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Recorder letters: Upminster shop closures, save our high streets, litter and rough sleeping, thank you for Ged's articles, police, LGBT flag, LibLabCon parties, health centre funding, trains dispruption and British Heart Foundation research.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 February 2019

Queens Theatre near Fairkytes

Queens Theatre near Fairkytes

John Race

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

Problem of litter and rough sleeping

John Race, Cromer Road, Hornchurch, writes:

I refer to the letter in the Romford Recorder on February 1 from a Collier Row resident about the amount of litter on our streets. This photograph was taken last summer, in August, in fact, by the Queen’s Theatre near Fairkytes (visible in the background). It shows the problem of litter and rough sleeping.

Upminster has lot to offer despite shop closures

Cllrs Linda Hawthorn, Ron Ower and Chris Wilkins, Upminster & Cranham Residents Association, write:

Every day we have sad news that our shopping centres are under pressure.

In the large centres many leading stores have closed .

Here in Upminster three banks have closed and a further one has announced that they will close in June this year.

They say that people’s banking habits have changed. Whilst many residents do prefer internet banking a huge amount like to pop into their local bank whilst they are out shopping .

We have also seen shops close due to retirement, new leases etc.

However, we learn that there is a lot of interest in any shop being available.

However, here in Upminster, we have a lot to offer – a wide range of shops, predominantly independent, stunning furnishing store, fabulous department store, many restaurants, coffee houses, several pubs, supermarkets and easy access by public transport. A well used library and an award wining park. Come and visit us.

What we do not want is an increase on council parking charges we have constantly opposed this.

We can save our high streets

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

The survival of our high streets has never been more pronounced than it is today.

Against the challenges of business rates, rents, online shopping and out-of-town shopping centres, the need to help our local economies survive, adapt and flourish is crucial.

An additional factor is that, from April 2020, local councils will rely on business rates as their main source of income. If our shops and businesses close, then there is no business rate income.

That is why the punitive increases in parking charges, along with the removal of free 30 minutes parking from just Upminster and Hornchurch, proposed by the Conservative-led administration are so damaging.

The council meeting to decide these proposals is on February 27, (7.30pm) in the Town Hall, where there will be a more sympathetic and sustainable alternative proposed which will still keep within budget.

As such, I would urge all members and residents to get behind the Residents’ Association on this and save our high streets.

Napoleon said we are a nation of shopkeepers, if these draconian parking charges go through, we will be a town of redundant shopkeepers.

Thanks for Ged’s history articles

A Recorder reader, Romford, full name and address supplied, writes:

A word of thanks to Prof Ged Martin for his articles in the history and heritage section.

They are always interesting and often amusing and I hope they make us more aware of how our area has developed over centuries and continues to evolve.

Police are brilliant but need support

Keith Prince, London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, writes:

I wanted to express my sincere gratitude to the Met Police for the exemplary way in which they targeted and arrested the 16 people believed to be involved in serious organised crime (Sixteen arrests in 3am guns and drugs raid, Recorder front page last week).

They appeared to deal with this situation in a professional and effective way and we are lucky to have them protecting us in Romford.

Sadly this situation is symptomatic of the huge surge in crime that we are seeing across the whole of greater London. Day after day I am pushing for our mayor, Sadiq Khan, to get a grip of the problem and put more cops on the streets.

As these local arrests show, our police are brilliant but they desperately need more support.

Constitution ignored to fly LGBT flag

Cllr David Durant, Rainham and Wennington Independent Residents Group, write:

In February last year some local Labour campaigners wanted to fly the LGBT flag outside the town hall to mark LGBT History Month.

Initially the council refused as the flag protocols restricted what flags could be flown and when, but in an apparent U-turn and without changing the protocols, the council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey ordered the LGBT flag to be flown for the remaining month of February, as part of the new Conservative policy of making Havering part of a greater inner London!

At the time I did raise the need to change the flag protocols to allow different flags to be flown in front of the town hall in a fair and inclusive rather than arbitrary way.

However, this year without having changed the rules, the new Conservative council leader Cllr Damian White ordered the LGBT flag to be raised in front of town hall on February 1 to mark LGBT History Month.

In other words, the council leader has once again simply ignored the constitution for some politically expedient virtue signalling about LGBT, but at least this year, unlike last year, he showed his support by holding the flag the right way up!!!

It’s right to fly the LGBT flag

Fay Hough, Rainham resident, full address supplied, writes:

I was delighted to see Havering Council fly the LGBT flag outside Havering Town Hall this week to mark the start of LGBT History Month. Last year Havering Labour led a successful campaign which saw the flag raised despite the council originally refusing to do so.

Flying the flag outside the town hall lets the LGBT community know that we stand beside them, supporting them in their constant fight for LGBT rights.

The LGBT community have a deep history that we as a borough, should respect and acknowledge.​

Hopefully this continues to be a regular occurrence every year. I hope that eventually, certain Havering councillors who oppose the flag being flown due to “flag protocols” can get behind their LGBT community

We must get rid of LibLabCon parties

Adam Hiley, Ockenden Road, Upminster, writes:

Please will the people of Havering wise up and throw out the terrible Conservative administration when there is a chance to. Labour locally and nationally are little better.

The current council do nothing for the borough except to suck up to the current London mayor, another useless clown who would rather grandstand about Brexit and President Trump’s visit to Britain.

He can still do something about the crime rate in London – hire more police officers.

This council, unless stopped and thrown out of office, will kill off the smaller towns in Havering with their crazy parking rate rises.

Wake up now and rid ourselves of the LibLabCon parties.

Why no funding for health centre?

Patricia Kiff, Hacton Lane, Hornchurch, writes:

I have another question regarding a health centre being built on the old St George’s Hospital site.

We have been told there will not now be a medical centre built here because the government will not fund it. I would just like to know why? Was money not earmarked for this when the land was sold off?

We can’t just keep on building more and more houses etc without building more medical facilities to cope with all the extra pressures that will be put on our already overstretched facilities – they are almost at breaking point now.

Trains disruption every weekend

Richard Enever, rail services officer, Brentwood Bus and Rail Users Association, writes:

Brentwood has no trains to and from London every weekend during February and March bar one weekend (February 16-17).

These disruptions to services have been going on for years. Why?

Please could Network Rail explain this? Commuters who work at weekends are affected by this. How many more weekends are commuters and weekend travellers going to suffer?

Saddle up to help lifesaving research

Emma Day, cycling manager, British Heart Foundation, writes:

Cycling is one of Britain’s favourite hobbies. Four in 10 of us own a bike yet the average UK adult hasn’t cycled in almost seven years!

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF) we have the perfect goal to keep you motivated. Sign up to one of our amazing bike rides and use your pedal power to fund research into heart and circulatory diseases.

Whether you take on our flagship London to Brighton Bike Ride, the biggest and best charity bike ride in Europe, join Team BHF for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 or take on one of the Nightrider series, there’s a ride to suit everyone. So gather your friends, family or colleagues and get in the saddle to help beat heartbreak forever by signing up to ride for the BHF in 2019 and fund lifesaving research.

Visit bhf.org.uk/bikerides2019

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