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Recorder letters:Chafford Sports Complex, traffic, housing for young, homes for poor, don’t blame others, Romford FC, obsolete council, Royal Mail and fireworks rules.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 October 2018

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

Save the Chafford Sports Complex

Fay Hough, Rainham resident, writes:

The Romford Recorder announced this week that Havering Council have launched a consultation to determine the future of Chafford Sports Complex.

Harold Hill Leisure Centre had a refurbishment not so long ago, the council have agreed a refurbishment for Hornchurch Leisure Centre, Romford got a brand new leisure centre – as for Rainham, we must decide whether we use it enough or not? And even if we do, the council have announced they don’t have enough money in the budget to fund it.

Why does Rainham always get the raw end of the deal?​

The leisure centre is at the heart of Rainham’s community and has been used for many years and is still used regularly.

Granted, a refurbishment is most probably needed but this doesn’t stop us Rainham residents from using the centre. ​

We lost the Job Centre, we’re losing our green at Dover’s Corner due to a greedy council, we lost NHS services for mental health, we’re losing our police station.

Soon enough they’ll be nothing left.

If you want to save Chafford Sports Complex I urge you to go to the council website and complete the survey. Rainham deserves better!

Do something about town centre roads congestion

G Farmer, Havering Road, Romford, writes:

Last Sunday when my family and I attempted to leave Market Square after shopping, we were forced to abandon any hope of travelling to Queen’s Hospital appointments in the car because of severe congestion.

This created many irate drivers, much sounding of horns and I would not be surprised to hear that threatening behaviour ensued.

It is long overdue that something should be done about this problem, especially for shoppers from outside the area who will surely not return after such an experience.

Any small children unfortunate to be on foot could be knocked over as cars also drive along pavements.

This is likely also to be a health and safety problem. I understand the road beside B & M is private so police can do nothing to stop the congestion which goes on to affect St Edwards Way.

Hopefully someone will take this matter very seriously before an unnecessary accident happens.

Recognise housing challenge for young

Nicholas West, chairman of Havering and Dagenham Young Labour, writes:

In response to the letter on 12/10/2018 by Cllr Graham Williamson. Whilst I’m acutely aware of the need to keep our boroughs character, I’d like to remind the councillors to think about our borough’s future.

I represent hundreds of young people as chair of Havering Young Labour. I therefore am well aware of the issues facing young people such as precarious work, high cost of living and total lack of affordable housing for buying or rent.

It’s easy for councillors like Cllr Williamson to ignore these issues when he was able to buy a home in a lovely part of Elm Park for a reasonable price many years ago.

We would not be in this mess if the many different so-called residents or “independent” councillors ever provided an effective opposition to the Tories instead of sitting by whilst the current administration inflict an ill-thought out and expensive housing policy on our borough’s people. Young people are given little choice but to live with their parents well into their adult life or move out of the borough they grew up in.

If the independents/resident association councillors were as fixated on young people’s needs as they were with the Mayor of London, the youth of Havering would have hope and the aspiration to make a home in Havering.

The current Mayor of London and Havering’s Labour councillors have recognised the housing challenges facing young people. I would suggest the rest of Havering’s councillors start to do the same.

Poor should have decent homes

Chris Purnell, Osborne Road, Hornchurch, writes:

In last week’s Recorder Graham Williamson wrote about housing. Like him I’m an elderly man living in his own house.

We both lived in an era of stable jobs and annual pay rises. I moved to Rainham in 1969 from east London for affordable housing.

Unlike Graham I don’t fear the future. I don’t oppose change. And I do believe that poor people should have decent housing like I had all those years ago.

They should have the opportunities that I had.

Don’t blame others for your mistakes

Claire Watkins, Hornchurch, full address supplied, writes:

Regarding Cllr Williamson’s continually whining about the mayor and his office.

Cllr Williamson seems to omit from his letter that the process that was followed was a democratic process implemented in 2008, not Sadiq Khan as Cllr Williamson would like you to believe.

We would not find ourselves in this position if the original plan had been passed.

Cllr Williamson proudly posed for a picture beside a Beam Park sign, stating that the Independent residents group had won when the first application was refused.

I say what have you won? And the answer to that is nothing.

The various residents group councillors that make up the structure of Havering Council have been the most ineffective opposition to their Tory cohorts on the council, but then again you may vote for a IRG but end up with a Tory.

To conclude, Cllr Williamson you reap what you sow, take responsibility for your actions, man up, own it, deal with it, put your own house in order and stop blaming others for your mistakes.

Thank you to Romford FC

Colin Butler writes:

I have been a Romford supporter for over 50 years and would like to say a big thank you to Steve Gardner and the rest of the club for all their help in raising nearly £300 towards a new wheelchair for my grandson Reece who has cerebral palsy.

