Recorder letters: Care workers, Dovers Farm Estate, asbestos, PSL, coalition/council merger, travellers and Crossrail.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 July 2018

Councillors and residents attended the second annual memorial service for the ANZAC troops of the First World War on the Green at Dovers Farm Estate. Photo: Phillip Bowen.

Councillors and residents attended the second annual memorial service for the ANZAC troops of the First World War on the Green at Dovers Farm Estate. Photo: Phillip Bowen.

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

Why so determined to build at Dovers?

Sonia Webb, Rainham, full address supplied, writes:

Yet again a community in Rainham finds itself fighting to keep its residents’ amenity of a small patch of green for the local residents to use and enjoy.

Damian White seems determined to take this land away to build 30 houses, even though he is building 3,000 houses not 100 yards away.

The council have already spent in excess of £100,000 of tax payers’ money, in response to our objections, money I am sure would have been better spent elsewhere.

What magical properties does this piece of land hold to warrant the continual interest of Damian White?

He is determined, clearly at any cost, to take this land away from the residents that have used it for over 60 years. Perhaps hee could enlighten this community with a response or step down gracefully and let this small piece of land stay as it is.

“A small pocket of grass that is the heart of this local community”

Thank you to all the care workers - unsung heroes

Cllr Jeffrey Tucker, leader of the Independent Residents Group, writes:

Through your newspaper I would like to give good praise to the many care workers we have throughout our borough or even further afield.

Live-in or visiting care workers do a tremendous job looking after those in need.

Unfortunately this is with little or no praise or any credit for the good work they do caring for our elderly with dementia, mental health or just old age.

Today’s carers are mostly family members or from outside agencies working for our community, caring for those residents in need.

In my role as a local councillor I have seen the very good work these carers do but I can’t ever remember seeing them receive the credit they deserve in helping keep our community, young and old together.

So my thanks goes to all the carers who actually do this not so easy work caring for all those residents within our community who desperately need the caring they provide.

Help our fight to save estate green

The Dovers Farm Estate Committee, write:

We are writing to seek the assistance and influence of your readers, in the strongest terms regarding the proposed development of a recreational open space in the South Hornchurch ward of the London Borough of Havering.

Dovers Farm Estate Green has been actively and intensively used as a recreational space since the building of the estate that surrounds it in the early 1950s.

In the last three years, Havering Council have sought on several occasions to develop the site, and despite twice being defeated, have returned with a third application.

On behalf of the community of Dovers Farm Estate, we would like to take this opportunity to ask you all to contact Havering Council, and ask that they bring about the withdrawal of the planning application which they have asked a third party to bring on their behalf in order to guarantee themselves an appeal, and furthermore, that they agree to voluntarily register the land as village green, in order to reassure the local community that they intend to “Keep Havering Special”.

If they take our green, yours could be next...

Asbestos cannot have been surprise

Mrs J E Bennett, Woodfield Drive, Gidea Park, writes:

I read through the article in the Romford Recorder about the startling news that Bellway Homes have now discovered that the former St George’s Hospital buildings are riddled with asbestos, have unsafe foundations and unstable brickwork, so now need to be demolished in order for them “to deliver proper, safe buildings which will stand the test of time”.

Do you sometimes think that we are living in a parallel universe to these “experts” who would have surely surveyed and inspected these buildings prior to purchase?

I am amazed that any professional person in those fields could not have expected that any building which was built in 1936 by Essex County Council and opened as Suttons Institution for the care of the elderly in 1938, would not have had asbestos somewhere therein.

Added to this, without any full building inspection carried out there from 2001 until 2008, (Romford Recorder, November 1, 2012), that there could not be any serious maintenance issues?

Sadly, anyone who had relatives in the hospital during those times and indeed right up to its closure could testify to that. At its peak the hospital had 700 beds which was reduced to 424 in 1957 and just before it closed its complement was for 60 beds.

Who can doubt that eventually many more houses will be built on this land than are revealed at present – look at how many went up on Oldchurch Hospital and Harold Wood Hospital sites from the original applications.

