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Gazette letters: King’s Cross redevelopment, Airbnb, police cuts and Islington Labour

PUBLISHED: 17:48 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 29 December 2017

An independent study has claimed King's Cross is now a 'vital piece of the London economy' following its regeneration. Picture: John Sturrock

An independent study has claimed King's Cross is now a 'vital piece of the London economy' following its regeneration. Picture: John Sturrock

John Sturrock

As a resident close to the development, writes James Grierson, Islington, full address supplied, I can say that the regeneration of King’s Cross has been a fantastic thing (“King’s Cross is now ‘vital piece’ of London economy after regeneration, concludes study paid for by developers”, Gazette, December 12).

It’s wonderful to see people work, relax and enjoy themselves in an area that has become beautiful, vibrant and full of buzz.

I recall what the area used to be like and shudder at the memory.

Argent have done a wonderful thing for London.

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Until the Grenfell Tower disaster, writes Mike Crowson, Islington Green Party, all the warnings from residents fell on deaf ears.

For example, Islington Council ignored a 2014 petition on fire safety deficiencies from the residents of Braithwaite House.

I had raised the question of some gas pipe installations undertaken by Southern Housing Group (SHG) several years ago but it wasn’t until the disaster that the SHG arranged a fire safety inspection – the first time I have personally been approached since 1995 (and the inspector agreed with me that some gas piping entering flats through a glass panel above the front door was a fire hazard)! Some of the work has already been done.

Two weeks ago, Islington Council’s housing committee considered fire safety progress and concentrated on defending their achievements, in just the same way that the whole council was slammed in a Gazette editorial the same week for amending (and watering down) a resolution on transport and public health proposed by Cllr Caroline Russell the week before, with the suggestion of unnecessary defensiveness on the part of the Labour administration.

The resolution was basically supportive of LBI but the Labour group seem unable to work with the opposition even when in general agreement with them. It is time to stop shouting and start listening.

This inability to listen goes right through UK society at the moment. The government is so obsessed with Brexit that it will not consider anything else, including the question of tower block sprinklers. We should remember that argument is about WHO is right, while a reasoned debate is about WHAT is right.

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Due to the government’s cuts to the police, Islington has lost 245 officers since 2010 and community policing on the ground has paid the price, writes Cllr Andy Hull, crime boss.

Islington Labour councillors have launched a petition urging the home secretary to reverse the government’s ongoing police cuts, which can be signed at islington-labour.org.uk/stop_tory_police_cuts. I also recently wrote to the home secretary, along with Jennette Arnold OBE AM, to call for an end to the government’s swingeing cuts to the police.

The council is working with the Met Police to tackle moped-enabled crime, which is a serious issue across London and is rightly being treated as a priority in Islington by the Met. We are also working to prevent young people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime, including by investing an extra £2million in targeted support for those most at risk of becoming involved in crime.

The government must rethink its damaging police funding cuts. Meanwhile, we will continue to work with our dedicated local police to make Islington safer for all.

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On December 7, 2017, I asked at the full council meeting about Islington Council banning Airbnb from estates, especially those with security gates for the safety of residents, writes Martin Rutherford, Popham Estate.

As the Islington Gazette perfectly pointed out in its write-up on December 14, Cllr Ward did not answer the question.

My annoyance at the reply from Cllr Ward was the fact that he didn’t know his facts, so perhaps I can educate him, and encourage him to look at the Islington Council website the same as I did.

He said that tenants are not allowed to sublet. But he conveniently forgot to mention that in the conditions of tenancy agreement 2013, paragraph 5.4, “you may not sublet unless you have the council’s permission which will not be unreasonably be withheld”, and carries on to say “when applying for permission to sublet or take in lodgers, you must tell the council”.

The fact is that you can take in lodgers with the council’s permission.

Berlin banned Airbnb totally last year. Cities and individual boroughs in Australia have done it this year.

Islington Council became the first borough in London to introduce a 20mph speed limit, so why can they not protect the people who live here and set the trend by banning Airbnb and similar companies?

Why not send a questionnaire to every single council estate with security gates, explaining what Airbnb is with a simple yes or no question to accept borough-wide?

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