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Recorder letters: Bodgers, police, broadcast council meetings, Cranbrook Surgery, youth services and customs union

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 March 2018

Bodgers closed its doors last week. Picture: KEN MEARS

Bodgers closed its doors last week. Picture: KEN MEARS

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

Don’t lose Bodgers site heritage

Paul Scott, Sandhurst Drive, Ilford, writes:

I have read your double page article in respect of the longstanding and well respected Bodgers department store having closed down, and along with many others who used the shop always found it to be a useful addition to that part of the town centre in terms of the services provided within the place.

Shops of the independent variety are now under threat from large chain stores that do not always have the same level of personal customer service given by their staff.

We need to have every effort made by our community to keep this part of Ilford’s heritage as it means a great deal to the local residents who have come to the shop for generations.

Overall there has to be a reaction to prevent certain aspects of our history from being lost and to prevent town centres like ours from becoming areas of high density housing rather than retail and leisure which is a better idea in terms of health and wellbeing for people living here.

Leader helped to deliver more police

Pam Rai, Devonshire Road, Ilford, writes:

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s promise to fund 30 extra police officers for Redbridge is most welcome. This would be reassuring for residents concerned over the rise in crime, particularly burglaries.

But this couldn’t have been possible without Redbridge Council leader Cllr Athwal bringing pressure on the London mayor who has responsibility for policing in London.

However, though the overall responsibility for policing rests with the London mayor, local councils have an obligation to ensure that residents can live their lives in safety and security by reducing crime and the fear of crime.

To this end, it is reassuring that Redbridge Council has taken a number of measures to make the borough safe and secure in recent years, including reorganising the Enforcement Team and liaising more effectively with police.

The council leader’s recent announcement to invest £1.2million from the council’s own resources in CCTV and other infrastructure to fight crime is a testament to Redbridge Council’s commitment to ensure safety and security of residents.

No doubt the recent spike in crime is directly related to the swingeing cuts by the Conservative government in police funding during the last six years resulting in whole closures of police stations and reduction in police numbers. Reduction in funding is likely to become severe in years to come. It is worrying how it will affect the safety and security situation.

Come on council, broadcast meetings

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, writes:

I was surprised to read Redbridge Council’s stance on not broadcasting any of their council meetings (Recorder letters, David Stephens) despite requests from some of the borough’s resident associations.

This lack of transparency builds distrust by the community in what their council is doing and what impact and decisions their elected councillors are making on their behalf.

I would urge Redbridge Council to look at their colleagues in the neighbouring borough of Barking and Dagenham who have taken a transparent view to webcasting their council meetings.

Anyone can stream live or catch up at a later date via the council’s website to a number of meetings including assembly, cabinet or select committees such as children services, health and adult services, living and working and public accounts and audit amongst many.

This progressive stance by Barking and Dagenham continues their “One borough, one community” ethos and needs to be applauded for engaging with their residents and showing what their council does and how decisions are made.

Come on Redbridge, it’s time to move into the digital era and follow suit!

Only kindness at Cranbrook Surgery

Betsy and Michael Green write:

Further to the recent article of the Cranbrook Surgery, this is NOT the Cranbrook Surgery that we know.

On an everyday basis, we have only ever experienced care, quality, kindness, compassion and empathy. The events of 2017 that happened to us, clearly show these things are, and always have been the case here.

Our grateful thanks to the doctors, practice nurses and last but by no means least, the reception staff, who all work so hard to look after patients each and every day.

Khan bowed to pressure on youth

Sian Berry AM, Green Party, writes:

My work as a Green London assembly member has shown that across London, councils have cut over £30million from annual budgets for youth services in recent years. A year ago the mayor of London told me it wasn’t his job to plug the gaps left by government cuts in council youth services. But with campaigners I pressed on, gathered the evidence, and now we’ve won real new funds going into projects that will help repair some of the damage caused by these cuts.

I’m very pleased to have worked on this issue and convinced Sadiq Khan to change his mind. The new £45million three-year fund announced in the mayor’s budget this month will make a difference to many young lives in London.

In City Hall last week, he told me that anyone with plans can start getting in touch with his team now, and I hope that organisations across London that have lost funding or have new ideas will apply.

Customs union is not the answer

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

Jeremy Corbyn in Coventry on February 26 called for ‘a’ customs union with the EU.

This new ‘customs arrangement’, he said, would ‘depend on Britain being able to negotiate agreement of new trade deals in the national interest’. That simply cannot happen if Britain is in a customs union of any kind. Customs unions bind their members to common tariffs – so we could only have a trade deal with another country if the EU negotiated it.

And being in a customs union with the EU means staying with the rules of the Single Market, including the free movement of capital and labour. It means abiding by the rulings of the EU’s Court of Justice. To all intents and purposes, it means staying in the EU, but without even a courtesy vote.

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