How long before Victoria Hospital in Pettits Lane suffers the same fate from similar “discoveries”, even though it too is on land which was donated this time by William Mashiter, for a hospital and built in 1888 with later additions in the 1920s and 1930s?

What are we left with? Queen’s Hospital, which is on lease. I might join those in that other parallel universe I think, as it seems much nicer.

How could leader get PSL so wrong?

P Stallard, Harold Hill, full address supplied, writes:

I read with interest the piece in the Recorder regarding the review of PSL properties in Havering, which has had an impact on some of those residents involved and that the current council leader, Damian White, a former cabinet member for housing, made a mistake in reviewing and informing those residents.

How could a cabinet member for housing get this so wrong as a leader of this council?

No coalition and no council merger

Cllr Keith Darvill, leader Havering Labour Group, writes:

In response to Cllr Durant’s letter headed ‘Result of selling off family silver’– firstly I refute his assertion that there is a “de facto Labour and Conservative coalition administration” in Havering.

The five Labour councillors form one of the five opposition groups in the council of 54 members.

Only one of the opposition parties has an arrangement with the Conservatives ie The North Havering Residents Group.

Labour councillors will play a roll in the quasi judicial committees, including planning, as will other opposition group members.

Decisions made in quasi judicial committees should not and are not determined by party political policies or groups, that is, they are not predetermined by members of the planning committees and when making such decisions members should take into account national, regional and local planning policies -– a concept that Cllr Durant and and other members of his group fail to accept and continue to argue against.

It is also untrue and misleading to refer to the LB of Newham as a “merger partner”. Co-operation with other councils including Newham is essential to create financial savings at a time of severe austerity measures imposed by the Conservative government since 2010.

This co-operation is constantly, inaccurately and misleadingly referred to by the Independent Residents Group as a “merger”. It is not!

I can join common cause with Cllr Durant in one respect and that relates to the Conservative administration’s proposal to end Private Sector Leasing (PSL) Tenancies.

Steps to implement this proposal have been taken without any pre-decision scrutiny or briefing for ward councillors – a decision which will impact adversely on hundreds of tenants.

This has been a deplorable start to this new administration and one which has now been halted (probably temporarily) with an apology.

The underlying cause of the PSL problem is the undeniable need for more affordable homes across London and the South East.

All the main political parties who are likely to form the governing party and the Mayor of London pledged in their respective manifestos to build more affordable housing. It is not surprising therefore that the housing targets featured in the national and London-wide planning polices have to be taken into account when considering planning applications.

Cllr Durant makes the proposal to build council houses, a suggestion which I have a great deal of sympathy. He knows as well as I do that central government policies effectively prevent that.

I cannot, however, recall his group putting such a proposal to the council for debate.

The answer for Cllr Durant if he wishes to have influence over central or regional government policies is to stand as a candidate at the appropriate elections.

Travellers do need more proper sites

Mrs Teresa Noble, Cedar Road, Romford, writes:

I read an article in the Recorder today by Joseph Hook concerning the plight of Traveller/Gypsy communities and their need for designated camping sites and I wholeheartedly agree with them.

At present they are in a no-win situation – an expanding community and not enough sites for them.

The borough could probably find suitable areas if they had the will to do so, perhaps on the borders of Essex/Herts where sanitation and water could be provided.

Goodness knows they make enough on council charges and snide fines courtesy of their camera cars and parking attendants.

Once more sites provided by councils are up and running, with decent facilities, they could be charged with local amenity taxes and also keep sites clear of litter and other rubbish with some pride.

This should be our aim. Generosity towards our fellow humans and a share of our many assets, an investment in the future.

Crossrail fears not addressed by TfL

Richard Enever, Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association, writes:

Following publication of my letter July 6, I have received a reply from TfL over the new Crossrail trains.

The reply did not satisfy me.

TfL implied that they were checked safety wise before being rolled out. It was not what I wanted to know. I was raising the question of there being no safety doors in between the carriages as these trains are walk through with no doors between the carriages.

Can you imagine the consequences if a fire occurs in one of those trains, especially underground?

I merely raised concern over this. The adviser said he would address my concerns with TfL.

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