Recorder letters: No to technology, RingGO, waste, pro-Brexit book, Brexit, Barkingside Football Club roll call, KMT, Forest Road, festival on Flats, DVDs and hungry children

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 November 2018

People who chose not to use technology feel marginalised. Picture: PA IMAGES

People who chose not to use technology feel marginalised. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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

Stop imposing new technology on all of us

Terry Sykes, Trinity Road, Barkingside, writes (by hand):

I agree with the two correspondents in last week’s Recorder who wrote about the requirement to use technology to pay for car parking.

It is not, however, only in the case of making payments for certain facilities that technology is being imposed on people.

More and more I am noticing that the only way to contact organisations, including government departments and council offices, is by electronic means.

I know of one particular example where an elderly gentleman was required to use a computer in order to apply for a new blue badge. Although he is, to a certain extent, computer literate, he is slow when using the keyboard and following the instructions.

There is, in many cases, a time limit when filling in a form online. When that time elapses there is an immediate cut off and the user has to start again.

That is what happened in his case. He then had to take his proof of identity down to Linton House. When he enquired about these applicants who do not own a computer, he was told that they would have to make an appointment at their local library in order to be assisted in this process!

Previously one could simply phone the blue badge office, which had premises in Newbury Park, and ask for a form to be posted. It was then a much simpler system and applicants could spend as long as it took filling in the form without fear of running out of time. So much for progress!

David Stephens, chairman of Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents’ Association, is absolutely right when he states that “it is not only many elderly people who are unfamiliar or uncertain about new technology and do not have computers”.

There are those, such as myself, who do not want to use electronic gadgets. We are all being marginalised by having technology imposed on us, regardless of our likes or abilities, without any attempt being made by organisations to offer an alternative method of payment or communication.

The whole state of affairs needs to be revisited so that everybody is accommodated and nobody is made to feel left out. Councils should be well placed to take the lead in this rather than sticking to a stubborn insistence that everybody must use the methods that are imposed on them!

RingGo stopped me using parks

Mrs J D Kelly, Marlborough Drive, Clayhall, writes:

Having just read the letters in this week’s Recorder, I wholeheartedly support the two letters condemning Redbridge Council’s decision to replace the cash parking machines with mobile phone and credit card ones.

Due to this change in Hainault Forest and Fairlop Waters, I have ceased using their parks. I had enjoyed walking my dog in both places. I’m sure many other people will do the same.

Think before you throw things away

Cllr Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

There is a lovely seat in Wanstead Park, opposite the grotto, overlooking the Ornamental Lake. It is a place where people regularly sit to relax, amid the forest looking out over the lake. Couples chatting, individuals reading and taking in the fantastic view.

A lovely place, which makes it all the more difficult to understand why people leave their old plastic bottles, empty packets and other litter strewn around when they leave.

Coming upon this delightful spot, one day with people enjoying the autumn sun, then the next only to see the aftermath – a mini litter dump – is difficult to comprehend.

How can people on the one hand commune with nature but then so disrespect it by just dumping their waste all around them? The two attitudes seem incongruous.

The recent fire on Wanstead Flats uncovered lots of non-inflammable rubbish, nestled amongst the bushes and trees.

In Wanstead, people are understandably concerned when they see litter lying around in the parks and streets.

Redbridge Council has redoubled efforts to counter the litter explosion. The measures taken vary from increased collections from standing bins to provision of more bags and volunteer litter picks. The council is also cracking down on fly-tipping, with heavy fines imposed on those caught in the act.

However, these are all actions to address the effects, not the causes, of the our wasteful society.

Society today has been built on a throwaway culture. Use it, chuck it, buy something new.

There needs to be more strident moves toward recycling and reusing the resources of everyday life. Also, just don’t create the waste in the first place.

As we know the resources of the planet are finite, so human kind cannot just keep throwing stuff away, turning the whole environment in which we live into one big rubbish heap.

So think twice before you throw things away, whether they be plastic bottles in the park or household goods that could find another home with other people. We need to think about the community we want to live in – the days of the throwaway society are forever over.

Question pro-Brexit letters and book

Tim Reder, Overton Drive, Wanstead, writes:

I very much enjoy reading the Recorder for its coverage of local news.

