Gazette letters: Spring, Housing Act, lifetime tenancies and drones

Essex Road is blooming. Picture: WILL McCALLUM

Essex Road is blooming. Picture: WILL McCALLUM - Credit: Archant

It’s blooming everywhere, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Forget the snowdrops, now the real colours have come out to play. The front gardens in Essex Road and lining Hackney Downs are all awash with shades of spring. Bright pockets of flowers poking up to overshadow the grey skies above.

It would be a tired old cliché of the past few years to exclaim how early it is all happening. Instead I prefer to think only of celebrating that the worst of the year might be over.

I even noticed some crab apple blossom up towards Stoke Newington, delicate petals

holding the promise of delicious fruit. Mainly it’s all purple and yellows around me, though, holding their own against the last of winter and defying the frost to try its luck. I hope the cold is now well behind us, as with the signs of spring now abounding throughout Islington and Hackney it is almost time to start planting the year’s first vegetables!

Mark Still (February 16) is rightly concerned by the Government’s Housing and Planning Act and “pay to stay” policy, writes Cllr Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, Islington Council.

I want to reassure Mark Labour-run Islington Council will never impose pay to stay on council tenants.We will also continue to fight the most damaging elements of the government’s housing plans and continue to build more genuinely affordable homes.

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The government cannot pretend to take security for families seriously if they are pressing ahead with plans to end lifetime tenancies for council properties and forcing councils to sell off council homes.

Earlier this month, the government issued its long-awaited housing white paper, which promised to fix our broken housing market. Instead, all we got was a damp squib.

Once again, the Tories have failed to take any meaningful action to help ease the housing crisis. There is no new money for council homes, yet we all know Islington desperately needs more genuinely affordable housing. That’s why the council is investing £40million this year to deliver the biggest house building programme for 30 years.

It is clear the government does not understand people in Islington need secure and affordable homes. For private renters, promises of more security and protection are welcome, but warm words alone do not lead to secure warm homes for families trapped in private renting.

Jeremy Corbyn has informed me that Tories are planning to ban lifetime council tenancies, removing the only safety we have as human beings, writes an Islington resident, full address supplied.

This would be a crime and tragedy considering the amount of families living in council flats, sometimes in very poor circumstances.

What else are they taking from us? We are carers, elderly, disabled and young people without aspirations for the last 10 years.

I read the story about the drones arriving [“Drones could police Islington”, February 2, p17], writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

Should we not have a debate and think before we fly? This will change society very quickly and the way it is policed forever – it could be a huge step towards privatisation.

Islington’s Drones Rising

In Islington, police drones are set

to rise,

As politicians close their eyes,

Not wishing to pick a bone,

What’s the power of the drone?

They can record all the hate and love

but are they the jackdaw or the dove?

Everyone I know and meet,

Recorded from above. It is so sweet.

Never leave my house alone,

As I am always watched by a drone.

It will never sleep,

Just silently creep


Life under the police eye from heaven

With facial recognition,

Should I worry if they carry ammunition?

As a terror attack,

Would mean we have to fight back.

Police numbers will fry,

So obvious as to why,

No more court debates or law,

Evidence complete as the drone saw,

Hence nothing to debate,

But the sentenced mate.

Will private police arrive with this?

As all crimes it will never miss?

Arrest you at home tomorrow,

Don’t pitch me with any sorrow.

Time and date,

The video is great.

You’re nicked, mate.

So should I feel charmed?

Or be downright alarmed?

As the sky could become farmed

With drones that are armed?

Crime-free world and love?

Or Orwellian nightmare?

A jackdaw dressed as a dove?

Does this issue deserve debate?

Will the drones be sad or great?

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