Recorder letters: Kenneth More Theatre, sex workers, Fairlop Plain and knife crime

Kenneth More Theatre's pantomime is always a huge hit. Picture: ELLIE HOSKINS

Kenneth More Theatre's pantomime is always a huge hit. Picture: ELLIE HOSKINS - Credit: Archant

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

Please save Kenneth More Theatre

Abi Garrett, full address supplied, wrote to council leader Jas Athwal:

I’m Abi and I am 13. I am writing to tell you that I think that it’s absolutely terrible that you aren’t able to keep the Kenneth More Theatre open.

My two younger cousins, my grandma, my sister, my mum, my dad, my auntie, my uncle and my grandparents all come along to the yearly pantomime and always have a lovely memory to take away.

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My grandpa is Ashley Kissin and was once picked by the dame to go up on stage and it was absolutely hilarious. Things to do like this is what kids like us need.

As you probably know there have been lots of stabbing recently, shutting down the Kenneth More Theatre impacts a lot which I don’t think anyone realises.

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People are joining gangs and committing crimes, maybe because there is nothing else to do, shutting down the theatre is limiting our options even more.

I think the reason why it’s empty a lot is because the area it is in. Even if you shut it down it’s not doing anyone any good so to benefit everyone I ask that you at least move them to another building in a different area. I’m pretty sure my family no matter what would be there for that pantomime, whether it’s near or not.

Please consider the public’s views and not just whether they are doing well or not. I will do whatever it takes; fundraising, advertising and even emailing every day to make sure you understand.

KMT is already a cultural hub

S C Ruckes, The Drive, Ilford, writes:

Why has the Kenneth More Theatre left the front page of the Ilford Recorder, which has always been such a wonderful supporter of the theatre?

What is a “leisure and cultural hub”? Recently a Lithuanian Opera Company sang Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Last Saturday Vienna Festival Ballet danced Giselle. You can’t get more cultural than that. Ballet is visual and can be understood in any language.

We are told that the “investment has not panned out”.

There was £100,000 profit on a pantomime. How many people attended? How many were turned away at the box office because performances were sold out (I know of some)? Cllr Atwal, did you see the pantomime, which I thought was the best for years?

No one has mentioned the closure of the town hall car park, which badly affected those with limited mobility.

Don’t punish the sex workers

Niki Adams, English Collective of Prostitutes, Crossroads Women’s Centre, Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town, writes:

We are distressed to see “Street Watch” patrols in Ilford Lane which claim to target kerb crawlers as this is likely to push sex workers into more isolated areas where they will be more vulnerable to violence.

We have also seen how quickly such actions can turn into vigilantism.

In 2000 in multiracial Balsall Heath (Birmingham), neighbours lived side by side until gentrification divided the community.

The council and the police encouraged and legitimised a “Street Watch” organisation to do a “clean-up” campaign.

Sex workers in our network were hounded out of the area with threats and beatings, including the firebombing of one woman’s house. The voices of local women who were not opposed to sex workers were silenced.

One commented that she had “never felt threatened by prostitutes in my street, the same is not true of ‘pickers’ [the patrols] who gather on street corners. Obscenities have been shouted in my direction; lewd suggestions addressed to me.”

The local authority ignored the rise in sexism and violence against women and claimed the patrols had “transformed a traditional red light area into a safe and attractive neighbourhood with ... increased property values.”

When nearly 50 per cent of children are living below the poverty line in some parts of the borough, shouldn’t the council’s efforts be focused on tackling the poverty that is forcing more women, particularly mothers, into prostitution to feed themselves and their families?

Green belt not the place for markets

Lesley Warner and Peter Robinson, Mortlake Road, Ilford, write:

We are very concerned about the proposal to site the three markets in Redbridge, which we believe will have a hugely detrimental impact on the environment.

The site proposed is in the green belt and should not be built on, in accordance with the Mayor of London’s statement that the green belt should remain sacrosanct.

The site is also in the middle of the only working farm left in Redbridge, which will have a negative impact on its viability.

Fairlop Plain is one of London’s largest Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SINC), and this development would cut the SINC in two and severely compromise the SINC, threatening its bird population and rare species like the London brown hare.

Transport to and from the site will be a huge problem.

There is already a lot of congestion in and around the A12, and this will increase enormously if the site goes ahead.

Redbridge already has a high level of air pollution and the site traffic will make this much worse. Although the site itself is planned to be carbon neutral, this will not be the case for traffic going to and from the site as these vehicles will be petrol and diesel-powered cars and vans.

We understand that Cllr Prince from the GLA has withdrawn his support from this project, and we urge Redbridge Council to do the same.

Knife crime related to police cuts

Ron Jeffries JP (retired), Aldborough Road North, Aldborough Hatch, writes:

A second stabbing in weeks (Man stabbed outside Ilford Station, Recorder website, April 5), this time in broad daylight.

A bystander reports: “There must have been about 20 police came down.”

One can only assume that - once more - not a single member of the police was there when it happened. And yet 20 can be drop by after the event.

When will the prime minister accept that funding cuts to the police are directly related to increased knife crime?

When will the police put their limited resources where they are needed - protecting the public in the centre of our town?

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