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Recorder letters: Verges, affordable housing, development and employment in the future

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 July 2018

The Overgrown verge opposite Claybury Broadway. Picture: MAXINE LECKERMAN

The Overgrown verge opposite Claybury Broadway. Picture: MAXINE LECKERMAN

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

‘Untidy’ verges haven for wildlife

A South Woodford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I’m not one for writing letters to papers, but I wanted to respond to some letters recently printed, about untidy verges and gardens. To some, it may look messy, but to others and to our wildlife, these “untidy” verges are helping to save their lives.

We are being told and advised by environmentalists and wildlife experts how over-farming and too many front gardens being paved over, and sparse gardens, are affecting our wildlife. Some are now becoming endangered and are in decline.

Bees and butterflies are in decline as we take away their nectar sources, sparrows and starlings are in decline as we take away their nesting sites and food sources.

We need to do something to help them.

We are being advised to leave areas of our gardens wild to help them, plant lots of wild flowers along verges and in our gardens, and how important some of these wild verges are.

Dandelions are a valuable source of nectar for early emerging bees, it is vital for them and their survival. Yet many of us remove them.

Some farmers have now joined schemes to not cut back their fields until the end of summer, so that ground nesting birds can flourish, and have enough food with the bugs and insects that live in the wild areas to survive.

Our garden birds also need these insects.

If we over garden, they will have no food.

I hope that any environmentalists can add to what I am saying. Sometimes, untidy, is not a bad thing.

We want affordable housing guarantee

Martyn Lee, Cranley Road, Ilford, writes:

A few months ago you printed my letter predicting that the Bodgers site would be occupied by a large residential development (Solid gold real estate) and I was at that time somewhat cynical as to affordability, suggesting that the complex would very probably consist mainly of “…luxury apartments that only well-off city types or foreign investors will be able to afford”.

However, after reading the front page of a recent edition (42-storey flats scheme for Bodgers site) I have changed my mind and think that the prospect of an additional “380 private rented apartments” is absolutely fantastic news for Ilford now that the developers, Access Self-Storage, have pledged that they “…hand on heart … are not looking to … turn them around for profit” and have recognised that “Ilford is in real need of affordable housing”.

I trust that Redbridge Council will therefore hold them at their word and, once planning permission is approved, guarantee to your readers that the rent for every single one of these apartments will be no more than 80per cent of the local market rent, which is consistent with the government’s own definition of “affordable housing”.

I would urge the council to consider setting aside a small proportion of the development – say 5pc of the units – to house the most destitute of Ilford’s long-term homeless, with all rent and utility bills paid for by Access Self-Storage as a further demonstration that the company is indeed committed to “a long-term hold…that will stand the test of time”.

And, in order to reinforce the council’s commitment to equality and diversity, they might even consider persuading the developers to ensure that some of the units - say another 5pc - are equipped with facilities and adaptations to cater for severely physically disabled people and wheelchair users.

Ilford will be like ants in a colony

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

If you live in Ilford, my advice, get out as quickly as you can. Go to New Zealand, Canada or Australia. With the advent of these skyscrapers there will be about 20,000 more people in our little town.

The pavements now are choc-a-bloc, traffic is very heavy, imagine what’s coming. Water will be short, the power will fade. It will be like ants in a colony.

Crowd animals together in a confined space and they go mad, ditto the human species. Someone, somewhere, is responsible for allowing this enormous number of tower blocks to be built while becoming billionaires through this policy. I wonder who.

A majority of Ilfordians hold this view.

Less work requires greater equality

Paul Donovan,Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

What happens when the jobs go?

The recent problems with the TSB bank saw many enraged customers unable to access their accounts. One of the repeated complaints from customers was that there was no one to speak to.

This is becoming an increasing occurance across society, as people are increasingly replaced by machines.

The supermarket checkout has been heading that way for many years, with the companies concerned often deliberately cutting back human staffed checkouts, in order to force customers towards the automated tills.

These often seem to malfunction, requiring a human to then step in and sort out the problem. However, short term inconvenience to the customer appears a price the supermarket is prepared to pay in order to cut staff.

The question is where is this all heading?

It is estimated that over the next 10 to 20 years 50per cent of jobs are set to disappear.

This will have huge implications for society, yet few seem to be giving it much thought.

At the moment it is the usual, let the market decide - a recipe for chaos in many instances.

Less work can be good, if it provides more time for leisure, education and other things. It was a vista imagined in the 1970s, with shorter working weeks and early retirement.

However, then it never materialised.

In the event, we got longer working weeks, with retirement pushed ever further into the distance.

What is for sure is that while there may be less work for people in the future, there must be greater equality - a fairer distribution of the total wealth.

If the present polarisation of wealth from the many to the few continues, dark and uncertain days lay ahead.

Moving forward, there need to be bold imaginative plans made for this brave new world of automation, not simply letting the market decide.

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