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Recorder letters: Hornchurch childhood home; Councillors’ salaries; Council homes; Damian White’s Time 107.5 interview; fly-tippers; borrowing cap, care homes and risk of internet to children.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 August 2018

Fly-tippers dumped five van-loads of rubbish in Grenfell Park earlier this month. Photo: Havering Council

Fly-tippers dumped five van-loads of rubbish in Grenfell Park earlier this month. Photo: Havering Council

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

Use camera cars to catch fly-tippers

Teresa Noble, Cedar Road, Romford, writes:

Three matters come to my mind as worthy of comment in your Opinion pages this week.

First, the present Conservative administration has delivered to each house in my road at least, a survey leaflet to “help us campaign for better roads in Romford”.

But they also want to know how we voted in the last election (2017) and how we would vote in the next!

The second item comes from Mr Ajay Pal Singh the previous week. His frustration about the parking in Crow Lane is heartfelt. He needs to be heard and acted upon immediately and the selfish owners of the parked lorries he mentions be “brought to heel” and do their duty to consider other residents.

The third matter is the disgraceful actions of fly-tippers in the borough.

I have some advice for the council – stop harassing the hard pressed local motorist and instead deploy their sneaky camera cars and surplus parking attendants to Rainham, South Hornchurch and other popular dumping sites for rubbish to detect some real criminals.

Perhaps we will all be agreeably surprised with the results.

Sad to see art deco house of my childhood has gone

Jennie Grindley, Hope-Under-Dinmore, Leominster, writes:

I’ve recently returned from a trip down memory lane to Essex to my roots and where I was born.

We visited Parkstone Avenue in Hornchurch and I was very sad to see such a lot of the art deco houses have been pulled down and replaced by modern boxes.

I lived in one of these beautiful houses, one which was designed and built by my father.

It had a mansard roof, loggia and huge mature gardens boasting an oak tree, tennis court, pond and lawns meticulously mown.

A house full of memories where Santa called yearly, coming down the drawing room chimney and left a trail of muddy footprints upstairs and into my bedroom.

I remember a cubicle in the hall that housed our telephone, Hornchurch 16.

The delft tiles surrounding bedroom fireplaces, the statue of a small boy by the pond and a grotesque fur rug in the drawing room, still with the head of some beautiful but unfortunate animal on it; and horror of horrors, being sent to the tobacconist for my mother’s cigarettes.

Carefree, lazy days then, playing in the garden, dipping toes in the pond, swinging in the hammock and going for rides in my mother’s Austin 7. I was allowed to stand on the front seat with my head out of the roof.

These days are gone now along with a beautiful house and all I have left are the memories.

Councillors should justify salaries

David Gold, Elm Park, Hornchurch, writes:

Two weeks ago, the Recorder informed that Havering Council wanted residents to put forward ideas on how the council could save money.

I think I have the answer – sack 50per cent of our councillors. Those left must give a monthly detailed account of what they’ve achieved to justify their salary and expenses.

Why can’t my friend get council home?

A Rainham resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

Reading the Recorder last week, I saw a letter from Cllr Jeff Tucker.

I do agree with what he says about housing and points.

A friend of mine has lived in Havering all of his life. Fifty-five years he was on the council bidding list, then they took him off saying he had a roof over his head.

He lives in a flat above a shop in a town centre. He can’t get any sleep as Greggs, Sainsbury’s etc have deliveries early every morning. The stairs are dangerous, the dustmen won’t go up for the bin bags.

Well for years he has been trying to get back on the bidding list.

I saw a letter that Damian White wrote when he was head of housing, saying you must live in the borough for over six years to apply for council housing. My friend wrote to Cllr White and told him he had lived in Havering all his life, still Cllr White wouldn’t have it.

Many, many times he wrote to him now he is head of the council. He has also written to Cllr Joshua who has taken Cllr White’s old job.

My friend has asked Cllr Barry Mugglstone, Stephanie Nunn and MP Jon Cruddas, all unable to help.

Other councillors have tried to help. Cllr Graham Williamson, Cllr Keith Roberts, Cllr Michael Deon Burton, deputy mayor, were all very helpful. There’s many more. A member of the prime minister’s staffwrote back.

