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Council leader hits back against claims Loxford is ‘forgotten’ part of Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 September 2016

Loxford Lane, Ilford, cordoned off by police following the shooting.

Loxford Lane, Ilford, cordoned off by police following the shooting.

Archant

The leader of Redbridge Council has hit back at suggestions Loxford Lane is a “forgotten” part of the borough.

Residents and community groups accused the authority and police of neglecting the area after an 11-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man were injured in a shooting in broad daylight on Monday, August 8.

Cecelia Rufus, 52, of Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, who is leading the Ilford Lane community pocket park project, made the comment following attempts to improve the area.

She said: “It is a forgotten part of the borough. We have been doing our very best to raise the profile of the area.”

Liz Gardner, team leader for City Gates church outreach group, Love Loxford, based at Loxford Community Centre, Loxford Lane, Ilford, echoed the sentiments.

“It is one of the most deprived wards in the borough. Child poverty, low income, a lot of single parents, generational unemployment, it is setting kids up to fail.

“The drug-dealing has become blatant. We often see young people in cars, clearly up to no good – they are not waiting until dark,”

Miss Gardner added that the shooting was “one of those things building up for a while.”

But leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “No part of the borough is forgotten. Loxford Lane on one end touches Ilford Lane, the other is my ward, Mayfield.

“If anyone is going to accuse me of forgetting about my ward, they need to think again.”

He added Loxford has two dedicated police officers and the council is working hard to “lift” the deprived wards.

“But after years of under investment, it’s going to take time for the investment to shine through. The swimming pool is the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

Former Mayor of Redbridge, Filly Maravala, said 10 years ago, he and resident Tanweer Khan collected 2,500 signatures to request extra police in the area after a gun was brandished in Loxford Park.

But Mischa Hayter, of Loxford Lane, who has complained about drug dealing in the area, said problems are still ongoing.

“They [authorities] are invisible to the residents,” she said.

“The authorities are never there. It’s unsafe and unprotected. People continue to get away with it [drug dealing]. The shooting is the tip of the iceberg.”


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