Recorder letters: Avenue pub, Kenneth More Theatre and St Peter’s church

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 September 2017


Staff and customers objecting to plans to build a 12 storey development on the site of The Avenue pub, Newbury Park. Picture: KEN MEARS

Stop pub site becoming derelict

David Stephens, chairman, Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association, writes:

What is happening with The Avenue pub site? It is looking a mess with dumped rubbish and abandoned cars – but no one seems to care.

Is this retribution because local people had the temerity to object to a planning application for a totally inappropriate development scheme?

At its meeting on July 26, 2017, Redbridge Council planning committee rejected an application to redevelop the Eastern Avenue pub site with a very dense residential scheme up to 12 storeys high and with insufficient on-site parking provision.

However, as of today (August 22) Redbridge has not issued a decision notice to the applicant. Why not? Why is the council delaying? Why isn’t it keeping the objectors informed?

In the meantime, the former pub building is empty and becoming derelict.

There is fencing around part of the site but this is clearly not secure and the site is being used for illegal fly-tipping.

This cannot be right, especially as the council declared the pub to be a community asset.

How long will it be before thieves get into the building and start stripping out the copper pipes and anything else of value?

Plenty of ways to stop Ilford’s decline

Meenakshi Sharma, on behalf of NOISE, (Neighbourhoods of Ilford South Engage), writes:

Following on from Mrs J Robinson’s letter in last week’s Recorder, I would like to suggest a reason for the increasing demise of Ilford Town Centre, with so little being done to stop it.

Six thousand units of housing in the form of high-rise flats has been allocated to the area in the Draft Redbridge Local Plan, so perhaps the council now feels there’s no point in thinking about how to improve the town centre’s environment in order to support its retail and leisure functions.

It is obvious that all town centres have to cope with today’s changing retail climate but Ilford is declining more than most for reasons which, given the will, could be dealt with.

For instance, the narrowing of pedestrian pathways for shoppers due to building works should only happen for very short periods. Currently works are taking excessive amounts of time, causing great inconvenience.

The almost daily market reduces available space and a different location for it needs to be found, as it depresses the footfall of the shops.

Viable long-term businesses such as Kristi’s shoe repairers could be encouraged instead of support being given for the temporary occupation of buildings by non-viable businesses.

The environment could be so much more pleasant. Homeless people need support to be given to them outside of the town centre and someone should have the responsibility for the oversight of the cleansing and waste management of the whole town centre area.

Clutter of street furniture such as inappropriately located cycle stands and pointless telephone booths, covered in stickers advertising the services of prostitutes, do not help the look of the environment.

Let council know we want the KMT

Cllr Joyce Ryan writes:

More than 40 years ago Redbridge Council built a civic theatre – a theatre owned by the people of Redbridge, and entrusted to provide entertainment, culture, education and services to young and old, to all the citizens of the borough.

The formal administration – wages, pensions, tax returns and so on – would be provided by council officers, and an annual grant would underwrite the running costs.

However, to ensure our civic theatre would never be used for party-political purposes, it was created as an independent charity with a cross-party unpaid board of governors.

Its home-produced shows toured to other theatres all over the country; and one of its rock musicals had legendary success throughout Europe and even as far as Israel. Its pantomimes became part of Redbridge family tradition; its youth theatre shows provided several of today’s West End and television star names; its dance, opera, musical productions and schools’ work attracted full houses and much praise.

The original 35-year lease expired in 2010. Despite efforts from the board Redbridge Council has still not yet renewed the lease, and therefore this failure, together with other things, could potentially ensure that there is no future for the theatre.

Over the intervening years the value of land in the town centre has increased vastly.

The Labour administration is now stopping the annual grant from the next financial year. The council has also already withdrawn ALL the administrative back-up support.

So much for being the borough’s civic theatre.

With no lease it is almost impossible for the theatre staff to seek other financial support and grant aid from other sources.

This is being been done as a budget cut “to save money”: it saves approximately one penny a week for every one of Redbridge’s residents – it is a saving of 53p per person per year. But, is there another reason for this happening?

Is it really a way to get rid of the theatre and enable the administration in the long term to build on the site?

If you care about the future of the Kenneth More Theatre then let the leader of the council, Cllr Jas Athwal know your views

St Peter’s is part of our heritage

Margaret Merritt, Cherhill, Calne, Wiltshire, writes:

As a former Spearpoint Gardens resident, I have read and kept up-to-date with horror Redbridge Council’s attitude to the irrevocable damage that may be done to St Peter’s Church because the financial advantages of extracting gravel outweigh the disadvantages (We DO care about St Peter’s Church).

I find this generation of councillors have a cavalier attitude to the responsibility they have to the residents of Aldborough Hatch. Their attention has been drawn to the health issues involved with further extraction of gravel; those issues were swept aside.

St Peter’s Church has played a huge part in people’s lives. It stood as a beacon during two world wars. For many generations christenings, wedding and funerals have been conducted there.

I know things change, but this church is part of our heritage and English Heritage should be interested in the goings-on here.

Shame on you all!

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