Recorder letters: Cladding, Air Ambulance, gravel extraction, Kenneth More Theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 July 2017


Part of the cladding on the Orchard Estate – formerly the Broadmead – is being upgraded. Picture: KEN MEARS

Tower block cladding

Keith Stanbury, chairman, Goodmayes Residents Association (GRASS), writes:

I am concerned, no, outraged, by the statements quoted in your newspaper last week by an unnamed spokeswoman for the council and by the leader, Cllr Jas Athwal.

They claim that the cladding tested from various high rise buildings in Redbridge was “ not the same as Grenfell Tower”.

Every sample tested by the government agency, whether it was the same as that on Grenfell Tower or otherwise, has failed the safety testing.

So the cladding on Redbridge buildings is not safe, if it has been tested as required by national government.

Whether the cladding is the same as Grenfell Tower or not it has failed the government review, so don’t pretend otherwise.

Don’t tell the Broadmead Estate residents that it is “fine”, as you are quoted as saying. If you think so, prove it – go live in one of the flats until it is declared safe. Rehouse the residents and live in it on your own.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Cllr Athwal and your quoted spokesperson.

You have both attempted to mislead justifiably concerned residents.

Air ambulance has treated 36,000 thanks to you

Jonathan Jenkins, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance, writes:

As I come to the end of my first 60 days as CEO of London’s Air Ambulance, I would like to emphasise the importance of local support to our charity and share some words of thanks with the people of Redbridge.

It’s a great feeling when you find out a company has donated a large sum of money to the charity, but it is vital to never lose sight of our grass-root supporters.

To me, a local cake sale is just as important as a big corporate partnership. This charity was built on community spirit; it’s a service funded by the people of London for the people of London and that’s something I really want to focus on during my time as CEO.

In April, our charity responded to a man who had been involved in a motorbike collision at Gants Hill roundabout. Our medical team treated the patient on scene, alongside the London Ambulance Service, before he was taken to a nearby hospital.

Local support is so important in helping us provide this vital service.

The money raised by communities goes towards delivering our advanced trauma team via helicopter or rapid response car to critically injured people across the capital and it’s thanks to your help that London’s Air Ambulance was able to treat 56 people in Redbridge last year.

Now we need your help again to raise awareness of our charity status.

Whilst eight out of 10 people have heard of the London’s Air Ambulance service, around two-thirds of people in London are not sure or don’t think that London’s Air Ambulance is a charity.

This is a massive hurdle to overcome as we try to gain more support and may be explained by the fact that, on average, people believe 47 per cent of our funding comes from either the NHS, central government or local government.

In reality, we receive the majority of our income from public donations. People also believe that we exist to transport people to hospital or from hard to access areas, when in actual fact, we deliver a doctor and paramedic to a patient’s side to deliver treatment only usually found in a hospital emergency department – this includes open chest surgery, anaesthesia, blood transfusions and advanced pain relief.

Over the last few years the charity has focused on acquiring a second helicopter and securing extended daylight flying hours. With these aims achieved we will now focus on the challenge of increasing awareness of our charitable status.

It is the work you do promoting, fundraising or volunteering in your local community that helps spread the message that we rely on public donations.

Together, I know we can carry on helping critically injured people in London.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you for everything you have already done for London’s Air Ambulance.

It is down to you that we have treated more than 36,000 patients in our 28 years of service and your continued support will help us save lives long into the future.

Gravel OK a sad day for democracy

Howard Berlin, Longwood Gardens, Ilford, writes:

Congratulations to Ron Jeffries for making a brilliant speech last Thursday in council on the gravel extraction planning application in Aldborough.

The only problem was that the six Labour councillors on the planning committee voted through this horrendous application on a “whipped vote”. In other words it was voted through on Redbridge Labour party group policy of placing more importance on money before health.

It is the same policy at Oakfield Playing Fields where money comes before health, pollution and encouraging sport.

What links both issues is that this is another example of Redbridge Labour talking about consultation and engagement with residents and then refusing to listen. The reality is that they make a decision and everything else is just lip service.

I am sorry to have to write this but local democracy under Redbridge Labour is in crisis. This is evidenced by one key event that happened, or rather did not happen, at the planning meeting. The application involves works very close to St Peter’s Church and yet incredibly Rev Kate Lovesey, the priest in charge of the church, was barred from speaking for two minutes to the planning committee.

This decision shows total lack of respect to the local community. The works so close to the 150 year old church are almost certain to cause damage to the church and any damage will have to be paid for by council tax payers in Redbridge.

I also congratulate the four Conservative councillors and one Lib Dem councillor for clearly reading and understanding all the documentation and stating why the application is unsound. Cllr Hayes, in particular, made a brilliant contribution.

It was good that two Labour ward councillors spoke passionately about how wrong the gravel extraction plans are. Wes Streeting MP was on urgent Commons business and sent a letter to the planning committee which was not read out. However, the three of them are part of Redbridge Labour that supports the gravel extraction.

I say if the three Aldborough Labour councillors are truly passionate about what they said and believe then they need to be more vocal and consider their positions with their Labour administration.

The six Labour councillors who voted this through have ignored well documented cancer risks associated with gravel extraction. My final word is a quote from a Redbridge council officer at the meeting who stated “health is not a planning issue”. It was another sad day for local democracy.

KMT needs your help to survive

Ken Gaunt, Greenslade Road, Barking, writes:

Not only is the the KMT home to many amateur theatre groups but also the main venue for Sir Jack Petchey’s award scheme involving almost 2,000 schools, colleges and youth organisations throughout London and Essex.

The KMT will be a great loss to the community if through lack of funds it cannot survive. Surely if Ilford is to be redeveloped, what better way to attract people of all cultures than to a nice cultural evening at the theatre?

The only nightlife at the moment is the cinema which mainly attracts teenagers. How about the older clientele and families with children?

Let’s show the council what the KMT is to the community. To survive, your help is greatly

needed so buy a ticket to one of the many great shows put on throughout the year.

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