Gazette letters: Caledonian Park, big brand supermarkets, Christmas wish and Question Time

Caledonian Park clock tower protest after Islington Council granted planning permission for the cent

Caledonian Park clock tower protest after Islington Council granted planning permission for the centre last year. Picture: Mike Power - Credit: Archant

As a member of the Caledonian Park Friends Group, I’m absolutely delighted that Islington Council’s bid for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build a visitors’ centre in the park has been successful, writes Anna Carrdus, Caledonian Park Friends Group.

I realise the people who opposed the bid will be disappointed, and I respect their point of view. But I’m nevertheless extremely glad to know the visitors’ centre will help members of the community – including children – enjoy the educational and recreational opportunities offered by the park.

Completing the urgently needed repair and restoration of the landmark clock tower and listed railings will mean they too can be enjoyed not only by the present community, but also well into the future.

What kind of future does Islington Council want for our shops and communities? writes Ed Sykes, Plimsoll Road, Finsbury Park.

Yet another supermarket is planned for our borough, this time in Blackstock Road, and yet again it is the community that is having to fight against it.

The last 10 years have seen an unstoppable spread of big brand supermarkets across Islington and whatever they preach, the main economic benefit goes to the companies and their shareholders, not the local people. Independent local shops are the glue that holds the fabric of our streets and communities together. Families with businesses working hard for decades, who have a connection with the people who use them, are being pushed out – and we are all the worse off for it.

What is a particularly worrying trend is the push of these supermarkets (with their council approval/government approval) into areas that are not transport hubs or busy A roads. It is the smaller, more local areas that are being targeted now and these areas and their shops are very sensitive to local economic changes.

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This new threat in Islington needs to be challenged and defeated before supermarkets believe they can do whatever they please, wherever they please.

Many thanks for the opportunity to have an opinion in the local paper, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

The local paper is an instrument of challenge and change. Long may that continue. So never fret, just grab the Islington Gazette.

A poem from Islington to Santa:

Dear Santa

Christmas is coming; the rich are getting fat,

Yet the poor can’t afford the price of a Christmas hat.

As the rich carve,

The poor will starve,

Their shoes well worn,

Their spirits torn.

On the flip side,

It’s a cosy ride,

Aspen or New York?

Don’t trip on the champagne cork,

Austerity for them is hope,

But for the poor it’s the hangman’s rope,

This is not changed by red or blue,

It’s the same outcome with those two,

So Santa there is no mystery,

When I contrast history.

The rich always carve,

The poor always starve.

So, Santa, my New Year’s resolution,

With all the political pollution:

Keep nagging till they visualise a solution.

The Leader’s Question Time event at the Half Moon Crescent Community Centre last week was a great opportunity to meet residents face-to-face, writes Cllr Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, Islington Council.

I enjoyed answering their questions and taking on their concerns.

As you reported last week, one resident asked about a council letter she had recently received asking for permission for a private valuation of her home.

To clarify, the letter is not linked in any way with the government’s unwanted, unworkable “Pay to Stay” policy, which Islington Council has rejected in full, or any other aspect of the Housing and Planning Act, which we continue to actively oppose.

Each year, a small number of council tenants receive this letter, asking whether a quick valuation of their home can be made by a qualified valuer. Assessing the value of a small sample of council houses lets us then calculate the current value of our entire stock.

This is a legal requirement and all councils routinely do this for financial reporting purposes, where the value of housing is added to the value of all other assets the council owns.

It is important that this is kept up-to-date as part of sound financial management, so valuations take place once a year.