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Recorder letters: Town centre, extremism, parking, St Peter’s Church and Princess Diana

PUBLISHED: 16:14 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 24 August 2017

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John Lewis in Westfield Stratford. A branch on the Bodgers site would attract shoppers to Ilford. Picture: ELLIE HOSKINS

Shops attract people to a town

Mrs J Robinson, long-term Ilford resident, full address supplied, writes:

People who have lived in Ilford for a long time, understand why others do not want to visit Ilford for shopping outings as they did.

There is increased begging and homeless sleeping around the shops with duvets/bedding over them. There is a smell of urine in arcades, recesses and shop doorways.

Closure of shops like Fairheads (well known for its household fabrics) and others in Cranbrook Road are attractions lost. The downsizing of Marks & Spencer, with the loss of the cafe (a popular meeting point with friends before shopping) has also had its effects.

Now the closure of Bodgers department store, with many attractive franchises after over 125 years with a good reputation, will be a sad loss to the town.

Ilford station is undergoing a makeover within Crossrail plans and the Bodgers site is the first view of Ilford. To attract more visitors it really needs a John Lewis store or similar to take over that location – not more flats in the area.

Improving the pavements in the High Road will not encourage visitors to the town, especially if it is covered with temporary stalls for much of the time. It is the shops that they will be looking for.

Stand together to defeat extremism

Mohamed Omer, Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations, Hainault, writes:

We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Barcelona and Cambrils. Our prayers are with the families who have lost their loved ones and also with those who are injured.

We pray that the injured are granted a full and speedy recovery .

Attacks of this nature do create insecurity and fears of reprisals and the possibility of hate crimes against the community and we urge people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.

We have to stand together and be united to defeat any forms of extremism, violence, hate crimes and terrorism

Questions over pay & display

Monega (Residents’) Association, Forest Gate, full address supplied, write:

May we, a residents’ association in Forest Gate, convey our sympathies to all those in Wanstead who will now get affected by “controlled parking” measures (Recorder, August 10).

The usual flannel is evident in exactly the same way as it happened here. Is it any surprise a majority of respondents thought pay & display would make it easier to park? Permits are also bound to make it easier to park – of course.

But how deep have people dug into the full implications? What guarantees are there about permit costs not rising? Will short time bays be throughout a street or only dumped on hapless residents living at the top and bottom? What about driveways – guaranteed parking for the more affluent and exempt from permit charges?

Road rage as drivers endlessly circle about the streets looking for a vacant bay. And as usual, the whole thing driven by councillors at the behest of a minority of residents, 820 responded out of 4,200. Of those how many were in favour... 500? That would be 7/8 who have not supported the measure.

In our own case we suggested the decision should be carried by a 50 per cent of total residents in favour, (or at least 40pc) but this did not suit political outcomes and it was imposed on the strength of just 12pc.

Well don’t think about shopping in Forest Gate instead, you won’t find anywhere to park.

We DO care about St Peter’s Church

Ron Jeffries, chairman, Aldborough Hatch Defence Association, writes:

Readers will recall that in June Redbridge Council’s planning committee approved an application to extract sand and gravel from Aldborough Hatch Farm.

The farm fields are immediately opposite the Dick Turpin Restaurant and adjoin the 155-year-old Grade II listed St Peter’s Church, built on mud without proper foundations as was the practice in Victorian times.

Over the years the congregation has raised considerable sums of money to improve the structure with metal ties in the roof and to keep the much-loved building and grounds in good order. Hundreds of visitors are welcomed throughout the year at events such as the Annual Flower Festival, now in its 37th year.

Readers will also recall that the Rev Kate Lovesey, Priest-in-Charge, having made detailed written objections, was refused permission to address the planning committee by the chairman.

The Rev Lovesey appealed to the Mayor of London, but the mayor upheld the decision.

Recently the Rev Lovesey received an email from the Mayor’s Office with a copy of the Stage 2 Report written by officers of the Greater London Authority on which it is claimed that the mayor based his decision.

Under the heading Heritage Impact, the following statement appears (it needs to be read word for word to appreciate the true horror of what is being written): “Whilst the council found that the development would result in less than substantial harm to the nearby Grade II Listed St Peter’s Church, such harm would be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.”

Put in plain English, harm is anticipated, less than substantial but harm nevertheless. This means that for the sake of a few tonnes of sand and gravel and money in the pockets of the developers and the council, if the church is damaged irrevocably, no one would care a damn!

But many of us do care. The application is at present with the secretary of state and we can only pray that he will see sense and give the application a hard kick into the long grass where it belongs.

Remembering the people’s princess

Chhinder Gill, of Chadwell Heath, writes:

It has been 20 years since the death of Princess Diana and her memory lives on in our hearts and will not ever be forgotten.

Her charming face and beautiful smile made her home in the hearts of the public and inspired lots of people around the globe.

She took the title of “people’s princess” due to her love for the general public.

She was a very kind, loving human being and very much loved amonst the public due to her great personality and charity work around the world.

We would all like to pay our respect and tribute to a great lady of the world.

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