Recorder letters: Local media, Goodmayes development, Gants Hill libary and local heritage

PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 December 2019

The News Media Association is asking campaigning politicial partiese not to imitate newspapers in campaign material. Picture: NMA

The News Media Association is asking campaigning politicial partiese not to imitate newspapers in campaign material. Picture: NMA


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

Please help protect local media

News Media Association wrote an open letter from local media publishers to Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson:

We write to you on behalf of local news brands, in print and digital, which reach 40.6m people a month.

During this election, politicians and candidates from all parties have gone to great lengths to praise local media and its important role in communities.

You have applauded local media's investigative reporting and powerful campaigns and celebrated its vital role in championing local communities.

And you've acknowledged that local news brands are an essential part of the democratic process by holding power to account and providing high-quality news.

It is widely known that the news media industry, particularly the local media sector, is facing significant challenges caused by changing news consumption habits and tech platforms' dominance in the digital advertising market.

So you would understand our amazement when election campaign material imitating local newspapers from the three major political parties started to appear through people's letterboxes.

To discover that local media is under attack by those who had purported to be supporters is extremely worrying.

Why are political parties passing off their fake newspaper propaganda as trusted local news?

Not only are you taking advantage of our highly trusted credentials, you are also actively undermining our business models.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but this has to stop.

The News Media Association and its members are calling on all political parties to immediately end this damaging practice which harms and undermines our democratic society.

Furthermore, we urge you all to help ensure the sustainable future of journalism.

At a time when trust in politicians and institutions is so low and fake news on social media is rife, why not instead be properly held to account by the journalists who write for our papers and websites?

Whichever party wins the election, we call on you to implement the recommendations of the Cairncross Report, move government advertising spend back into trusted news media channels and protect press freedom.

We look forward to your assurances that these measures will be taken promptly and the damaging effects of your campaigning materials will stop with immediate effect.

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Blame the council not developers

Keith Stanbury, chairman, Goodmayes Residents Association, writes:

May I respond to the comments published in newspaper regarding the Tesco's redevelopment proposals and the role that GRASS - Goodmayes Residents Association - has played.

Can I state from the outset that we, as a registered charity, do not seek to influence by coercion or by expressing public outrage. This, in our experience, has proved both unhelpful and detrimental to the aims and aspirations of local residents in the past. We prefer to enter into dialogue, ascertain the facts and, through reasoned discussions, try to influence the outcomes.

For more than a decade we have supported the community in Goodmayes.

We have been in dialogue with Weston Homes since their first public consultation in March - eight months ago. We have voiced our legitimate concerns to them and received positive responses

Many of the concerns that were voiced as 'outrage' in your article and by your correspondents in your 'Letters' page have been addressed by the developers and clarified during our discussions.

We, like others, still have areas that worry us - the provision of parking and its effect on street parking locally is one but don't blame the developers, rant and rave at your local council and, more influentially, at the Mayor of London for his bizarre planning policy of zero parking - but we have reason to believe from our previous discussions with Weston Homes that these can be addressed at the planning stage.

Plans confirmed and ready to go

Michael Green, Headley Drive, Ilford, writes:

I wonder if officer(s) of the council can advise why they are still calling the process to interfere with the Gants Hill library a consultation, when I have received a letter from my doctor's surgery and I quote:

"the move to Kenwood Gardens is temporary whilst the new permanent site for the practice in a Health and Wellbeing Centre at Gants Hill Library is developed".

This appears to indicate that the council has plans confirmed and ready to go.

To my knowledge the word consultation means to meet and discuss matters BEFORE making a policy, ergo may I again ask if council officer(s) can help with my enquiry, of which there are many locals who might benefit from such a clarification.

Save historic and cultural venues

Paul Scott, Arundel Gardens, Ilford,writes:

Redbridge Council should commit to actively saving more of our historic, social and cultural venues.

Developers like Tide Construction Limited need to look at alternative sites for student accommodation which should actually be for local college students any way. Groups such as Save The Valentine are rightly campaigning to prevent valuable heritage assets being lost to Gants Hill. Even the new London Plan has stated that pubs, clubs as well as music and film venues need more legal protection from demolition.

Also bearing in mind there is a covenant protecting The Valentine Pub from development or change of use either for many decades in to the future and that ought to be respected. More needs to be done in terms of addressing the environmental impact of these residential schemes.

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