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Gazette letters: Housing, crime and cyclists

PUBLISHED: 08:30 22 March 2020

The former Pentonville Prison. Picture: PA IMAGES

The former Pentonville Prison. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Wire/PA Images

If the council’s “Fairer Islington” and “Climate Emergency” declarations are to be worth the paper they’re written on, town hall bosses and their Dixon Clark Court partner need to produce fresh plans which integrate the proposed 14 private homes with the social-housing units (‘Tree-gate’: Protest over planned felling of trees in Highbury to build private and council homes), writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

Socially segregated dwellings have no place in the 21st century, and Islington Council must do better than its current scheme for Highbury Corner. A developer looking to flog its private apartments under a separate “signature address” (planning application document) should be told to revise its plans in accordance with a socially inclusive agenda. In this way, the threatened mature trees can be saved for existing and new residents – softening the surrounding polluted noisy environment and keeping the busy daily walk-to-school seasonally pleasant for children attending Canonbury Primary, their carers and other pedestrians. Good mental health requires nothing less.

No-one disputes Cllr Diarmaid Ward’s assertion of “desperately needed new council homes” in the borough. What protestors are challenging is the unnecessary loss of Islington’s limited green space.

A year ago, the council helped broker a £42m deal with the London Mayor’s Land Fund for a new residential development on the former Holloway Prison site. Compare and contrast this with the Pentonville Prison site where more than 100 ex-staff flats have been empty for at least 25 years – yes, years.

Blaming the present Tory-led Ministry of Justice for this scandal is political mischief – for 13 of those years, from 1997-2010, two national Labour governments were in charge of the prison estate, with no less than a former Islington Labour councillor, Jack Straw, home secretary for part of that time, and at least one 1977 councillor still sitting. Cllr Watts needs to stop attacking the Green Party and our only opposition councillor, Caroline Russell, as being opposed to council homes. Residents are increasingly clued-up.

Despite a surge in crime across our capital, Sadiq Khan has decided to close over half of our police stations across London, writes Shaun Bailey, conservative Candidate for London Mayor.

Station will be expected to serve a population of 240,000.

With crime spiralling in London, police visibility has never been more important to local communities. We need to crack down on crime. Not make it harder for residents to report it. Worse still, Sadiq Khan intends to dispose of many of these police buildings permanently, meaning frontline police officers being based further away, and longer response times. Here in Islington, the Holloway Police Station building is intended to be disposed of.

I’ve been fighting crime my whole life. I was a youth worker for over 20 years, and for the last four years it’s been my job to hold the mayor to account in City Hall. So I know what it takes to tackle crime. And I have a plan to make Islington safe.

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I know how important a visible police presence is to local communities. And that’s why I’ll re-open Holloway Police Station. So you can report crime in person, and police response time will be quicker.

My plan to put a record number of police on our streets, means boroughs like Islington will have an additional 265 fully funded officers.

More police on our streets. More police on 24/7 patrol. Based in more local police stations, in our community where we need them. With more investment in youth services. That’s my plan to tackle crime in London. I want Londoners to feel safe again.

Having read the Gazette, I could not help but notice the letter from Jack Turner, re the practice of cyclists insisting on riding on the pavement rather than the road, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

I myself, do not have a problem with little children riding on the pavement under supervision but I do draw the line when adults who should know better, insist on riding on the pavement, often at full tilt.

According to the Highway Code, cyclists are not allowed to ride on the pavement unless it is clearly marked for shared use.

As a person who has both driven motor vehicles on the road and possesses a clean driving licence for getting on 50-years now and having cycled, I can understand the danger that some cyclists feel if they cycle on the road. Also, having been a victim of a cycle accident myself, two years after the King’s Cross fire, I can understand where some cyclists are coming from. But being a cyclist does not mean that you are exempt from following the Highway Code.

The Highway Code applies to all road users, whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motor bike rider or motorist. Yes, cyclists should use cycle lanes when provided, but like all other road users, they should obey the rules of the road, it’s no good deciding to ignore traffic lights when they are red.

All too often we read in the papers that cyclists have been killed or badly injured in collisions with other vehicles on the road. Sometimes it is the cyclists’ fault. So please cyclists, remember the pavement, unless marked for shared use, is for pedestrians.

If you must, it is perfectly legal for you to dismount and wheel your cycle on the pavement but not ride it. Any death or injury on the road is one too many.

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