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Recorder letters: Spending CLL money; Essex debate; service cuts; Chafford Leisure Centre; Queen’s hospital complaint; open meetings; no justice and Romford Pride.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 August 2018

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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

Hospital dealt with compaint superbly

Mr & Mrs Gardener, Longmead Close, Shenfield, write:

My wife’s experience in Queens hospital A&E department last May caused us to officially complain about the dreadful experience for a 75 year old lady in real pain and distress brought in by emergency ambulance that night and the exceptionally long four and a half hours wait to be even seen.

We thought nothing would happen by complaining. Well we were officially invited back to the hospital last week by the ward matron and shown the major improvements to the admission rooms and triage department which on that night were bursting with patients waiting to be booked in. There are now improved caring attention changes to the A&E department. We were also told that in September this year that 20 fully trained combined nurses and senior doctors are starting duty in the A&E department as well. So our complaints were upheld with major changes. Thank you to the matron in the A&E department on behalf of all future patients.

Have your say on how council spends CIL money

Damian White, leader of Havering Council, writes:

As I wrote to the Recorder on August 3, the Council is asking residents and businesses to get involved in how we set our budget, by taking part in our consultation about future finances and services.

This week, I’m writing in a similar vein because, once again, we want people’s views.

We agree with our residents and businesses who think that it’s important that Havering is well provided with essential items such as schools, health facilities and transport facilities.

So, the Council is considering implementing a Community Infrastructure Levy (often known as a CIL).

A CIL is a charge on certain kinds of new building development which can be used to help fund the infrastructure that the borough needs to support its planning strategies.

Following careful review of evidence, we now believe that new developments can reasonably contribute towards CIL but we need views on this. The consultation will launch on 16 of August and run until 1October 2018.

I urge the Recorder’s readers to take part by visiting www.havering.gov.uk/consultations.

You’ll see we think this may raise much needed money over the next 15 years that it will benefit Havering and ensure that it remains a good place to live and work and that it will encourage businesses to invest.

Not been in Essex since the 1960s

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

Although Alan Cauvain makes some good points about the present London Mayor he has yet again brought up the subject of Havering being in Essex.

Maybe he is not aware that all those born since 1965 have been born in the London Borough of Havering.

All those who moved into Havering since 1965 knew they were moving to a London borough.

That is 53 years so only those aged 53 or more can say they were living in Essex.

When Essex was formed it took in a large number of local areas, who possibly did not want to be Essex.

Just how far back does Mr Cauvain want to go, to 1066 or even further back? Area boundary changes have taken place throughout our history and are rarely changed, Rutland being the only county reverting to its original area.

I live in Hornchurch but my postal address is Upminster. The Post Office of the day imposed post codes on areas which suited their business, with no consideration to political boundaries for wards and constituencies.

I accept the situation and those wanting to return to an area that has changed drastically in 53 years are living in a fantasy world and need to come back to earth.

Service cuts a massive shame

Eamonn Mahon, Chairman, Brooklands Residents Association, Sheila Road, Romford, writes:

Many of us still regard the UK to be a nation that provides good public services and infrastructure for its citizens and only 10 years ago that was true, but take a good look around and you can see that is certainly not the case to-day.

Many of the services that used to be provided, essential in a modern society, no longer exist.

The reduction in government grants, up to a third in some cases, have left many UK cities in crisis and only recently two cities, both Tory controlled, have declared that they are on the verge of bankruptcy and only able to provide a basic service.

This is a situation that many other cities could find themselves in the near future without government support.

Having had a lifelong interest in politics and have seen many political parties come and go I cannot believe I would ever live to see the absolute shambles that our political system has become to-day.

The Tories tearing themselves apart over Brexit and Labour seemingly unable to present any alternative policies, a situation, as I have said before, that could be very dangerous for the future of our very divided country.

