Recorder letters: Recycling, Revenue Support Grant, Council’s priorities, SATs pressure, missing family appeal, Harris Sports Centre, Recorder praise, budget savings, equal opportunity and heat effect on diabetics.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 August 2018

Recycling conifer branches.

Recycling conifer branches.

PA Archive/PA Images

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

Scrapping green points will just add to waste problem

Paul Arthur Clements, Weald Way, Romford, writes:

I have been a member of the Havering London Green Points scheme for the last four years and to my absolute horror on my last statement I was advised that the scheme is to end in October of this year.

The concept as I understand it is to encourage Havering residents to recycle more by rewarding households with points which is calculated per ward in the borough and the areas which achieve the most recyclable material get the most points.

Whilst the rewards are relatively small, it does provide households the opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts to recycle as much as possible and to help prevent the LA placing large amounts of waste in landfill sites that can be reused.

I am very conscious of this and in my own household we have two pedal bins of equal size, one for domestic and one for recyclable waste.

And as a keen grower of fruit and vegetables I also use the majority of garden waste to produce compost.

I also ensure if I’m out and purchase any items – particularly plastic soft drink bottles – I usually take them home and place them in the correct bins to be collected.

As a member of a local environmental group it sickens me each day to see recyclable rubbish littering our streets and town centres.

I am uncertain why the council has taken this decision with no apparent scheme to replace it.

We have, in my view, a very poor waste collection policy eg glass products go in the black bags for landfill which is perfectly recyclable and I look forward to the day when we as a country will be able to be rewarded for plastic recycling.

But it begs the question are Havering Council really that concerned with recycling and waste or are they in line to inherit the unwanted mantle of London’s dirtiest borough?

Help us create a modern council

Damian White, leader of Havering Council, writes:

Havering, like boroughs right across the country, is facing a dramatic reduction in the amount of Revenue Support Grant that we receive from central government.

This means by 2020/21, reform to the grant system for funding local government will result in all local authorities needing to be self-sufficient.

It comes at a time when demand for our services is increasing due to a growing population in general, and in particular, an increase in the number of elderly and very young people in the borough.

This will mean making tough choices in the future, which is why we have launched a public consultation urging residents and businesses in Havering to have their say in how the council sets its budget for the next four years.

I urge everyone to take part in the consultation, which runs until the end of September, and to tell us what services are priorities to them, and where we should be making savings.

Residents can visit to see the proposals and take part. Alternatively, paper versions of the consultation are available in the Town Hall and all Havering libraries.

We are also running a series of events throughout the borough, which anyone is welcome to attend; again the information about these can be found on our website.

We are keen to take everyone on this journey to create a more cost-effective and modern council for residents, with the aim to protect the services that matter most.

Council must get priorities right

Teresa Noble, Cedar Road, Romford, writes:

On practically every page of this week’s edition of the Recorder there are reports of violence, theft, lies and dishonesty of various forms within the borough.

What standards of behaviour are we offering our children and young people when even a primary school, Broadford, is said to have cheated in the SATs test “in order to retain its position a the best (improved) school in Britain?”

The investigation into the truth of the statement will make interesting reading.

It is also shameful to read that nearly a quarter of the children in the borough have “lost eligibility for free school meals”, though I would question the quality of the trayed meal sample shown on page 2, I do not note any protein worthy of comment.

This council needs to get back to basics, scrutinise its finances and readjust to the real world of today and get its priorities right.

SATs case shows pressure on schools

Stewart Mott on behalf of Havering Liberal Democrats, writes:

SATs annulment investigation at Broadford Primary School shows pressure on schools from high stakes testing

The Department for Education has announced that “following an investigation into the administration of 2018 Key Stage 2 tests at Broadford Primary School, the results for the Key Stage 2 English reading paper and one of the maths papers have been annulled”.

We are glad that the Department for Education has confirmed that the decision will not affect the pupils involved.

The annulling of these results is emblematic of the pressure that it places on schools to achieve. The government should scrap Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs that put enormous pressure on young children and teachers.

Following the announcement, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education, science and young people, Layla Moran MP tweeted “Another nail in the SATs coffin. High stakes testing just leads to behavior like this. @LibDems would get rid of them”.

