Recorder letters: Overdevelopment, Beam Park, tree planting, Gallows Corner, Hope poem and unarmed police.
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2018
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.
Get involved in planting new trees
Keith Prince, London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, writes:
One of the latest announcements to come out of City Hall is in relation to tree planting – 49,000 free trees are going to be made available to Londoners, with the trees due to be planted on over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2 to mark National Tree Week.
This is, of course, all too little too late.
The mayor promised before his election that two million trees would be planted during his four-year term, a pledge which he has subsequently dropped.
However, I welcome any move to help make Havering and Redbridge greener so I would urge interested readers to apply by November 5 via london.gov.uk/plant-a-tree.
Mayor not interested in the impact of overdevelopment
Cllr Graham Williamson, deputy leader, Independent Residents Group, South Hornchurch, writes:
I commend your editorial (Frustration over planning ruling, Recorder, October 5) but would like to explain the reasons/excuses the Mayor of London’s deputy gave for imposing a high rise development upon Havering.
It is self-evident that the mayor wants to use Havering’s (and other outer boroughs’) land to house inner London’s mushrooming population.
The fact that the consequence will be an overdevelopment of our brownfield land leading to overcrowding, competition for services and introverted communities, is of no interest to him and his office.
However, the decision maker Jules Pipe stated that, despite the fact that the size of the tower blocks were much higher than permitted by the council’s own guidance, our own planners did not object to the earlier application (whose towers were also higher than they should be), and that was enough for him to equally ignore our guidance too!
It is bad enough fighting a mayor and government who only focus on housing targets without looking over our shoulder at our own council to see whether it will defend its own policies.
Such a failure has consequences eg sets precedents and affects our existing quality of life. We must demand better!
Approval of Beam Park great news
Ex-councillor Ray Shaw writes:
What excellent news that Beam Reach in Rainham and Dagenham has got the green light to go ahead thanks to The Mayor of London’s Office ensuring common sense prevailed by taking control of the development.
It’s fantastic with everything included – new schools, a medical centre now twice the size of original plans, new railway station and a whole new community.
How could anyone in their right mind try to refuse it? Tell those young and not so young folk they will be not be getting brand new homes after all would have been totally irresponsible.
We need all the homes we can get for our families who live in poor conditions thinking they had a chance of a home of their own in Dagenham and Rainham.
Council now obsolete
Alan Cauvain, St Andrews Avenue, Hornchurch, writes:
Havering Council and councillors have been over-ridden on the Beam Park near 3,000 homes project by an unelected deputy mayor of London, Jules Pipe.
Why do we need a council, councillors and a mayor when they are obviously obsolete and have no teeth because Havering are part of the GLA (under the control of Sadiq Khan)?
On a further point, why was Havering involved in a joint venture with Barking and Dagenham for the Beam Park development? Surely Havering Council should be looking after and building for the people of Havering not other boroughs.
The only reason for the mass home building push across the UK must surely be largely down to migration as we are constantly being told the birth rate for the British people has been dropping for years.
Havering is being let down by leader of the council Tory Damian White who should be saying NO to S Khan and stop this happening.
Gallows layout should be changed
Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, writes:
I very much welcome the announced shortlisting of Gallows Corner for additional investment by the government, which is long overdue.
Gallows Corner is a major roundabout junction in Havering, with a two-way flyover over it.
The flyover, constructed in the 1970s and made from prefabricated units, was intended to be only be a temporary structure – something that still irks local motorists every time they use it over 40 years later.
Including the flyover and arterial roads to and from it, Gallows Corner is the responsibility of Transport for London (TfL). The council has no control over its funding, management, operation or maintenance.
There is often severe congestion at the junction and this also has an adverse effect on many other roads in Havering. It has a poor record in road safety and is linked to poor air quality.
Based on our monitoring data, the poor air quality at Gallows Corner has been identified as one of Havering’s key hotspots.
The junction causes a major loss in links between Harold Hill and Romford, resulting in residents not being able to enjoy easy access to the south of the borough.
For a number of years, my administration and I have lobbied TfL to undertake fundamental improvements to this junction to improve traffic flow, address safety concerns and tackle this barrier to easy movement around the borough.
Concerns have also been raised about the appearance of the junction and that it forms an unsatisfactory ‘gateway’ into Havering, as it forms an important approach to Romford town centre.
Whilst I have welcomed proposals put forward in the past by TfL to improve safety at the junction, these measures did not go far enough in tackling the fundamental issue of congestion.
My administration has long argued that change is required at Gallows Corner both in terms of its physical layout and its operation. This should include options for removing the ageing flyover.
Furthermore, “sinking” the junction in the same way that has been identified for the A13 in Barking and Dagenham, would enable wider development opportunities to be explored.
For nearly 20 years I have campaigned for this junction to receive the additional investment required, alongside Andrew Rosindell MP for Romford and now, Keith Prince, GLA Member for Havering and Redbridge – our man in City Hall.
As well as being one of the first five potential local road schemes in the government’s major road network programme, it was also great to hear that Gallows Corner is eligible for further funds, which may become available if TfL can make a strong enough business case for more investment.
Poem on the power of hope
Donna Wilkes, address supplied, writes:
‘Hope’ is possibly the most powerful word I have heard,
it covers a multitude of events in our world.
From the wishes we give saying we ‘hope’ you enjoy your birthday,
to catastrophic events we ‘hope’ do not ruin your day.
A terrorist event that happens in our capital,
we ‘hope’ our armed forces will catch those responsible.
When we all watched Grenfell Tower with a fear of reality,
We ‘hoped’ the fire services would lead tenants to safety.
Then there’s the ‘hope’ we wish for family and friends,
will be enough for their suffering to end.
We ‘hope’ the people we love with all our heart,
will find a way to repair and make a new start.
When people we love lose those they have given life,
we ‘hope’ beyond measure they can get over their grief.
And when our friends and family are diagnosed with incurable deceases,
we pray and ‘hope’ with our help their pain eases.
When cancer affects a family member,
our ‘hope’ is all we can offer.
The outcome is with current science,
but we ‘hope’ it’s enough to ease our conscience.
Hope is the most powerful feeling we have,
together with prayer for those we have loved.
Fear of the unknown we do not want to visit,
so keep hold of ‘hope’ as the only requisite.
Without ‘hope’ our life would be meaningless,
nothing but pain and duress.
Keep ‘hope’ in your heart to cope day to day,
be kind to each other and try to pray.
An excuse to end unarmed police?
Cllr David Durant, former Havering Crime & Disorder committee chairman, writes:
The inquest into the Westminster attack has become very embarrassing for senior Met police officers as it appears those on duty were told to patrol away from Parliament’s main gate, which was left open, on the same day a knife wielding assailant entered the area and killed Pc Keith Palmer!
The assailant was then shot dead by the personal bodyguard of the defence secretary, who happened to be in the area at the time, along with the interim head of the Metropolitan Police.
The family of Pc Palmer complain they are being treated as criminals for asking questions about security arrangements only days after a drill to improve security had been held. Web search, Westminster simulation exercise on March 19 for more information.
My particular concern is the event is being used as another excuse to end our proud tradition for unarmed policing by further arming the police, fuelling speculation that these events are being exploited to attract extra funding for “elite anti-terror squads” to the detriment of general policing, which may turn Britain into a lawless police state.
For example, anti-terrorist funding, has been increased by over £1billion at a time when police numbers are being cut, stations and all Safer Neighbourhood Team bases are being closed and there is rising violent crime on London’s streets.