Gazette letters: Residents’ opinions, Pentonville site, road crossings and EU vote

Council homes being built in Dover Court, Canonbury Picture: Steve Bainbridge

Council homes being built in Dover Court, Canonbury Picture: Steve Bainbridge - Credit: Archant

When I came to Islington in 1969 I could afford to live here even on a junior, very average GLC salary, writes Miranda Perfitt, Islington Green Party.

While a lot has changed since then, London still needs housing for its young people and key workers, from dustmen to deputy headteachers.

The thousands of new homes we need, however, will inevitably affect all of us and the council will have to work hard to protect the amenities, sunlight, open spaces and vegetation we also need for our health and wellbeing. Moreover, the 35 to 50 per cent genuinely affordable homes the council wants from new developments are not materialising in Islington. Private developers seem too often to get away with significantly less, and many new homes are being snapped up by foreign investors and buy-to-let landlords.

Building more densely on existing Islington estates may be able to provide some of these homes, but is a sensitive topic for existing residents. New building in Finsbury and Canonbury seems to be going well but in other parts of the borough there are threats to demolish homes and cut down established and rare trees.

Green Party policy would give local communities a stronger voice in housing policy, move towards a balanced mix of tenures, ban purchases of new developments from abroad and introduce council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties. Estate residents should not only have a greater say in what happens but should receive compensatory benefits as part of the development.

The foundations of dissatisfaction are being built on the Pentonville Prison site, writes: Michael McElligott, Amwell Streeet, Islington.

Folks are rightfully protesting for the site to be harnessed for social housing – there is nothing healthier for people than to have a key to a guaranteed front door.

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There are many in dire need and no shortage of competion for the worst place in the world to reside: your address is insecurity land.

Hence this is a spectacular opportunity for the new Mayor of London to start sticking to his pledges of more council houses.

His office is massively powerful in these matters – look how Boris harnessed his power at the “Mount un-Pleasant” Royal Mail site.

Will Mayor Khan help the less fortunate?

I write regarding the lady whose wheelchair was dragged by a bus at a crossing (Gazette, April 28) writes Dave Holladay.

The crossing is the minimum permitted distance of two zig zag markings (each measuring two metres) plus a minimum of 1.1m between the “give way” line and the crossing (looks very close in picture).

There is also a short distance, 1m at most, between the zig zags and the edge of Hornsey Road.

Chapter 5 of the road markings manual (15.20) notes there should be sufficient distance from the crossing to the junction. This is impossible for buses on this bus route in both directions. Turning right, a bus driver will need to stop with nearly 4m of bus stuck out in the path of any traffic going north in Hornsey Road; turning left, the driver will need to wait with nearly 4m of bus blocking the crossing (clearly visible from photo as rear of bus is at junction and front is blocking crossing). How close to the crossing are the bus stops? Eight zig zags is desirable – two creates serious hazards and starting from bus stops very close to crossings has been a feature in a number of serious and fatal bus pedestrian collisions (Romford, Shepherds Bush).

We need an independent collision investigation body – not TfL and certainly not the bus operator and (especially as police vehicles can often be involved in collisions) not the police.

The model is in the Rail, Air and Marine Accident Investigation Branches – we need a Highways AIB and, as a devolved administration, the GLA and London’s Mayor can deliver this for London. With objective and non-judgemental reports freely available we can compare and learn from every crash, and hold TfL and the boroughs to account for poor road design, and operators to account for failings in operational matters.

It would be very useful to have some more detail here, direction of crossing with wheelchair, presence and types of vehicles at junction turning left/right in to Hornsey Road, vehicles heading north in Hornsey Road (across which the driver made the right turn), and whether there were people standing on the front platform (potentially blocking the driver’s view).

I am sad that friends I like and respect are beguiled by the distortions, half-truths and insults spread by “Leave” campaigners, writes Maggie Dunn, Islington.

Europe benefits from UK membership. UK has championed the accession of nations that are now democracies but were formerly dictatorships. From the time of Winston Churchill and with his encouragement, nations that were enemies in war changed Europe “from a Continent of War to a Continent of Peace”.

Current European governments inside and outside the EU want the UK to remain. But if the UK leaves, nationalists that have no love for the UK on the extreme right of politics in other European nations will agitate to break up that union of democracies. The danger of increasing divisions, tensions and conflicts between nations terrifies those of us who remember the horrors of the first half of the 20th century.

Brexiters deliberately misrepresent the governing structure of the EU. It is not “unelected bureaucrats in Brussels” that decide policy and laws. It is the Council of Ministers, of which the UK is a very influential member. Why are civil servants called “unelected bureaucrats” as soon as we cross the Channel? Why assume EU laws are “bad” laws when nearly all were encouraged and supported by UK governments past and present?

The EU without the UK would be poorer and less open. The UK without the EU would be poorer and less tolerant. Let us remain.