Recorder letters: Wanstead Park, antisemitism, planning power and diabetic's survey

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 September 2018

The Ornamental Lake, in Wanstead Park,. Picture: KEN MEARS.

The Ornamental Lake, in Wanstead Park,. Picture: KEN MEARS.


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

We must protect our park’s lakes

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

One of the saddest sights of the summer has been the emptying lakes in Wanstead Park.

The picturesque Ornamental Lake has been particularly hard hit, with the water levels reaching record lows.

The wildlife has adapted. Herons and little egrets have descended on the lake, seeing the possibility for rich pickings, as the fish struggle to survive amid disappearing water.

The hot weather has obviously played a big part in the emptying of the lakes but there have been problems for many years now.

Back in 2009, Wanstead Park was put on the English Heritage at risk register, partly because of the state of the waterways in the park.

Almost a decade later, the park remains on the register.

The exasperation of many locals at the failure of the parks custodians, the City of London Corporation (CLC), to seriously address the situation, has been regularly vented on social media.

At present the only water supply to the lakes comes from a pump linked to a bore hole that supplies the Heronry Lake.

This then flows onto the Perch and Ornamental lakes. However, the licence with the Environment Agency limits the amount of water that can be pumped.

The pump can only ever be a part of a much bigger solution to provide water supply for the lakes.

Foremost, people need to know why (beyond drought) the water is disappearing and what can be done to address the situation.

There is already much evidence. The Heronry has always leaked water, going back to war damage that has never been adequately repaired. The Ornamental remains more of a mystery.

Recently, a calvert was discovered, which sees water run away, when the lake does hold water to a certain level – though, this would not be a concern at present.

There has been talk of applying for a lottery grant but this seems to be a continually moving panacea.

What is for sure is that something needs to be done. At present the lakes look in a terribly neglected, dilapidated state.

If the CLC came forward with a plan that linked the flood prevention work to restoration of the waterways in the park that would be a major step forward and would receive universal support.

One move forward whilst water levels are so low would be to at least remove all the debris that clutters up the lakes. This would be a forerunner to more comprehensive measures being taken to ensure that the lakes hold water for the foreseeable future. What is for sure is that something needs to happen and soon.:

Labour sensible on antisemitism

Gary Staight, Jarrow Road, Chadwell Heath, writes:

I regard the Labour Party’s adoption of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism, but with the added caveat that it shouldn’t be used prevent the right of free speech to criticise Israel or raise concerns about Palestinian Rights, as a sensible way forward.

In last weeks letters Cllrs Berlin and Clark stated that such a caveat was unnecessary but from experience within my own party, the Liberal Democrats, I cannot agree.

The Liberal Democrats have adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and all the examples with no caveat.

Just before the last general election, David Ward was the adopted candidate (and a former MP for 2010-2015) in Bradford.

David held views critical of Israel and the parties then leader Tim Farron insisted he should not be the parties candidate (even though he had no constitutional right to do so).

I look at one of the examples IHRA gives that it is antisemitic to deny the Jewish people the right to self determination (which I take to mean the founding of the state of Israel).

Am I free to point out that as a consequence 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were either forced to flee their homes or no longer felt safe to stay.

This is a similar number to the Rohinga Muslims that were forced to flee Myanmar last year.

So while many, including Redbridge Council last year celebrated to 70th Anniversary of the founding of Israel others felt the need to remember the 700,000 who had to leave their homes and have no right of return.

Council has the planning power

Chris Roper, Chadwell Heath, writes:

Having seen Aaron’s article in the Ilford Recorder on the Newbury House Flats, I want to make a quick point.

It may be that Redbridge Council has, in terms of planning permission, no say in stopping a development such as Newbury House, but it isn’t compelled to put people in there.

In fact, there would be no point in developing it in its current form if the council weren’t going to make use of it.

So, maybe, they have more control than they appreciate?

We want to hear from Diabetes sufferers locally

Roz Rosenblatt, London Head, Diabetes UK, writes:

Almost 3.7 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK.

The condition doesn’t just affect people physically but has a big emotional impact that is equally harmful and is often overlooked.

Living with diabetes can be tough, and a lack of emotional and psychological support can make it even harder to manage the condition.

At Diabetes UK we want emotional, psychological and mental health support for people with diabetes to become a priority.

We believe everyone should have the space and opportunity to talk about their emotional wellbeing, be empowered to seek support, and know where to go to get it.

Your experiences will help us make the case - so please take part in the survey and tell us how living with diabetes makes you feel, and whether the care you receive gives you enough support to cope with managing diabetes when your emotional wellbeing is low.

If you are living with diabetes, if you’re a parent of a child or a carer for someone with diabetes, complete our online survey by September 30 -

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