Recorder letters: Bodgers site, Wild Wanstead, Monkhams’ Green and BBC orchestra

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 July 2018

The plan for the Bodgers site. Picture: POLITY

The plan for the Bodgers site. Picture: POLITY


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

Call a halt to skyscrapers

Ken Champion, Sandhurst Drive, Redbridge, writes:

Being unable to attend last week’s gathering at the closed Bodgers store where comments on the 42-storey tower proposed to replace it were solicited, I am not in a position to offer opinions on the aesthetics of the proposed construction.

But it is far too tall for the flatbeds of Ilford. Or has the unrealistic height been put forward with – the oldest trick in the developers’ book – the idea of reducing it after protests? And what of the Bodgers building itself? The front is of little consequence, but the 1927 exterior is. This should, of course, be listed.

London is the only major city in Europe without a building plan, thus we have the chaotic bling and aesthetic toxicity of the city’s current skyline, a horizon that, compared with the rest of Europe, looks like a third-world city craving for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Does Ilford wish to add to these random skylines of inimical, distorted towers and self-congratulatory architectural triumphalism? Are we to have yet more “stunning apartments”? What of “affordable ones”?

Skyscrapers should most preferably be in clusters, eg New York, Chicago, Canary Wharf – or is the long-term aim to add the angular, grey brooding of the Pioneer Point tower with another like it?

No. Call a halt to this idea. Now.

Who could afford these new flats?

Terry Sykes, Trinity Road, Barkingside, writes:

With reference to your article about the plan to build a 42-storey block of flats on the Bodgers site.

I wonder how much thought was given to the local services which will have to cope with the influx of people coming into the area to occupy the proposed accommodation. Has Access Self Storage considered this? Will Redbridge planning department consider this?

I am thinking, in particular, about the health service. Anybody living in the borough will be very well aware that our local hospitals and doctors surgeries are at breaking point now and have been for some time.

The health service remains under-funded and under-staffed. This kind of infrastructure has not kept pace with the increasing demands being placed on it as the population of the borough has grown in recent years.

There are other considerations too when looking at population growth such as local schools being able to cope with an increased intake.

Another point I would like to make is that we are constantly hearing the phrase “affordable housing”: Access Self Storage refers to it in your article. What does it mean in reality?

Who does it apply to? Does it relate to those who work on short-term or zero hours contracts? Does it include people who earn the minimum wage? Who would be able to afford to live in one of the flats if this proposal goes ahead?

Ways to bring people together

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

The Wild Wanstead tree pit planting initiative has really caught fire, with some 40 roads now taking part.

One of the striking things about the initiative is that it brings people out from behind their front doors to participate in the community.

When we first did the planting around Snaresbrook in 2014, it was noticeable how some people thought it was someone coming in from outside to “do” the job for them. In reality, although the council funded the purchase of the seeds, the actual planting was all done on a voluntary basis by local people.

The latest Wild Wanstead effort has further built up those community links. It is important that not only do people reconnect with the nature around them but also those equally organic community links are made with our neighbours.

Street parties are another great way of bringing community alive. In my road, we have had a street party for the past couple of years.

It is these type of initiatives we need to build on in Wanstead going forward, reconnecting with people and nature. Break down those barriers real or imagined and reaching out to each other.

Save Our Green from playground

Susan Hitching, Monkhams Drive, Woodford Green, writes:

If you live in the Monkhams ward or near to The Green in Woodford you may have received a colourful leaflet through your door entitled Save Our Green. This has been produced and delivered by a group of residents from the area who are opposed to the proposed idea of a children’s play area being built on The Green in Woodford.

The Save Our Green group’s argument is that The Green is part of ancient Epping Forest; it is Heritage Land in a Conservation Area and has been managed in its natural state for over 140 years. Epping Forest now also forms part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The group have spoken to many local residents and the vast majority are against any desecration of The Green. At the recent AGM of the Woodford Green Amenity Group a vote was taken and out of approximately forty people present only two people were in favour of the proposed playground, with just two abstentions.

The group who oppose the proposal to construct a playground on The Green say that in its current state it is already a delightful natural play area for children.

The Save Our Green group is suggesting that anyone wishing to prevent The Green from being spoilt by the building of an artificial playground should email stating ‘I wish to preserve The Green in Woodford in its current natural state’ including their name and postcode and stating how many people in their household support the statement.

Wonderful concert by BBC orchestra

S C Ruckes, The Drive, Ilford, writes:

The principal conductor, Bramwell Tovey, brought the BBC Concert Orchestra to Ilford Town Hall for their first ever concert there. It was a reunion of those who had attended Redbridge Music School.

The small notice in the Recorder (p29) informed your readers on June 20 that the event would take place.

What a wonderful afternoon! It began with a performance by the award-winning Redbridge Brass. The BBC Concert Orchestra performed among others, a lovely work by Roderick Elms, who often appears with the orchestra and was in the audience. For those unfortunate enough to miss the concert, it was recorded and is going to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. PLEASE will somebody inform this paper when a date is set?

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