Lib Dem policy is for a revolutionary new system to replace SATs that focuses on moderated teacher assessment with light-touch testing.

The Lib Dems have also called for the abolishment of Ofsted replaced with a new Inspectorate of Schools that focuses on pupil welfare and attainment.

Search for family of Moelwyn Jones

Frank de Hommel, Mortelhof 2, 5071 AA Udenhout- Netherlands, writes:

At the churchyard of the Catholic Lambertus Church of Udenhout ( The Netherlands) three British soldiers are buried, who were killed in and around Udenhout during the fighting in October of 1944.

During the annual national commemoration day on May 4 a ceremony takes place on the churchyard commemorating all the persons who fell during the Second World War, including the British soldiers, who are buried there.

In our town little is known of the background of the British soldiers. One of the soldiers is Moelwyn Howell Jones, 1st Royal Tank Regiment R.A.C., Service number 7952334, died October 26, 1944, age 25

He was the son of Richard Jones and Elisabeth Jane Jones of Romford.

No further data is shown.

We would like to know more about the background of Moelwyn Howell Jones.

Are there any surviving relatives. What was his schooling etc? Would it be possible to have a photograph? It would make the ceremony so much more personal.

I’m sending you this mail hoping you can further my search by publishing it in your paper.

Update needed on Harris sports centre

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

At Cabinet on July 25, Chafford Sports Complex was included in a range of service reduction proposals as part of the forthcoming budget consultation.

The new council leader remarked there’s no budget within the general fund for it to continue, no doubt, because it wasn’t included in a new multi-million pound “borough-wide” leisure contract!

And yet, just before the elections, at the March 21 council meeting, in response to an IRG motion the council unanimously agreed, “This council notes that its officers are currently examining with Harris Academy Rainham and SLM the legal and financial arrangements required to maintain for public use the Chafford Sports Complex following the acquisition of title to it by the school through a Land Adjudication Tribunal ruling”.

Local councillors have urgently requested an update on these negotiations with Harris Academy and their offer to transfer ownership of the complex, which would enable the council to lawfully capital spend on a council owned sports complex and thus keep it open, which we were assured was council policy once the ownership issue was resolved.

Thank goodness for the Recorder

May Burgess, Romford, full address supplied, writes:

Regarding Damian White’s statement about PSL’s - I wonder whether the term “We” was used in the royal sense.

What a shock the receivers of those notices had.

Thank goodness for the Recorder’s intervention.

Save on budget, leave green alone

Sonia Webb, full address supplied, writes:

Our fight continues against Havering Council, especially after listening to Damian White’s spurious Q&A session on Time FM.

There were many valid points raised, not only for our [Dovers Farm Estate] green fight but for the borough in general.

Here are just two of the points that Mr White felt the need to point out and our community were not able to reply to:

Apparently the local community can use a country park 200m away instead of our green amenity.

I’m not sure where this country park is that is being referred to. It’s certainly not the one on Rainham Road as that is definitely not 200m from our current amenity. No one on this estate would let their children walk all that way and cross a main road in order to play.

Mr White also asked for ideas and suggestions to help with the budget deficit. Here’s one, don’t spend any more money fighting to build on our green amenity – you have already spent £100,000 isn’t that enough.

Locals not given equal opportunity

Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, leader, Independent Residents Group, London Borough Of Havering, writes:

I write regarding London Borough of Havering’s housing needs, and I wish to express further as to why I cannot agree with our senior housing council officers.

While representing many local ward residents on a daily basis with their housing needs and their housing bidding opportunities, it must be said very little or no properties are being put on the bidding list. This is not giving our local residents an equal opportunity to become successfully rehoused.

Senior council officers are choosing who will or who will not be receiving these properties with what is known as a direct offer.

We are not talking weeks or months but in many cases we are talking years when no properties are becoming available for equal bidding opportunities for LBH residents to bid on.

In the past this would not have happened in Havering. Our council should have learnt by Newham’s mistakes.

Heat can be a risk for diabetics

Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK, writes:

Long periods of inactivity in the sun may affect diabetes control, causing blood glucose levels to be higher than usual. Insulin injections are absorbed more quickly in hot weather, increasing the chances of hypoglycemia.

And insulin and monitors can be affected by heat so make sure you keep your diabetes kit cool.

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