Recorder letters: Littering, Langton Gardens, examination success, hospital parking fees, green spaces and EU debate.

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 September 2018

Havering Council has made more than £7,000 from public toilets in the last five years. Photo: PA

Havering Council has made more than £7,000 from public toilets in the last five years. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

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

Please let’s have more public loos

D Ainsworth, Barnstaple Road, Romford, writes:

A recent letter from Alan North certainly ignited a few local issues.

He informs us that LBH is considering closing what few public conveniences we’ve left. Our council must realise Havering has one of the proportionally oldest populations in Greater London, for whom such facilities are much needed. We need more, not less.

Any male over 50 knows it’s unwise to pass a public toilet without using it – yet they’re disappearing everywhere.

New Crossrail carriages have much less seating than the old stock they’ve replaced, and also lack toilets!

This despite running services of such distance as from Shenfield-to-Heathrow and even as far as Reading.

Take our busy main shopping centre on Harold Hill Estate, where there’s now one solitary public cubicle for all (which must be paid to enter) but is usually out of action through vandalism.

Here many shops and other public buildings have notices advising shoppers that their premises aren’t available as free public toilets. Why?

Here a political party has been running a campaign to restore public conveniences to this area, which once had two (ladies & gents for free use).

Recently I asked a former councillor if he’d back this campaign’s aims.

He replied that folk could “use the coffee shop” perhaps unaware it’d ceased trading somewhile ago.

Harold Hill Shopping Centre has also witnessed an increase of persons urinating in the street, as a direct result of a lack of proper facilities.

One hopes that with so many councillors “getting on a bit” as we say, they’ll have read Mr North’s letter and then ensure they’ll be no more closures, but expansions of this much needed service for all.

General littering seems due to lack of patriotism

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

I, too, share your readers’ dismay at the behaviour of some people who are indifferent to littering, particularly those who leave heaps of it after games in the park.

You do wonder, can’t they see it, or are they just too proud to put it in the bin?

It can’t be laziness as the bin is often only a few yards from the mess, but it’s a puzzle when others are horrified at the sight of the mess, which council and increasingly volunteers are having to clear up.

I remember the old Keep Britain Tidy campaigns with iconic logo and clearly similar campaigns are needed as much, if not more, than ever in our throwaway society.

I understand fly-tipping is due to government recycling policy which has made waste disposal so expensive, but general littering seems due to a lack of patriotism, even for the local area, and people often say you notice the difference the moment you return from holiday abroad.

It’s a mountain to climb, but on behalf of local councillors I must thank the many volunteers in Rainham and Wennington ward who hold regular clean-ups to help keep Rainham nice and tidy, recently in the Village with help from Rainham Tesco Extra. And as your readers and Tesco customers know, residents only need pick up an item or two and it will make a big difference overall, because “every little helps”!

Beautiful place in middle of town

V M Saxby, Friends of Langtons Gardens, writes:

On behalf of the Friends of Langtons group I would like to thank Mr Branch for his very nice letter of appreciation concerning Langtons Gardens.

It acts as a reminder of the beautiful place right in the middle of the town which many more people could enjoy. We have a very nice tearoom and proper toilets in place.

It is the result of several years of restoration undertaken as a joint venture after a successful Lottery funding application. It is still a work in progress and to make it even better we would welcome further support.

You can contact us on our website or come to a meeting which is held once a month on Monday evening in Langtons House. You would be most welcome.

Well done on exam results

Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, writes:

As students across the borough returned to school this week after the summer holiday, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the great success of so many of our young people in their GCSE and A-level exam results.

Havering’s students continue to remain in the top percentage of the country, and I congratulate them, and their hard working, dedicated teachers and schools for this wonderful achievement.

Many of those young people will be continuing their education, either going on to do A-levels, or on from A-levels to further education.

Many will now be taking up places at university, higher apprenticeships, or in the workplace and I wish them every success for the future. For anyone who may not have got the results they were hoping for, schools and colleges have dedicated staff in place to provide support and career advice to help them achieve their goals.

These young people are the future of the borough. With our ambitious regeneration programme, we plan to provide them with quality affordable homes and a clean beautiful environment in which to thrive. The Elizabeth Line will provide fast efficient links into the centre of London and beyond. And our plan to keep attracting investment and businesses into the borough may mean they may not have to travel that far to develop their careers. We plan to leave these young people a wonderful legacy in our borough.