He is not asking for the world, just a place to live. I bet all the councillors have nice places to live, and the housing team.

This has been going on for over seven years now. I can’t understand how people that haven’t lived in the borough for six years and over just walk into council property.

If Cllr Damian White reads this letter he will know who my friend is. I hope someone who reads this can help. Can someone explain how housing works?

It’s a pity my friend wasn’t in Cllr Tucker’s ward, he seems very caring for the people. I bet he would help.

We want to be kept special too

Matt Stanton, full address supplied, writes:

Following Damian White’s less than convincing appearance on Time 107.5 last week, our community still has some questions for him:

Why is a development which will amount to less than 1per cent of the planned development for the ward, being pursued so vociferously?

Will Damian White admit that if 400 households in his own ward were trying to preserve a similar open space, he would not attempt to build on it?

All our community wants is the same ‘Keep Havering Special’ that Squirrels Heath is going to get. Or are we being punished for not voting Conservative?

Borrowing cap affected building

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

When Thatcher introduced Right to Buy she changed the funding rules to effectively ban councils from building new council houses and this policy was continued by Blair as the public spending involved conflicted with his plans to join the Euro-currency.

Gordon Brown in his last desperate days in office agreed to the Localisation of the Housing Revenue Account which enabled councils to build some council houses.

Far more could be built if the amount councils could borrow had been raised, but Cameron’s New Conservative government opposed this as he too wanted to join the Euro-currency, which would have immediately followed a Remain vote in the referendum to “solve” the EU crisis!

If the borrowing cap had been raised Havering could have funded the redevelopment of 12 council estates, with 100per cent council housing and cleared the local waiting lists.

Instead just before the local elections the Conservatives created a public private partnership that will result in more houses, but mostly private rather than council houses.

This betrays the council’s official policy of “Local Homes for Local People” as further highlighted by plans to rehouse all tenants in PSL housing outside the borough.

However as there is no longer any prospect of us joining the Euro following Brexit, the government is finally relaxing the public spending rules and this has allowed Haringey, who postponed a decision prior to the local elections, to opt for a fully council scheme to redevelop their council estates with council housing for local people.

Help for settling into a care home

Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, writes:

I am writing to tell you and your readers about a new, free advice guide from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called Settling into a care home, which aims to make the transition of moving into a care home easier.

There are currently more than 400,000 people living in care homes in the UK, but many new residents don’t know what to expect when they get there, or how to plan ahead for their move.

Moving to a care home can be a very stressful time for older people and their families.

It’s a big change and it can take time to adjust to the new surroundings. The guide aims to make this process smoother and less stressful.

Settling into a care home, which was written with advice from care home staff, residents and family members, offers advice on planning ahead to help the move go smoothly.

The guide includes topics such as thinking about what to take, questions to ask before you get there, and tips on what to expect when you arrive, as well as advice for friends and family about helping someone else settle into a care home.

Independent Age has also launched a free, online checklist for moving home to accompany the new guide, which can be accessed via: independentage.org/moving-home-checklist.

Settling into a care home is free to order and download from independentage.org/settling-into-a-care-home or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789.

Those who need additional support or advice can call the charity’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789 to arrange to speak to an adviser.

Be aware of your child’s internet use

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London region, writes:

As we start the summer holidays, I would like to make your readers aware of the risks that our children face as they potentially spend more time online.

Sadly, we know that many children are seeing inappropriate content online.

It is a deeply disturbing fact that children can stumble across pornography, and the ease with which children can live-stream themselves online is something that all parents should be aware of. Children with phones and tablets are effectively taking a TV crew into their bedroom and being able to broadcast to people they don’t know.

We know that this can leave them open to grooming and abuse and can have an effect on their emotional health and wellbeing. We are particularly worried about grooming and children having contact with strangers online, sometimes being coerced or manipulated into sharing images.

We would urge parents to try and understand the online world that their child is using.

Learn about the games and apps they are using and make sure that parental controls, privacy setting and online filters are being used.

If your child seems worried about something, talk to them.

It’s vital that parents keep talking to their children about their online games and take a look together at what they are doing and who they are talking to.

Start a conversation and find out who they’re talking to online and what they’re talking about.

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