Gazette letters: Barnard Park, Spa Green Estate, lobby Corbyn and council criticism

Islington's Barnard Park plans have been halted. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Islington's Barnard Park plans have been halted. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK - Credit: Archant

It is disappointing that the secretary of state has chosen to call-in the plans developed over years with local residents for Barnard Park, which sought to strike a reasonable balance so that the park could be enjoyed by all, writes Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington’s health and social care leader.

Similarly, it is regrettable Cllr Caroline Russell chose to talk down Islington and misrepresent the reality of sporting provision in the borough.

From the first class 11-a-side football pitches at Market Road, to the vastly improved tennis courts in Highbury Fields, I am very proud of the investment we have made in sport and leisure for the benefit of all our residents. Across the borough, new 3G pitches and floodlights have enabled more hours of football to be played.

While there are always going to be differing views about particular projects, I hope we can all agree that we should choose our words carefully and recognise the tremendous sporting and leisure facilities Islington enjoys.

Your story about fire safety on the Spa Green Estate (“‘Estate is a fire trap’”) demonstrates the importance of a absolute need for a responsible political opposition to hold the current Labour dictatorship to account, writes Michael McEligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

The council should be fully focused on protecting people and not running from their responsibilities. They are also prone to moan about their lack of capital whilst wasting another £54,000 of taxpayers’ capital on a data security breach (“Taxpayer pays £56k for ‘incompetent’ council leak”, August 24).

The answer in terms of efficiency for the public could well be to reduce the size of the council by half as it is run by the hidden permanent council. This would help reduce costs which are clearly not met by performance from the current collective of elected representatives.

While it is widely accepted that David Cameron was the worst Prime Minister since the man who lost the American colonies, it now appears Theresa May is offering him competition, writes Miranda Perfitt, Collins Road, Higbury.

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The Conservative party will obviously hold out as long as possible, but things are clearly getting messy and another general election is more than likely.

The Conservatives are there because of the votes of just 37 per cent of the electorate. That means a lot of wasted votes and a majority in the country whose views are not represented. Unless the current first past the post electoral system is changed, it is all too likely another election will mean rule by another minority government.

If you want to see Britain as a genuine democracy, then help lobby for proportional representation (PR) by writing to Jeremy Corbyn at and asking him to adopt PR as his policy in the coming election.

Islington Council, please feel ashamed of yourselves for not considering all of the residents that pay your wages., writes Martin Rutherford, Popham Estate, Islington.

In another cost cutting exercise, I have received a notification from Islington Council, part of which is copied here, including the punctuations used.

“You must sign up for eBilling now! Islington Council is changing the way that people access our services. Every council tax payer needs to sign up for eBilling to manage their council tax bills now!

“With eBilling instead of a paper bill, we will send you an email when there is something to view online.”

Islington Council, do you not realise that there are elderly, disabled and able-bodied residents who can’t or don’t want to use a PC or tablet, or even able to afford them (unless you’re proposing to supply them to every household?).

We may well be in the 21st century, but this doesn’t mean that everything has to be online.

When we are asked for proof of ID, a council tax bill is normally a requirement, so those that have access to online services must use their own resources to print them – some companies will only accept originals, not home-printed copies.

For many years at local council meetings I have stressed that not everyone has internet access to get information, and would prefer printed information, together with phone numbers.

At a recent meeting where important housing matters were being discussed we were told full details were online.

The excuse time and time again by Islington Council is that people can get computer training – some do not want this or are not able to do it – or use the library facilities. That is, when they are open, of course, and with very few terminals.

At the end of the day, Islington Council, your notification is not a request, it is an order, and there is no way you can expect people to pay money to you and have no proof of anything paid unless you are online.

Please immediately reverse this decision, and before even contemplating telling people to use your website make it more user-friendly and easy to find things. Perhaps look at the Havering’s – this is for everyone and easy to navigate to find services


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