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Gazette letters: Irish border, Windsor Street housing project and Cally Park

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 March 2018

Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal. Picture: BRIAN LAWLESS/PA

Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal. Picture: BRIAN LAWLESS/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

As James Morris points out in his Gazette article , it will be a close thing between the Labour party and the Green party in at least one ward in May’s local elections, writes Ivor Kenna, chair, England branch, Celtic League, Compton Street, London.

Jeremy Corbyn is using his high national prestige to tilt the balance in favour of the Labour candidates.

There are a lot of voters of Irish origin in Islington.

Few people in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland want a hard border between the two states. Yet, thanks to the UK’s 2016 referendum vote to pull the UK as a whole out of the European Union, a hard border is just what the Irish people are going to get after Brexit.

I look forward to reading if the Labour party or Green party favours giving the voters of Northern Ireland the opportunity to indicate, via referendum, whether they wish, after Brexit, for either 1) Northern Ireland to remain in the European Union or 2) Northern Ireland to remain in the United Kingdom.

Gill Weston in her letter (“I don’t agree with parents”, February 8) opposes the development of a housing project for 11 people in Windsor Street, write Mark Austin, Virginia Bovell, Niroo Patel and Clare Palmer, full addresses supplied, Family Carer Representatives.

She also criticises us as parents of adults with learning disabilities for supporting it and she claims that Islington wants to build “a large scale institution” and should be providing “ordinary homes in ordinary streets” with six or less people living in any one unit.

She maintains her view is supported by the Care Quality Commission and Learning Disability England. We question this.

We contacted Learning Disability England about the comment quoted by Ms Weston (“an institution by the back door”). They replied: “We do not know who she spoke to from our organisation. Having been furnished more fully with the facts about this small, community based project, Learning Disability England wish to distance themselves from the opinion expressed.”

We also checked the most recent advice from the Care Quality Commission in June 2017 “Registering the Right Support”. They clearly state: “We will not adopt ‘six’ as a rigid rule for providers of any service for people with a learning disability and/or autism.”

We know Islington has achieved a lot over the past 10 years to improve housing opportunities for people with learning disabilities and reduce the heartbreak of people being sent to live out of London away from their families and networks. Islington does provide “ordinary” flats for people with learning disabilities, as part of a range of different supported living projects to suit people’s individual needs and requirements.

We believe Windsor Street, if it is given planning permission on March 1, will provide urgently needed accommodation. There will be seven self-contained individual flats, and a separate small unit for people with complex disabilities. We hope it will be welcomed by many in the local community.

Residents have been notified of a new planning application submitted by Islington Council to extend the opening hours of the cafe and visitor centre currently under construction in Caledonian Park, writes Lizzy McInnerny, Islington, full address supplied.

The building of the visitor centre at the north gate is only a few metres from many people’s homes. The location was repeatedly opposed by residents and park users for over two years. During the consultations it became clear residents were expected not only to police a building they did not want but also to endure the inevitable loss of privacy and suffer an increase in noise, traffic pollution, litter, ASB and vermin.

Despite the overwhelming opposition to this scheme planning consent was granted but with conditions to “ensure the use does not adversely impact on existing and future residential amenity,” and “ensure the proposed development does not have an adverse impact on neighbouring residential amenity”. The hours were limited to between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, 10am and 6pm Saturday, and 10am to 3pm on Sunday and Bank Holidays.

The foundations of these buildings have only just been laid, the scheme is still months from completion and there is already an application from LBI to change the operating hours, saying they are “too restrictive”. This application includes the provision to extend the hours during the summer months, closing at 9pm. The council states that this is to allow this residential site to be hired out for “private functions and parties”.

It is alarming to think after the months of planning and the public money spent that their original application could be so incompetent. If the planning was granted on the basis that restrictions were put in place to protect local residents’ well being, nothing has changed and surely those restrictions should stand.

These changes suggest the council treats those it is supposed to represent with contempt. It sets a precedent that in the eyes of the council the quality of life of local residents can always be overlooked to raise revenue.

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