Recorder letters: The Valentine pub, denied speech, HMOs and World Cancer Day

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 January 2020

The Valentine pub in Gants Hill before it was demolished. 	Picture: KEN MEARS

The Valentine pub in Gants Hill before it was demolished. Picture: KEN MEARS


Feels like we’re living in dormitory

Barbara White, Gants Hill, full address supplied, writes:

What a sad start to 2020. I looked out of my bedroom window and through the rooftops I could see The Valentine being demolished. Another Ilford landmark gone. What will we be left with?

The Valentine was part of Gants Hill and belonged there. This idea of demolishing local properties leaves residents wondering where they belong and this doesn't help to build what is needed, a strong community. At the moment living in Ilford is like living in a dormitory. You put your coat on and go to work giving very little thought to your surroundings and the people who live there.

We need to try and rectify this situation before the gang culture becomes worse.

The arts are well known for helping in these situations and we had a ready made venue.

No disrespects to the new Cultural Centre but although it has a place in the grand scheme of things this isn't what is required.

Other areas have serious hubs but we have nothing.

Think of the Union Chapel and the work it does. Move on to The Jago given by Hackney Council as an asset for the community.

We have nothing other than demolition followed quite frequently by inferior work and goods.

Dare I mention the Gants Hill Library? A classic building, fit for purpose and loved by the residents. Why devalue such a building and doing Redbridge's latest trick which seems to be to devalue anything of worth.

Young people will grow up without a trace of their heritage which is not a good thing and doesn't help to build respect. So many things going on in such a small area and naturally people want to talk about them. It is their home and they are concerned.

The council in its wisdom has stifled debate by bringing in new rules and regs.

I thought that I lived in a democracy but I am now having to give serious thought to this.

I was denied the ability to speak

Peter Baker, Chadwell Heath, full address supplied, writes:

I am writing with regard to the council General Purposes Committee Meeting (January 7, 2020) concerning Constitutional Review and Public Participation.

The outcome from this meeting effectively limits debate on items brought before committees and prevents the same questions being asked or resubmitted by members of the public on the same subject for a period of six months.

I attended this meeting but was unaware that you have to register to speak as were others who attended. When council held ward forums the clerk of the meeting always asked, just before the meetings, if anyone wished to speak. The same opportunity was not made available at this meeting. Hence only one person was able to speak for a limited time of two minutes. The objection was discussed by councillors for about 10 minutes. At the end of that discussion the chairman moved to the next item without giving right of reply. Further to this I asked if I could speak, but was denied by the chairman as I had not registered, whereupon I left.

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The points I would like to make are these:

1) This is undemocratic as it does not allow for sufficient debate

2) This enables the council, should they wish, to bury that subject for six months

3) Only one member of the public was allowed to speak against the proposition

4) Those not aware of pre-booking a question, or even how you would do that, were denied the ability to speak.

Putting the brakes on rise of HMOs

Cllr Rosa Gomez, Churchfields ward, writes:

My ward constituents have been raising with me deep concerns about the rise of homes with multiple occupancy (HMOs) across South Woodford and throughout Redbridge. HMOs are properties where three or more unrelated people live in the same house (in bedsits for example).

I agree with my constituents that an increase in HMOs is putting significant pressure upon local services. Parking particularly is an issue, but our local doctors, dentists, schools and others could feel the pressure of a rise in residents through homes being redeveloped into HMOs.

In response to concerns like these I am pleased to say that Redbridge Council last year approved the introduction of planning permission changes for HMOs. Now all developers of HMOs have to apply to Redbridge Council for planning permission for their development, where previously only those that had more than six units (or bedsits) had to apply.

I am hopeful that this will put the brakes on a rise in HMOs in my ward and across the borough. The council now has greater power to stop HMOs and I will be pushing for these powers to be used effectively to make sure South Woodford retains its distinctive personality.

World Cancer Day fast approaching

Helen Lam, CLIC Sargent, fundraising and engagement manager, London and Middlesex, writes:

I want to let readers know that World Cancer Day 2020 is fast approaching on February 4, which is a great time to raise funds and vital awareness locally for children and young people with cancer.

Cancer doesn't care about your education, your plans, your future. It can turn up at any time. That's why CLIC Sargent is here to stop it destroying young lives.

With your support this World Cancer Day, CLIC Sargent, the UK's leading cancer charity for children and young people, can reach more families and help minimise the damage cancer causes to young people. We need volunteers to help collect donations in Stamford Hill and Stratford Morrisons from February 1 - 4, 2020.

Doing bucket collections is fun and rewarding - especially when you do it with friends. Show your support and sign up here: or call our supporter engagement team who will be happy to help on 0300 330 0803.

You can also make a difference by donating £2 and getting your very own special Band Against Cancer wristband. They come in three limited edition colours and are available from or your local Morrisons store and JD Wetherspoon pubs.

Making a small donation, wearing your wristband and telling others about it is such an easy way to start a conversation on the impact cancer has on young people and their families. I hope that everyone gets behind this and we see the bands all over town!

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