End this hospital parking stealth tax

Cllr Clarence Barrett, Upminster & Cranham Residents’ Association, writes:

From last week, all parking in NHS hospitals in Wales became free, following the example set in Scotland nearly a decade ago. Meanwhile, in England, the charges, often exorbitant, continue unabated.

Last year around £174million was raised through hospital car parking charges, with £1.7m from the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital Trust (BHR) which includes Queen’s Hospital.

The hospitals say that the income provides an important revenue stream to help support hospital and patient services.

However, it is interesting to note that visitor car parking fees at Queen’s Hospital don’t even go back to the hospital but go to a private funding operator.

In addition, some public transport links to hospitals are poor, which means that driving is often the best option – particularly for residents in Upminster and Cranham where there is no direct bus service along with no direct service from Romford to King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

Like in Scotland and Wales, ANPR systems are in place to ensure free parking is not abused and the people who use it, whether they are patients, staff or visitors, are the people who need it.

Perhaps it’s time to follow the example of our neighbours in Wales and Scotland and end this stealth tax.

We are fearful for all green spaces

Cllr Graham Williamson, (South Hornchurch), deputy leader, Independent Residents Group, writes:

Following Havering Council’s Strategic Planning Committee’s decision to approve the building on the Dovers Green (Heart of the Community at risk, Recorder, August 24) I can report back that my residents are not only livid but fearful for all green and open spaces in the area, if not the whole of Havering.

This fear is warranted because the administration manipulated the constitution of the planning committee to take full control. They can now expect their committee members to nod through applications, without scrutiny, they support/won’t oppose. I would like to believe otherwise but I am as sceptical as my constituents.

The leaders statement you published, welcoming the development, was not even correct as the Green is NOT brownfield land ie been previously developed, but open green space! Let us hope that is merely a mistake and not an excuse for more green development.

EU deal: We need a people’s vote

Peter Caton, joint co-ordinator, Barking, Dagenham & Havering Green Party, writes:

Julia Lopez talks about not being bound to EU regulations (Letters, August 31) but misses the point that trading with the EU is far easier than with other countries, something I know personally from running businesses for almost thirty years.

Small businesses do not need the extra administration and trading costs that will occur after Brexit.

From a personal viewpoint, the uncertainty and likely impact of Brexit was a major reason why I sold my main manufacturing business (£3million turnover, 12 staff) earlier this year.

My other business mainly involves importing and exporting with EU countries and may well not survive a hard Brexit with resulting tariffs.

Sadly the decline in UK manufacturing means that we have to import most materials as they are no longer made here.

In the referendum two years ago a small majority of those who voted indicated a wish to leave the EU.

Those who want to leave, and indeed our government, are however divided as to whether they desire a “Chequers Deal” remaining close to the EU (assuming this is achievable), or to walk away with no deal.

Democracy does not stop at a finite point in time.

If that were the case we would be adhering to the 1975 referendum and staying in the EU. Now that we have more information a Peoples’ Vote should be held to determine whether the electorate wish to leave with no deal, a Chequers type deal, or to remain in the EU.

To those who say we must leave with no deal because it is “the will of the people”, this vote would indeed determine what option is the current, more informed “will” and surely it is that on which the decision should be made.

Chequers proposal compromise too far

Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, writes:

When the British people, led by the patriotic people of Havering, voted to leave the EU, it was an act of great courage against the prophets of doom. More than 17 million people voted to leave the EU because they believed in something better. They believed in Britain as a land of opportunity, independent in the world and free to choose our own destiny.

They were right to do so. Europe’s share of the global economy has plummeted in recent decades. It used to account for 30per cent a few years ago. Now it is just half that. With 90pc of future global growth coming from outside Europe, the UK can grow as the rest of the World grows.

That will mean a brighter future for Britain.

We should not be fearful of Britain enjoying an independent future. That is why, having considered the proposals that were agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers, I am sorry to say that I feel they would shackle us to the EU forever.

Theresa May has done her very best to find a solution, but I do not believe that the Chequers proposals represent a true Brexit. It is a compromise too far.

I call upon my prime minister and my government to now take a bold stand for Britain!

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