They promoted it on their Facebook page and the money was donated in a bucket collection at last week’s home game. It shows how much such a small club like Romford can do.

Thanks again lads.

Council is far from obsolete

Councillor Damian White, Leader of the Council, writes:

In a letter printed in last week’s Recorder, the council was accused of being obsolete in our ability to stay on the front foot of development and regeneration, this is simply not true.

The GLA decision to approve plans for the Beam Park project was another example of the Mayor of London’s one-size-fits-all approach to regeneration. It fails to recognise the different needs and requirements of communities in Havering. However, this did not come about from any failing of the current council administration: the planning process is only the first step on the ladder, and although we can influence, we do not control.

The council was accused of entering into a joint venture with Barking and Dagenham and not building homes for Havering people – again, completely false.

Our three joint ventures (none of which are with Barking and Dagenham), along with other projects are helping the council to deliver the right kind of homes for Havering people, whereas the London mayor continues to force through inappropriately high developments which are in direct breach of the council’s local planning blueprint.

By working as an equal partner on these projects the council has greater influence and ownership to ensure we develop thriving communities that address the needs of local people and protect the character and heritage of Havering.

My administration and I have personally come under fire for allegedly not holding Mayor Khan to account and letting City Hall have free reign over our borough. This is unfair and untrue.

The intervention in the mayor’s plans to close Hornchurch Police Station is just one recent example of not only how the council listens to people’s concerns, but demonstrates how we are not afraid to take the Mayor of London head-on to deliver the best outcome for local residents.

I am proud to lead the London Borough of Havering. We will always have the best interests of local residents at the heart of everything we do. The council is far from obsolete, local government is the engine for change and the guardians of our borough.

Keep leisure centre in south of borough

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

Due to government policy councils have been forced to expand schools and locally this involved the council expanding Parsonage Farm Primary school from two to three form entry, but when they proposed a further expansion to four form entry, local councillors opposed this as an expansion too far.

Instead we said expand Rainham Village from two to three and Brady from one to two form entry first.

Initially we were ignored, but after we persuaded the planning committee to refuse expanding Parsonage Farm the alternatives were progressed.

Due again to government policy many schools have been leaving local authority control and becoming academies and this included Chafford, which was then taken over by Harris Academy Federation.

When Harris advertised their takeover plans, local councillors contacted them for assurances they would help keep the Chafford sports centre open and assist with the expansion of Brady Primary school, and they said they would.

To help keep the sports centre open, Harris say they are prepared to transfer ownership back to the council, which would enable the council to lawfully capital fund the centre.

However after repeatedly saying ownership was the issue, the council are now proposing to close the centre due to “running costs”.

This is an outrage in view of the £multi-million “borough-wide” leisure contract to deliver new centres and facilities in Romford, Harold Hill and Hornchurch, which included a £4,776m council contribution towards the new Sapphire Leisure Centre in Romford.

It’s also an outrage because Harris Academy have honoured their promise to assist with an expansion of Brady by transferring part of their playing field land to the local authority.

Without this additional land Brady would not have the site area to expand to 2FE as it allows for a new car park, a surfaced playground area and green playing field.

Local councillors believe this assistance should be reciprocated and the leisure centre kept open for the growing population, young and old, in the south of the borough.

Royal Mail always transforming

Timothy Jones, delivery leader, Royal Mail, South East, writes:

This month marks five years since Royal Mail became a listed company.

It is a good time to reflect on some of the changes for customers over the past five years, and set out some of our key new initiatives for your readers.

A lot has changed in a short space of time. We have invested £1.8billion in our UK business since privatisation in 2013.

Five years ago, we had little ability to track or scan parcels. Today, when a postman or woman knocks on your door they will be probably scan the parcel and record your signature electronically – vital in these days of online shopping.

It’s not just on the doorstep. Royal Mail’s sorting operation has changed dramatically. We now sort 90pc of letters automatically (up from just 8pc in 2010).

And we’re pleased to have made these improvements at the same time as seeing a reduction in complaints, and increases in customer satisfaction.

None of this could have happened without the dedication of all our Royal Mail people. They are Royal Mail. We keep transforming our business. In the last few months alone, we have launched, a new consumer app, electronic “Something for You” cards and our first electric-only vans.

I hope your readers are seeing the benefits.

Know the rules on fireworks

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

With the season of fireworks nearly upon us, there is often some uncertainty around when and where fireworks can be bought and what are the time restrictions about setting them off.

Information from the government advises that you must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are Bonfire Night, when the cut-off is midnight and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

In addition, you can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on the following dates; October 15 to November 10, December 26 to 31, and three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year. You can be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally.

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Yesterday, 12:00

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

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