Gazette letters: Crouch Hill station, Highbury Corner, housing and walking

Crouch Hill cue cards: narcisisistic? Picture: ISLINGTON LABOUR

Crouch Hill cue cards: narcisisistic? Picture: ISLINGTON LABOUR - Credit: Archant

Your story regarding the campaign for step-free access to Crouch Hill station should certainly be supported, writes Ian Fearnley, of Islington, full address supplied.

However, I find it find it somewhat incongruous that the photo accompanying it has three Labour councillors (including the leader) using cue cards (a la Dylan) to make the point.

Normally, this kind of campaigning is the only way that small factions (e.g. the Greens) or residents can make their views known. Surely, with a Labour council, Labour MPs north and south, London Assembly member and a London Labour mayor, there is enough firepower to get TfL to seriously consider introducing step free access at Crouch Hill station.

However, the suspicion must be that, as with the photo opportunity offered by the possible closure of Roman Way Medical Centre, the Labour councillors are more interested in a grandstanding opportunity to promote themselves.

Islington residents want to see a focus on results rather than narcissistic councillors.

I read with interest the letter from Tim Sayer OBE (“TfL’s contracts need looking at”), writes Mr J E Kirby, of Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

I couldn’t agree more with him. The ongoing laying and tearing up and relaying of the pavement outside Highbury and Islington station is a farce, to put it mildly.

For instance, last Friday I was passing through Highbury Corner on my way to the station. I could not help but notice that there is a straight route of almost full pavement width from outside the Marie Curie charity shop across Highbury Place into Holloway Road.

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Outside the building society, for instance, they have even managed to drop the kerb including the correct coloured slabs, which I assume is where they are going to put the foot crossing – back to where it was before it was moved further down Holloway Road for the bridge works to take place.

Why, then, do they need to keep on tearing up and relaying the paving slabs outside the station entrance? Surely when they put the new kerb line in, they could have put the dropped kerb and slabs in then? But no, that would have been too simple a job to do. Better to keep on tearing up the pavement and relaying it.

I used to work as a technician in my local secondary school until I took early retirement at the age of 60 some 11 years ago. I don’t doubt that if I had tried to carry out my work in the same manner as has happened at Highbury Corner, I would have soon been out of a job.

Perhaps TfL’s way of managing contracts like this is not fit for purpose, but as Tim says, it’s only public money that’s being spent.

A disabled friend, who lives in the St Mary’s Path Estate, showed me a letter from Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) some weeks ago. I let my concerns lie at the time, writes Mike Crowson, of the Islington Green Party.

However, two current stories in the Gazette prompt me to raise my worries.

The letter said they had decided against complete demolition of the estate and would instead try to find finance for a renewal programme and the creation of additional homes. The letter highlighted four issues raised by “customers”. These were broadly the same as those reservations raised nine months ago by the residents’ association.

All ISHA has to say about these reservations is that: “We will be looking to answer these questions once on the more detailed work on the options and programme is complete.”

Now, ISHA’s published policy on rehousing – ISHA will decide what is suitable for you, you’ll get just the one “choice” and if the rent is higher, tough – does not fill one with confidence. But the situation would not be entirely gloomy were it not for something that is emerging from the Grenfell Tower fire enquiry.

Grenfell resident and survivor Edward Daffarn suggested in a blog eight months before the fire that it would take a serious disaster to hold accountable the Tenant Management Organisation, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and those who undertook the conversion from ugly but safe to a beautiful, upmarket death trap.

Mr Daffarn is right: important elements of society have indeed come to treat housing as a commodity. Look at Newlon Housing Trust’s “astonishing neglect” of their Barnsbury Estate and ISHA’s use of the word “customers” to describe tenants to whom they have both a moral and a legal duty of care.

Summer is the perfect time of year to spend a bit more time outside and to be more active, but the busy nature of modern life means that it is often difficult to fit physical activity into our days, writes Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s health leader.

The good news is, brisk walking counts as intense physical activity. Just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference to your health, both in the short and long term.

To help your walking, Public Health England is encouraging people to download the free “Active 10” app. This helps you complete your 10 minutes of brisk walking daily and is the first app of its kind to show how much brisk walking you’re doing.

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