. Sometimes the police do things wrongly and need to be held to account when this happens. It has been encouraging to see the mayor publish an Action Plan which seeks to comprehensively address these issues.

Feeding those in need at Christmas

James Burton, Feed London Miracles Project director, writes:

Children’s charity, Miracles is launching a project called Feed London to support hundreds of vulnerable families predicted to go without a meal on Christmas Day.

We will provide a nutritious and healthy hamper to families which will include all the ingredients needed for a sumptuous Christmas dinner, plus healthy recipes ideas, a box of Christmas crackers, supermarket voucher and some treats for the children.

By donating £25 people can give the gift of Christmas dinner. Businesses are invited to purchase a family hamper for £175 which they can donate to their clients as an alternative corporate Christmas gift.

For more information about Feed London – how to donate or get involved please contact me, James Burton, on 07545174243 or

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