Future of Chaffords still up in the air

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

The Chafford Leisure Centre is owned by Harris Academy, Rainham, but they cannot afford to maintain the swimming pool and the Council cannot capital spend on properties it doesn’t own!

However following representations from local councillors, Harris are prepared to restore ownership of the Centre to the council on a lease back arrangement.

This would safeguard the school interest and allow the council to spend money on keeping the swimming pool open. Simples!

Except after repeatedly saying prior to the elections, the ownership issue was the problem, the council now say they have no money to spend on the Rainham Centre, despite boasting about the new £multi-million contract to build new Leisure Centres and extensions in Romford, Hornchurch and Harold Hill.

The council have included the closure proposal in their budget consultation launched during the school holidays without even informing Harris Academy, let alone councillors, of their intentions, presumably intending it as a done deal!

However your vigilant local councillors have now informed the Harris Federation HQ about the situation and they have contacted the council for urgent meetings.

We have also organised a new petition calling on the council to take ownership of the centre, which can be signed, or copies taken, at Cllr Jeffrey Tucker’s Goldmine Jewellers shop @ 6 Upminster Road South, Rainham Village to be presented to the Mayor at the next Council meeting on September 12.

We are listening

Keith Prince AM, City Hall, London, writes:

Over the past few weeks the Leader of Havering Council, Damian White, and I have attended a number of open meetings around Havering organised by the Romford Conservative Association.

As politicians we are unable to effectively do our job without listening carefully to residents and these meetings were designed to help us do just that.

I would like to thank the association for organising these events along with all those people who attended; not only local residents but also Havering councillors and local MP Andrew Rosindell.

From my point of view, these meetings were hugely worthwhile and enabled me to gain a better understanding of what local people are currently concerned about.

The London Assembly returns from its summer break in September and these meetings will help me to hold Sadiq Khan to account.

It became clear from the meetings that residents are becoming increasingly concerned about crime.

We know that certain crimes, such as theft, burglary and violent crime, are going up across London and this is being felt acutely in Havering. Housing was raised by residents too.

Locals are conscious that we face a challenge in Havering; while we need more housing so that local people, especially young people, can live in the area, we need to protect the greenbelt and be careful not to overdevelop the borough.

Aircraft noise is a problem for those of us living underneath the flight paths to and from City Airport. This has been a perennial problem which was raised a number of times.

Concerns were also expressed about the state of the River Rom which is why I will be helping to set up a ‘Friends of the River Rom’ group.

This group will help with the upkeep of the river and any readers interested in getting involved with this group should contact me via Keith.Prince@london.gov.uk.

Where is justice?

Teresa Noble, Cedar Road, Romford, writes:

It is very cheering to note that the paper is willing to give space in its Opinion pages to residents with a story to tell.

Take for example the gentleman from Rainham who has lived in the borough all his life and was on the council’s housing (‘Bidding’) list and has now been removed from it without a sound reason because he has ‘a roof over his head’, though it has proved to be a very unsatisfactory residence.

I also now a lady nearing retirement, who has lived and worked in the borough for over seven years, who has also been removed from the list for the same reason. She lives over a shop in London Road and gets little rest at night. Where is the justice in that?

It seems that the time has come to get some light into the housing policy of this administration in order to see some big improvements in the future.

Congrats on Pride

Mr W Ramsay, Stephen Avenue, Rainham, writes:

It was good to see women given prominence in your front page coverage of Romford’s gay parade as it goes to redress the unwarranted perception that their form of homosexuality is the lesser having not been formerly criminalised.

The ordering, LGBT also contributes here, but some reservations may be expressed about it as ‘ladies first’ is associated with the sexism of the past. Also these initials create confusion with the similar ones of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain, whose members represent a minority group whose activities may still be derided. It is an interesting question whether LGBTs or LCGBs are more numerous in Romford.

I am sure Jane Austen would have appreciated the punning adaptation of the title of her most famous, or in your parlance ‘iconic’, novel.

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