However, I have been made angry on numerous occasions about the pro Brexit letters from Will Podmore that cynically distort the truth.

It is absolutely correct that as a local author his book should be highlighted in your newspaper, but equally so his assertions should be deeply questioned.

For a book for which he professes “It’s for people to make up their own minds up, that’s not our job”, the book’s delusional title “Brexit The Road to Freedom” does not seem in any way an impartial.

I haven’t read the book, but given the misleading nature of his letters to your paper I can’t believe the content will do anything but give a partial and incomplete picture.

Even your reporter fell into the trap of saying “the book concludes with a look at an independent Britain’s future...”

Britain was already an independent country before Brexit, as can clearly be demonstrated by its right to leave the EU and the making of laws and regulations covering every area of British society. Independence is under much greater threat by leaving the EU, as a deal with the USA is more than likely to see control of the NHS eroded by the opening up of the service to large private “healthcare” companies and food standards and animal welfare reduced to meet American regulations.

Deals with China and Japan will probably see tax breaks for foreign nationals working and investing in the UK. Without getting in to a long debate about all of the issues mentioned in your review, the ones mentioned in your article are all ones in which membership of the EU is far better for this and other countries in Europe.

Finally, his book covers the local leave campaign.

The behaviour of those campaigning in Wanstead was appalling. Leave campaigners were deliberately misleading the public. I knew their ‘facts’ were incorrect and questioned them, but made doubly sure by going home to check. When the next day I confronted them with their inaccuracies they turned their backs on me.

I spoke to the only reasonable campaigner I could find, who, though passionately supporting their cause, also professed to being very unhappy about tactics being used by the campaign both nationally and locally.

Millions marched to vote Leave

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

Regarding Mr Newcombe’s letter about 7,000 marching in London for a new referendum (actually it was nearer 5,500).

Well, I remind him that two years and five months ago 17.4 million of us marched to the polling stations to vote out. We didn’t vote to negotiate, we didn’t vote to stay in if they they’re nice to us. We voted out not to live under a foreign dictatorship.

Also the EU is dying, Greece is gone, Italy nearly and the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn about the EU.

We’d like football club roll call

Rob Meyers, historian, Barkingside Football Club, full address supplied, writes:

I would like to hear from a World War One expert who may be able to identify Barkingside Football Club’s roll call.

Whilst researching Recorder newspapers at Redbridge Central Library, I came across an amazing detailed list of those who served from Ilford Football Club (which I will put on display when we meet Ilford FC at Cricklewood Stadium this anniversary season).

Sadly, no such roll call was shown for Barkingside FC and help is needed to find this.

A complete list of playing members during the 1921-1922 season is known and I guess these players may have served, but we cannot be sure nor do we have any knowledge of regiments.

Barkingside Football Club would like to honour these brave souls and any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

Jekyll and Hyde at KMT superb

Harvey Sharpe, Barkingside, writes:

The last time I saw the musical Jekyll and Hyde was about 15 years ago with a professional group of players. Well Saturday’s performance at the Kenneth More Theatre by the Forest Musical Theatre was every bit professional.

The whole cast need praising and special mention to leading man Russell Gillary for his acting and exceptional voice. His rendition of This is the Moment could not be bettered by some well known musical singers including Colm Wilkinson and Robert Cuccioli.

Sammie Harrison’s (Lucy) singing was lovely, especially Someone Like You.

The staging was superb and used very clever lighting, you could have closed and opened your eyes and think you were in the West End.

Long live all the theatre groups and long live The Kenneth More Theatre.

Reconsider works in Forest Road

Frederick Hurrell, Forest Road, writes to council leader Jas Athwal:

You will be aware, I hope, of the works currently being undertaken in Forest Road, Barkingside.

They comprise of “kerb outs”, which are now complete and which have considerably narrowed a road that was already very narrow for a major through road between Redbridge and Havering, speed cushions, and, unbelievably, the addition of white lines marking out parking spaces that were not there before.

These clearly encourage motorists to park on a busy road and these white lines have no business being there.

