Recorder letters: Litter, GP surgery criticism, Romford FC, Essex debate, Queen’s Hospital parking fine, concrete jungle and unacceptable burka comments.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 August 2018

Captain Dan Cossington and vice-captain Chris Taylor model next season's kit (Pic: Romford FC)

Captain Dan Cossington and vice-captain Chris Taylor model next season's kit (Pic: Romford FC)


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

Bring Romford FC back to borough

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

After our national team’s heroics in this year’s World Cup and now the Premier League back in full swing, football fever is certainly high.

Havering has a proud history of producing great talents in the game too, from Frank Lampard to the “Romford Pele” Ray Parlour. Football is a part of our borough’s proud culture.

Despite that we only have two teams that play in the borough. West Ham Ladies have recently started playing their football at West Ham’s Rush Green site and we also have AFC Hornchurch who play at semi professional level at Hornchurch Stadium –which I highly recommend a visit to!

Havering does have another semi professional team which have played outside the borough for quite some years now, Romford FC. Since the development of their old ground, formerly known as Brooklands Stadium, the team haven’t had a permanent home and are playing their home fixtures as far away as Stanford-le-Hope.

This means the local fans sometimes travel less distance to away games than “home” ones! However things may soon change. Romford FC have recently submitted a planning proposal to the council seeking permission to return to their native home of Romford.

There’s nothing quite like seeing your team score a winner in the dying embers of a game and Romford FC and the local fans shouldn’t be denied to share that euphoria together in Romford any longer.

Your local Labour Party fully support the club and the principle of returning to their true home.

We do this as local residents and football fans.

We hope the council can recognise the importance of the togetherness that a football club can bring to its community and help Romford FC return home soon.

Please take your litter home and help keep streets clean

Alan North, Hornchurch, full address supplied, writes:

I cannot help but notice that most of London and its suburbs is turning into one giant rubbish tip.

It’s not just town centres but parks and green spaces, remote country lanes and housing estates that are literally swamped with rubbish of all kinds.

Even the front drives of some households seem to be utilised as some sort of storage space for old disused sofas and armchairs which sit there for months in all weathers.

Where is the pride and respect for one’s neighbourhood and environment?

I have just had the good fortune to visit the Channel Island of Jersey and was astounded at the levels of cleanliness everywhere on the island.

No unsightly graffiti, no litter or rubbish to be seen even in the main town of St Helier, no fly-tipping, pristine beaches with no sign of any litter whatsoever (although admittedly plenty of rubbish bins available but seemingly never overflowing either).

Also the public toilets, of which there were plenty, are absolutely spotless and obviously well looked after.

This at a time when here in Havering our illustrious local council are considering closing what few public conveniences are still open.

I know Jersey has its own government and local laws which, as regards littering and fly-tipping, are probably stricter and therefore entailing stiffer sentences but credit must be given to the local residents who obviously take pride in their own homes and surroundings.

Please residents of Havering and elsewhere don’t just fling your rubbish out of the car window whilst driving, take it home with you – how difficult can that be?

Dr Joseph unfairly criticised in survey

Matthew James Hall, Cross Road, Romford, writes:

Reading this week’s edition of the Recorder (Friday, August 17), I came across an article entitled ‘Borough’s best and worst surgeries revealed in survey’ according to the latest NHS 2018 GP Patient Survey.

I was surprised to read that at Dr Joseph’s surgery in Collier Row, according to the article, “22per cent of patients said that they didn’t trust their GP and 33pc said that they didn’t think their GP listened to them”.

From personal experience, I feel that Dr Joseph is a very competent doctor. He has liaised with other medical professionals on my behalf; he has made sure that I have been given the correct medication and seen by the right consultants.

For one example, since my late teens/early 20s, I had been suffering from bad pains in my lower back. Whenever I went to see my previous GP, at the North Street Medical Care centre, Romford, the most he ever did was send me to hospital to deliver a urine sample and I never got any follow-up.

Unsatisfied with that GP, in my early 30s, I applied to be transferred to The Surgery in Collier Row. There I told Dr Joseph about my lower back pain and he got in touch with the urology department at Oldchurch Hospital where I was sent for a series of tests.

The results of the tests showed that I had one deformed kidney that had no function and the other was damaged due to over compensating the other – this was dealt with by having the deformed one removed (nephrectomy) and the other repaired, leaving me with a kidney that was 60pc functional.

A while after my procedure, my parents had an appointment with my ex-GP (he has since retired) and took the opportunity to tell him about what had happened to me; all he told them was that he thought the pain was all in my mind. So thank goodness I changed GPs or my deformed kidney would have become worse.

I am very thankful to Dr Joseph for making sure I was seen to by the right medical staff and that is why I felt the need to write this letter, because I feel that Dr Joseph has been unreservedly put in a bad light and unfairly criticised.

I don’t want to be part of Essex

John Harris, Harold Wood, writes:

Further to recent letters about moving the administration of Havering from the Greater London Authority back to Essex County Council, a fundamental issue seems to be that no one has addressed is what the opinion is of those in Essex on the matter. I would hate to be an invited guest.

And while I must declare an interest, losing the Oyster 60+ card (provided by the GLA) would probably mean that anyone who actually remembered living in Essex would object to ‘moving’ back there – all you can obtain in Essex is the English National Concessionary Bus Pass, which is only for people of pension age and does not cover the Tube, DLR or trams.

This actually runs further, as the rail and bus fares are subsidised with the GLA area, hence the difference in fares to Liverpool Street between Harold Wood (£169/month) and Brentwood (£235/month) and the number of commuters who drive or are driven to Harold Wood from Essex to benefit from the substantially cheaper season tickets.

I can just about recall the change. I was eight at the time, but I think the biggest concern at the time was how the name Havering was chosen. Even today very few people would reply “Havering” if asked where they lived.

I will always feel that I live in Essex

Alan Cauvain, St Andrew’s Avenue, Hornchurch, writes:

I would like to reply to T F Mathews of Upminster regarding Havering not in Essex. Maybe in your mind – but to me I will always feel that I live in Essex.

I have a sense of pride about my identity and that will not change until I have a say in whether Havering stays in Essex or in the GLA. Remember we, the residents of Havering, were not consulted. The decision was made, as in many cases, by faceless people supposedly on our behalf who think they know what we want and what is best for us. And I do not go along with that.

Just look around and all we see is high blocks of flats on new estates like the proposed Beam Park, blocks 16 storeys high. It’s obvious what is going to follow, high crime rates and even less police to control it.

Havering has a mayor but to what effect when Sadiq Khan decides what will happen in Havering and our councillors cannot or will not stop it?

So you give up your identity and be part of London. It’s not for me, but then I was born in Suffolk.

Parking fine while in Queen’s A&E

Mike McLean, Parkside Avenue, Romford, writes:

Two months ago my wife managed to shut her hand in the car door – careless, self-inflicted perhaps, but made a real mess of her hand nonetheless.

It happened close to our own GP and we went straight there and were asked to wait for half an hour when she would be seen first at the afternoon session.

The GP said it was beyond what he could tackle and asked us to go to the minor injuries unit at Harold Wood. A long wait there with much the same response – beyond us, fingers likely broken and cut in a position it can’t be stitched; go to A&E at Queen’s Hospital.

We arrived at Queen’s about three hours after the accident, my wife in pain and the cut still bleeding badly. My only thought was to get her the medical attention she needed,

I dropped her at the entrance to A&E, went straight to the car park and she got registered for attention. We left A&E in the early hours of the following morning, X-ray confirmed break and bleeding stopped.

Some days later a Penalty Charge Notice from Havering Council arrived in the post; in dropping my wife at A&E I had entered a restricted zone.

I wrote to the council, explained the circumstances, said that my only concern at the time was my wife’s welfare. I had not deliberately ignored the signs, I missed them, it was really stressful time. Would they please reconsider this penalty.

Today I received the reply. A pre-printed letter with my name and address added, not signed but with the pre-printed title, from the “Challenge Officer”.

No mention of the circumstances I had described, no direct assessment of what I had said, no attempt at justification, “your excuse sounds a bit trivial or we don’t really believe you”.

Just “it is the responsibility of the driver to make themselves aware of any restrictions that are in force and drive accordingly. The penalty was served correctly.”

Oh, and I can appeal this decision it seems but beware, Havering Council pre-printed letter tells me I will be liable for all costs if I do so. Perhaps the moral here is to always call an ambulance don’t try to go it alone.

Well, guess what Havering Council and Challenge Officer, I will appeal and perhaps pretty late in life, I suspect I will eventually have my first day in court.

An ever-increasing concrete jungle

V Barrett, Concreteland, Rainham, full name and address supplied, writes:

The Thursday, August 16 session of the Strategic Planning Committee was a farce from beginning to end.

The committee members were correct to propose a deferral until other plans for Beam Reach and the area surrounding Napier and New Plymouth houses were made clearer, however Cllr Wallace used his over-riding vote faster than Usain Bolt to donate our green lung to the ever-increasing concrete jungle in South Hornchurch.

Reader, you may just think this is a disgruntled resident upset that things have not gone their way, or to be exact the way of the overwhelming amount of negative reaction to this proposal but as one objector stated, “when the council no longer takes heed of the people it is supposed to serve, who exactly is the council working for?”

Finally, the dismissive statement by CPO Simon Thelwell that all the surrounding houses “have a garden” should serve as a stark warning to all residents committed to keeping their open spaces, as it implies that if you have a speck of a lawn then everything else is up for grabs.

Burka comments unacceptable

Angelina Leatherbarrow, Chair of Romford Labour Party writes:

Last week, Boris Johnson wrote an article referring to Muslim women who wear a burka or niqab as resembling letter boxes or bank robbers.

There has been a lot of debate about whether he should apologise for these comments or if he was opening a debate about whether we should “ban the burka”.

Seeing as less than 1per cent of Muslim women wear a face veil it suggests that our national identity or security is not under threat and this was simply an attention grab by someone with a history of making racist statements when his profile is on the downward spiral.

Dehumanising women in this way for a cheap laugh or five minutes of publicity would be bad enough for a 1980s comedian, but we should be able to hold our politicians to a higher standard. It is also well documented that comments like this increase the risk of verbal and physical assault against these women.

Following these comments Romford Labour tweeted the MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell, asking if he would be expecting an apology from Johnson on behalf of the Muslim women he represents in his constituency, who would quite rightly expect their MP to defend their freedom to express their faith without being ridiculed, vilified or discriminated against.

His response was to post a comment saying that any request for Johnson to apologise was an attack against freedom of speech and obsessive political correctness.

Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence, making throwaway racist comments in a bid to win over the few far right voters that Ukip left behind is unacceptable when it puts the safety of an already marginalised group at risk.

Many of us who call Romford home, come from different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs, but we do have more in common than that which divides us.

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