Recorder letters: Twitter blocking councillors, benefit assessments, Kenneth More Theatre and over building

PUBLISHED: 12:30 01 September 2019

Council leader Jas Athwal has blocked several residents from his Twitter account. Picture: KEN MEARS

Council leader Jas Athwal has blocked several residents from his Twitter account. Picture: KEN MEARS


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

Why have residents been blocked?

Les Kaye, Lime Grove, Hainault, writes:

So Redbridge council leader Jas Athwal and his deputy Kam Rai have gone on a social media blocking spree, which means that none of their constituents can make quick and easy contact with them through this platform.

I accept that because of his unpopular policies in areas like Manford Way Park, Gants Hill hub, Tesco towers etc they are going to attract criticism but surely elected representative are working for us the people, and unless these communications are offensive or abusive which they clearly are not, then they have no right to be acting in this manner to the residents of Redbridge

One wonders if the timing of their blocking spree is related to Cllr Athwal's aspiration to become an MP and the negativity would act against him, if this is the case he is acting in a cynical and unprofessional


I always believed that politicians were elected on a manifesto (which they have effectively binned) and to listen to their constituents (again which they fail to do).

The people of Redbridge deserve better than to be treated like a colony of North Korea and if this is the attitude of Messrs Athwal and Rai, I suggest they call a by election and let the voters have a confirmatory vote because in 2018 we clearly didn't know what we were voting for.

Is the leader of the council afraid?

Kartik Parekh, Barkingside ward resident, full address supplied, writes:

I am very disappointed to learn that the leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal has blocked a number of residents, including me, on Twitter.

I believe that all councillors regardless of whether their political party is in power are elected to ensure the people they represent are served as well as possible.

This is even more applicable to the leader of the council who should lead by example for all other councillors.

Cllr Athwal has historically said that he welcomes meaningful engagement and that was the reason for why he became a councillor, but by shutting out residents from across a number of wards in Redbridge on a social media platform designed to connect people is poor.

Rather coincidentally his communications block has come when he has put himself forward to become the Labour Party's candidate to be MP for Ilford South.

For a role that at its heart is about listening to the differing views of residents it doesnt bode well if one of the first acts is to block any residents that have been critical of his intentions on development across Redbridge - from building on green spaces to the community hub proposals.

I ask Cllr Athwal, why have you taken this step of blocking residents?

Are you afraid that any negative, sceptical or questioning comments on your Twitter feed will hinder your chance of selection?

Or are you now willing to engage with only those residents who support you?

The assessment system is unfair

Judith Freedman, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

I am wondering why when it comes to disabled people, there are one set of rules for one person and another for someone else in the same situation.

Being able to get access to a motability car depends on qualifying for a certain benefit namely (PIP) and whether the person is 65 or under and was in receipt of DLA prior to this.

Surely, these rules need to change.

If a person is disabled and needs a motability car in order to get out of their home safely what have qualifying benefits got to do with it.

I'd like to know who makes up these rules.

You may also want to watch:

It seems if a person is in receipt of one benefit, they can claim a host of benefits which are too many to mention.

But if joint state pensions are just £1 over the limit, no benefits.

Each case needs to be looked into individually, when it comes to making an assessment of one's needs.

I hope KMT keeps up the good work

Ken Gaunt, Greenslade Road, Barking, writes:

Well what can one say, the last performance by the present management at the Kenneth More Theatre A Night To Remember was certainly that.

The various sketches of shows throughout its 45 years was


It will be a sad loss to many of its regular patrons.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give a big round of applause to the whole company and wish you all the best in the future.

As the show was called it was certainly a night to remember and had the packed house all standing at the end cheering and clapping.

Let's just hope the new company Vision that is taking over the running of the theatre in a few weeks time will keep up the high standard that the KMT has had throughout its 45 years.

As far as I am aware the new company will be presenting a panto this year and hopefully some of the KMT volunteers will be remaining there to welcome you all, and hope you all continue to support the theatre.

Good luck Vision, let's hope you can keep up the high-class standard the theatre has.

Borough is being ruined by council

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

Re have your say on plans to build 94 homes in Clement's Road.

Of course, our say will make no difference.

It's all done and dusted - good old Labour Council.

Oh goody, goody, lots more people and all will be on benefits.

How lucky we are. Our council tax will zoom.

Obviously most council members don't live in Redbridge.

I'm sorry to be so bitter but to see Redbridge destroyed almost month-by-month is awful.

The water company in particular won't be able to maintain services, not with all the other flats surging up.

It's like a race now, every available square foot of land must be utilised, millions of flats, millions of people all scurrying around like rats.

A recipe for madness.

I suppose there will be no more doctors, dentists, schools, A&E departments - they will stay the same.

To save money, let all council people live like us ie retire at 65 (not 60) and not have an index-linked pension paid for by us.

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