When these plans were put before the residents of Forest Road, I responded with vehement objections and forecast that they would cause accidents, sadly I was proven right, within just a couple of weeks of the completion of the kerb outs when the one directly opposite my house caused a motorist to plough into an empty parked car, throwing the parked vehicle across the pavement and itself at right angles to the road. Only good fortune prevented pedestrians, oncoming traffic and others becoming part of what could have been a fatal incident.

In response to the proposed plans, which were sent to residents and ironically were touted as making the road safer, I suggested tried and tested alternatives to make the road safer but received absolutely no response from the borough.

As I write this letter, your contractors are in the process of constructing the speed cushions which everybody knows, bar the council, have zero effect on reducing speeds because cars can straddle the cushions and continue at speed.

In fact they are more dangerous because cars often swerve to ensure that they straddle the cushions in order to avoid slowing down. They are especially dangerous when installed at the kerb outs, which is the case in Forest Road where there is only just enough room for two cars to pass with not enough room if a lorry or bus is passing.

Add to that the known detrimental effects of speed bumps on the environment ie noise and pollution and one wonders how any responsible authority can ignore government warnings about this and proceed the way that Redbridge has. I urge the council to re-consider this plan and make plans to undo the damage already done.

I would welcome festival on Flats

Clive Power, Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, writes:

“Anxious” claims (Recorder, November 1) Kris Sangani to be the view of Aldersbrook residents about the mooted festival for Wanstead Flats in 2020.

“Eye-rolling” is the reaction of this Aldersbrook Road resident, and whose view out of his front window would be fencing for the compound, to the protests against the event.

The City of London Corporation aren’t stupid. I’ve no doubt they would ensure no risk of fire, enforce reinstatement of anything damaged and deal with all the other scare-stories being raised.

I don’t give the organisers, Mama Festivals, a blank cheque; I’d want the corporation to ensure some of the high price they extract from them is spent locally – a kids’ playground would be good.

This furore reminds me of the exaggerated claims made a few year ago about the “danger” of the Mela (festival) that was also held on the Flats All passed well and I enjoyed the event.

The hyperbole is similar now; the leaflet through my door against the proposed festival called on us to stop the “carnage” (dictionary: slaughter of a great number of people).

Wanstead Flats does not belong to the people of Aldersbrook. The Flats were once well-used by East Enders who would come here on a rare day off.

The visiting fair and circus are the last echo of this. As I look across a wide part of the Flats – the area that the festival would cover – I can see three people on this sunny afternoon. I look forward to the outwitting of the Nimbys and thousands enjoying a festival.

DVDs will survive for a while yet

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

I read with great interest Steve Allen’s opinion column (November 1) on his concerns and mourning of the passing of the DVD with John Lewis announcing it would no longer stock DVD players.

Unfortunately Steve has completely misunderstood the concept of what is actually happening in the home cinema market and the technology involved.

DVDs play only on DVD players and are defined as Standard Definition (SD). However the newer developments of Blu-Ray and ultra-HD discs, although looking near enough identical to DVDs, are different formats with progressively higher storage capabilities meaning enhanced picture and sound resolution, hence higher definition’s HD and ultra-HD respectively.

The important thing is all Blu-Ray and ultra-HD players automatically play DVDs in SD just like a DVD player, so one’s DVD collection is safe for many years to come. In fact due to the more expensive nature of Blu-Ray and uHD discs the cheaper DVD disc has never had it so good and continues to live.

The moral of the story is physical media will always be king be it in DVD, Blu-Ray or ultra-HD formats, you own it outright not relying on a stable internet signal and have full control of it and it has some inherit value to it.

Hungry children do not learn

Tom Copley AM, Londonwide Assembly Member, writes:

This week marks School Meals Week, acting as a reminder of how important it is that our school children get a healthy meal during the school day.

Since their introduction, universal infant school meals have ensured that thousands more children in London get a nutritious lunch. This is an important step in the right direction – it helps their learning and their health - but children don’t stop needing decent food when they are seven.

With the threshold for free school meals in Year 3 and above unfairly limited to children in families earning less than £7,400 a year under the Universal Credit rules, thousands of young Londoners are not getting the school dinner they deserve. Hungry children do not learn and children in Redbridge deserve better.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder