Recorder letters: Coronavirus and Goodmayes Tesco site

PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 March 2020

1945: East Enders celebrate VE Day with a week of street parties

1945: East Enders celebrate VE Day with a week of street parties


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

VE Day community spirit still with us

David Martin Hanover Gardens Neighbourhood Watch (NHW), writes:

We MUST help each other.

Approaching 70 years since VE Day, May 8, 1945, community spirit is still with us.

Seventy years ago, the threat came from the air, now a threat is around us all.

Hanover Gardens NHW was established in 2008 to help residents keep safe from crime.

Twelve years later, we are helping each other keep safe from crime, plus the hidden peril from Covid-19. Community spirit is high. One neighbour handed out a variety of vegetables, distributed to eight elderly neighbours. Another gave a near neighbour eggs and bread, both maintaining two metres distance. Relatively small gestures, but that spirit will continue.

We all owe a debt to all NHW staff and to those distributing food and supplies.

We must help each other to keep us safe and well.

We must act collectively to contain virus

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

Policy makers are taking full account of the March 16 paper from the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team – Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce Covid-19 mortality and healthcare demand.

They are right to do so. There are no certainties in epidemiology, but no team in the world is better qualified to advise how to slow or blunt the spread of the virus. The team there includes a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling, and the Medical Research Council Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis.

Their message is clear: they are saying that in a mitigated epidemic hundreds of thousands of deaths might occur worldwide.

Mitigation seeks only to slow transmission. It won’t stop the epidemic. Suppression, on the other hand, aims to reduce case numbers to low levels through social distancing and home quarantine. The scientists from Imperial said that these measures may need to be supplemented by school and college closures (as has now happened), though they acknowledge these will also have negative effects.

No one is happy with the situation. But the only reasonable conclusion is that the government has looked at the facts and the state of our current knowledge and has responded with a sensible and balanced policy.

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The key reference point is the reproduction number, the number of people to whom each infected person will transmit the virus. Reduce it below one and the number of cases will start to fall. Only suppression strategies can achieve this.

The vast majority of people who contract Covid-19 will make an uneventful recovery and can be assumed to be immune to re-infection, at least in the short


Evidence from the Flu-Watch cohort studies suggests that re-infections with seasonal circulating coronavirus is highly unlikely in the same or the following season.

But hundreds of thousands of people in our society, especially those with existing illnesses, are at risk of losing their lives prematurely.

That’s why we must act collectively in our own and in their interests by listening carefully to and sharing the evidence-based strategy being advocated by government.

Air pollution has nothing to do with Tesco

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

May I respond to Andy Walker’s letter published in last week’s Recorder regarding the proposed redevelopment of the Tesco site at Goodmayes.

The high levels of air pollution in the immediate vicinity of the development have nothing to do with the redevelopment and to imply an increase solely to the proposals - and accuse Tescos of ‘toxicity’ - is both factually wrong and defamatory.

Fact: air quality has been monitored at seven school locations by the developers for almost a year, without any demand from Redbridge Council - it is integral to their ‘environmental impact assessment’. And, by entering into a positive dialogue with them this Residents Association has been a factor in influencing this, and other environmental, social and infrastructure measures, for more than a year.

Fact: pollution levels have been significantly altered in the last 12 months by the sheer volume of traffic, the perverse traffic-light timings at the two major intersections, the mismanaged siting of bus stops/lack of electric buses, the failure to introduce ‘no loading/unloading’ restrictions and the inordinate number of learner drivers using the surrounding roads due to the location of Goodmayes Driving Centre.

Fact: no other major supermarket owner has made the commitment to provide up to 25 per cent of its customer car parking spaces with PHEV recharge points. And we have asked for their commitment to provide these at the redeveloped site.

Fact: no other major developer in East London is looking at all of its resident parking bays to have PHEV recharging facilities. This would be a first in London, and it would have been achieved by discussion and persuasion.

The single highest impact on pollution levels at Goodmayes Primary School is vehicle users using ‘rat runs’ to escape the traffic queues at the Green Lane/Goodmayes Lane lights. Vehicles turning right off Green Lane at the school are doing so to access Goodmayes Lane and to turn right into the nortbound queues. Installing ‘traffic calming speed humps’, as the council is doing in Colinton Road and Kinfauns Road are shown to increase air pollution - right next to the school. It doesn’t take a major intellect to review alternatives and determine a proactive course of action to that which is so damaging to the quality of life in Goodmayes. And save many thousands of taxpayer pounds - hence my Freedom of Information request for fuller information on this whole project.

If you want a pollution focus for your own campaigners in Seven Kings - your ward - have a look at the council’s plans for the car park site and consider the impact the supply of 120-plus homes with no onsite parking on a 3,000m2 site. Or the 300-odd homes being planned on the Homebase site.

Review the need for electric only buses and how you can pressure TfL to provide them as a priority - Romford Road is one of the busiest bus roads in Redbridge and the filth of buses stopping/starting their diesel engines is perverse.

Get Redbridge to up their installation rate for public vehicle charging points - out of 150 planned they have so far installed just 10.

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