Gazette letters: Dangerous crossing, generous borough, Cally Park visitor centre and Whittington Hospital

Supporters of the petition at the crossroads on the Holloway Road. Picture: ANDREW SPENCER

Supporters of the petition at the crossroads on the Holloway Road. Picture: ANDREW SPENCER - Credit: Archant

The lack of a safe crossing at Palmer Place and many other accessways to Holloway Road is putting ordinary people in danger Gazette, writes Pierre Delarue, Islington Liberal Democrats.

The Labour Council must address this problem. Will it have to take another tragic accident or fatality for them to listen up? Pedestrian traffic on Holloway Road is increasing year on year, as people leave their cars behind, especially during Arsenal match days.

Following the fatal accident of Lisa Pontecorvo at the junction of Holloway Road and Fieldway Crescent in September 2008, the council rejected a green man crossing proposed by TfL at the Palmer Place/Drayton Park crossing. Similarly, a petition to improve this crossing in 2015 bore no result.

The council must now act to make this stretch of the Holloway Road safer for all and I invite residents to sign Andrew Spencer’s petition:

When I volunteered to cook some Tuesdays at the Unity Project’s migrant help centre, I wondered how I would scratch together ingredients to make a passable meal, I had reckoned without the enormous goodwill and generosity of local traders, writes Angela Neustatter, full address supplied.

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First morning I was sent off to Budgens in Upper Street where one of the super charming young men working there took me to choose what I wanted from a cornucopia of food taken off the shelves the night before. We were assisted in choosing the best ingredients – including top quality meat and fish, salads, fresh vegetables and fruit and loads else, and it is the same week after week.

As I embarked on chopping and frying the huge meal I planned, and which would be shared with the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, a load of sourdough, rich brown and gluten free bread arrived from Planet Organic, while in the fridge were several boxes of Ottolenghi’s delicious salads. Again, a weekly delivery.

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In the face of today’s overload of mean-spirited behaviour in the news, this restored my faith in how decent and willing Islington people – and no doubt others elsewhere – can be.

Your very disturbing story (“Islington Council turns cash crisis into political gaffe by blocking Green councillor from emergency meeting”) has led me to suggest a way that Islington Council can easily save £90,000 per year: by immediately stopping the construction of the Caledonian Park Clock Tower Visitor Centre. The work has hardly started, writes Mike Power, Clock View Crescent, Islington.

Sadly we cannot recoup the £350,000 that has been poured down the drain before the job even started on fees for project management, architects, public consultations, administration, etc. But we do not have to continue throwing good money after bad. As things stand the council is planning to contribute £650,000 towards the project, and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will add £1.8million. This sum includes doing essential repairs to the clock tower.

But the real problem is that the council is planning to waste £90,000 a year to keep the unwanted, unpopular visitor centre going after its completion next year. They have also agreed with the HLF to keep funding the visitor centre going for 20 years after it’s completed – if not, the HLF will demand its money back. Over 20 years, that’s getting on for £2m.

Our council should use the money they have already allocated to do essential repairs to the clock tower and make it safe, and abandon their plans to fund the visitor centre. How can our councillors justify spending such large annual sums on this grotesque vanity project?

Hopefully some councillors will now rise from their supine positions, and demand an end to this continuing crazy waste of public money.

I am concerned with the recent publicity regarding the sale of land at Whittington Hospital, writes Mike Crowson, Islington Green Party.

I understand protesters have been told it is impossible to withdraw from the the deal without risking the future of the hospital. Steve Hitchins has been quoted as saying: “If we reverse this decision, I predict this hospital will close.”

I don’t know whether Mr Hitchins was just scaremongering or is genuinely concerned about a real possibility, but a properly funded NHS would not be dependant on, or even involved in, this kind of deal.

Not only did Labour initiate the concept of a public-private partnership, but repeated Tory governments have frequently “sold the family silver to pay the rent” over a number of years – usually leading to less efficiency and community loss. It is now forcing local authorities and state institutions to do the same with the same results.

Is Whittington Health really dependant on a “confidential” deal with the company tainted with the negligence revealed by the Grenfell Tower fire? How will the community benefit from such a deal and how will the trust make sure the company doesn’t cut corners?

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