Gazette letters: Redbrick Estate funding, Roman Way homes, environment and trains

Mayor of London funding will help deliver Redbrick Estate homes. Picture: PA

Mayor of London funding will help deliver Redbrick Estate homes. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

As local ward councillors and community champions for Bunhill, we are determined to see more new genuinely affordable homes built for local people, write Cllr Claudia Webbe, cllr Troy Gallagher and Cllr Phil Graham, Islington Labour councillors for Bunhill.

This includes building more new council homes, with people in housing need who live nearby given priority for moving into these new homes.

We have worked hard over recent years to secure new council homes at the Redbrick Estate.

In fantastic news, we are delighted that Islington Council will now be building 55 new council homes on the estate, an increase from the 39 that were originally planned.

This means that 100 per cent of the new homes that are being built on the estate will be council homes. We’ve been able to make this wonderful project even better thanks to Islington Council’s commitment to building new council homes, and thanks to funding from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

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Islington Council is delivering the largest new council house building programme in the borough for over 30 years, and will build at least 550 more new council homes by 2022.

We are over the moon that more of those homes will be made available to local people in Bunhill.

In his letter announcing Islington’s support for the Homeless Friendly project – launched in the north-west of England by Dr Zahid Chauhan, an Oldham GP and local councillor responsible for health and social care – Islington housing boss Diarmaid Ward talks about providing homeless people with a “secure home” and “a roof over their heads”, writes Meg Howarth, Islington, full address supplied.

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An adjacent letter highlights the ongoing campaign to save the former Holloway Prison site for social housing (Prison sell-off).

What neither correspondent mentions is the scandal of the Pentonville former prison-officers accommodation in Roman Way where about 100 flats have been empty for over 25 years, some of them apparently with four bedrooms. Cllr Ward previously told your paper that “as a borough, we need to lobby the MOJ over this. It’s a real crying shame, and we need the people of Islington to join us in making their voices heard” (Gazette, May 17, 2017).

It’s not difficult to attack the Tory government on anything, not only homelessness as cllr Ward does, but for more than half the quarter-century the empty former Pentonville Prison homes have been decaying a Labour government was in power in Westminster, with the local council under Labour Party control for all but six years. Sadiq Khan’s deputy-mayor for housing, James Murray, preceded Islington’s current housing boss but it’s unclear what steps, if any, he took to try to remedy the situation.

I hope this missive will help jump-start the outrage of local residents at this deplorable state of affairs as the housing exec requests. Meantime, what does “Islington Labour”, cited by cllr Ward for its bold manifesto homelessness proposals, intend to do about Roman Way? The empty site has always been on its watch.

These days we see more vegan options, whether products in supermarkets, restaurants on our streets or recipes on TV cooking shows, and some Islington folk are doubtless giving Veganuary a go, even if I admit I’m not one of them, writes Andrew Myer, Islington Green Party.

But as well as veganism’s moral argument, there is an environmental reason for eating less meat as red meat may be responsible for about four or five times more carbon dioxide emissions than a similar weight of chicken, or 15 to 20 more than beans or tofu.

My New Year’s resolution this year, therefore, is to eat less meat in 2019, so I was glad to see it is in touch with a new international report published last week, proposing a “planetary health diet”, on how to feed the world’s growing population without destroying our environment. The report isn’t saying that we shouldn’t eat meat at all – though clearly vegans would prefer us not to – but that we need to see it as a luxury, to be eaten occasionally, rather than something we’re eating every day. One of the report authors made a comparison with lobster, which he really likes but doesn’t expect to eat very often!

A lot of the action we need to avoid catastrophic climate change calls for action by government, whether national, London-wide or local, but some things we can do ourselves, easily and immediately. We can all turn down our thermostats and wear jumpers in winter. We can all drive less – if we do at all. And the carnivores among us can all start eating less meat.

At Upper Holloway station on Friday, January 25, 2019, writes Anita Frizzarin, Upper Holloway, full address supplied

... the 12.54 and the 13.09 trains to Barking (from Gospel Oak) were cancelled, and the 13.24 was expected “on time” at 13.35!

What a disaster. People on their way to work were going spare.

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