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Recorder letters: New swimming pool, Ilford town centre, hospital, parking and homelessness

PUBLISHED: 09:34 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:34 13 February 2017

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Redbridge Council is planning to build a swimming pool in Wanstead

Let’s applaud swimming pool plan

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

The plans to build a swimming pool in Wanstead should be applauded and widely supported. It has been an ongoing disgrace that the nearest swimming facilities for those living in this part of the borough reside in neighbouring Newham.

Now, the Labour council has recognised that the facility needs to be provided for people living here.

What is not to like – a new pool will provide facilities that can only contribute to the health and wellbeing of all living in this area. The facility will also provide employment. Time to celebrate not denigrate.

Make Ilford the best Asian shopping are in London

Clive Power, Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, writes:

Walthamstow Market gets people to E17. Stratford has many things to make a trip there worthwhile. Ilford’s unique draw? I can’t think of anything.

We all know the town needs a boost, hence Redbridge Council’s “Ilford Manifesto” (Recorder, last week).

In this I expected proposals, with a fair level of detail. Instead there are many vacuous phrases (“Ilford for you, for me, for all”), a plethora of photos to fill space – but relatively few ideas and all of these light on specifics.

Attracting a university to the town, which the council leader mentioned at the launch, would be good but the actual commitment is a nebulous “we will create new educational spaces”.

There are good ideas, such as “many small and creative businesses are being priced out of central London. Enter Ilford” but without a plan.

How will specific types of businesses be attracted? Those being priced out of Hackney and Tower Hamlets must also be wanted – so how best to attract creatives?

Three ideas from me would be:

n Ilford beating cramped Green Street and far away Southall and Wembley to become the best Asian shopping area in London (would include killing that dead space roundabout cutting off Ilford Lane from the centre)

n Attract a particular industry (e.g clothing distribution, based on Barking freight railhead, river and A406)

n Get a big museum/art venue branch, like Thurrock with its Royal Opera House venue and Stratford’s forthcoming V&A branch.

The council needs to create that buzz about Ilford that your journalist Rosaleen reported they seek.

Less than a dozen retweeting their Ilford Manifesto launch announcements indicates they need to work harder to sprinkle some pixie dust over the Cinderella town centre otherwise the manifesto stated aim of Ilford becoming the “heart of a modern east London” might make them sound as though they are away with the fairies.

How will hospital cope with a uni?

Maureen Shapiro, Redbridge Lane East, writes:

Fellow members of Ilford community, am I completely going mad?

The front page of Thursday’s Ilford Recorder proudly announced that there are hopes for a town university.

All around the borough we see blocks of flats being erected, including a development at the late Harrison Gibson store, and yet plans are still in place to close down King George Hospital A&E. Bearing in mind all the publicity during the last few weeks about hospitals not being able to cope with the population as it stands at the moment, how on earth will our borough manage when this is implemented?

I look forward to comments from our esteemed minister of health.

Trust should not cut public meetings

Andy Walker, Blythswood Road, Ilford, writes:

Successful local democracies see those with power presenting reports in public and taking questions about their intentions.

The management board of King George and Queen’s hospitals (BHRUT) announced earlier this month that they would halve the number of times they will meet in public, so reducing public scrutiny of our hospitals and weakening democracy for Redbridge residents.

The plan to close King George A&E means the loss of 272 acute beds and associated medical staff by 2019.

This suggests BHRUT require more scrutiny not less to monitor whether this unprecedented cut can be carried out safely.

BHRUT need to think again and continue to let the public into all their meetings to hold them to account.

Have your say on parking proposals

Adrian Ryan, address supplied, writes:

Redbridge Council agreed a parking strategy to take us to 2020.

This strategy, when you read it, offers residents all that they would wish – empowerment to be at the heart of the decision making, fairness collaboration and transparency.

Beware, it also sets out the tactic of using experimental traffic orders. Experimental orders can ignore all of the empowerment, fairness, consultation, collaboration, and transparency.

Look at the mess that they have made of implementing a massive experimental order for Wanstead.

This tactic means that the council can roll out residents’ parking and pay and display anywhere in Redbridge.

They will tell you that you can have your say after it is implemented, not before.

Tell the council now that you do not want any changes in your area without consultation first.

Jas Athwal, the council leader, has stated publicly that he has more areas in his sights to impose parking charges on.

Have your say over future parking plans.

Tell Jas Athwal what you want before he tells you what you are getting.

Help the homeless don’t penalise them

Lee Burkwood, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, writes:

Last Saturday, I heard the following announcement at Gants Hill Underground station: “Begging contravenes by-laws. Please do not give these people money.”

This is a shocking statement from TfL, as they work with charities to help the homeless (that often sleep in stations) find shelter.

A friend has also made me aware of a sign at Bethnal Green station that states: “£200 penalty for begging.”

While technically rough sleeping and begging is illegal under the Vagrancy Act of 1824, TfL should not be encouraging the enforcement of this barbaric and outdated law which criminalises our fellow citizens for falling on hard times – as any one of us could do in this age of austerity.

As a regular commuter on the Underground, I occasionally give those sleeping rough a few pounds.

TfL should not be frowning on people like myself, but should focus instead on the work they are doing with charities and encourage commuters to help our fellow citizens by contacting charities such as Streetlink and Crisis.

I will be making a complaint to TfL and would urge others to do the same.


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