Gazette letters: Labour on Brexit, crime meeting, car reduction and Highbury Corner

'Dismal' on Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA

'Dismal' on Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

I am a lifelong supporter and member of the Labour Party, and also as a member of the Islington in Europe group, writes Angela Neustatter, Cross Street, Islington.

I find myself among an increasing number despairing at the lack of opposition being put forward by Labour and our MP Emily Thornberry to Brexit. Day by day the expectation of what it will lead to for the least well-off in our society becomes clearer and very much so for those the Labour Party speaks of prioritising as needing social equality and justice.

If people are to understand that it is not an act of feebleness or not knowing their own minds to re-think a situation we could not possibly have foreseen at the time of the referendum, the Brexit voters who support Labour need some encouragement to do this from our leader and his team. Instead we have seen Jeremy Corbyn doing virtually nothing to raise questions, have a further discussion on Brexit or ensure the utmost support for staying in the customs union and single market. His words on this have been dismal.

Your coverage of the public meeting on Community Safety and Crime (“Scared to leave our own homes”) held at Tufnell Park in The House on the Rock on March 20 was welcome, writes Tricia Clarke, Islington, full address supplied.

As one of the organisers I was impressed that the panel – including local councillors Kaya Comer Schwartz, Janet Burgess, Satnam Gill; Cllr Andy Hull, executive member for public safety; the police; and Jeremy Corbyn – were present and accountable to the local residents.

Islington Council’s community safety team was also there to inform the audience of the work going on with young people on the fringe of criminal activity and those who wish to exit gangs.

The general opinion at the end of the meeting was that it was very positive and local residents had their voices heard. It was a good example of the community, their representatives and the police working together.

I strongly support the letter on “Liveable Neighbourhoods” in last week’s Gazette, writes Sarah Coventry, Islington, full address supplied.

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I have the good fortune to start my journey to work by walking to Highbury and Islington along quiet back streets virtually free of traffic. This is a great start to the day, for body, mind and soul, but it’s a shame that there aren’t more routes like this.

Side streets should be for people to walk down, not for commuters to speed along creating noise and air pollution. King Henry’s Walk could easily be made a largely pedestrian area. Canonbury Place next, please! Let’s maximise the best of the borough.

May I join Tim Sayer in calling on TfL and Islington Council to abandon the plans for so-called “improvement” of Highbury Corner? writes Alison Barlow, full address supplied.

Yes, it is an unfriendly junction, but the proposed works will not make it better in any significant way and for a lot of people, myself included, they will make it much worse.

Tim rightly points out the pretty pictures produced for the consultation were unrealistic. The TfL consultation response admits the new layout would add three minutes to journey times through the junction and it is not hard from this to appreciate that the real picture should have been of a continuous stream of slow moving traffic, with resulting fumes. Add a grey day like most we have seen this last week and you have something nobody could willingly accept.

I use Highbury Corner as a pedestrian, bus passenger, train passenger and cyclist. I agree it is an unfriendly place for cycling. This is true of roundabouts generally, especially where the cyclist needs to cross lanes to reach their desired exit. The most intimidating part of the Highbury roundabout is the section between Upper Street and Holloway Road since this has the greatest volume of traffic.

Since I know the surrounding area well, I can and do find routes to avoid it when Highbury Corner is not my actual destination. These routes could be signposted.

The worst part of the proposals is for bus passengers from the Balls Pond Road/St Paul’s Road direction (often heading to the tube station). The service is currently poor by London standards. 30 and 277 bus routes both run at 10 minute intervals and westbound seem to be timetabled to run together. Taking away the 277 makes a poor service worse, not to mention the total removal of a useful route from St Paul’s Road to South Hackney and Docklands. Those who examined the consultation maps closely will also have seen that the final bus stop on St Paul’s Road has been moved back about 50 yards further from the junction, thus lengthening the already long walk from the bus stop.

The simplest improvement would be to provide a pull-in place for northbound buses in the now cleared area outside the station so traffic coming off the roundabout would not be held up behind stationary buses at the bottom of Holloway Road. An entrance to the station on the east of Holloway Road would be an added bonus.