Islington Gazette letters Thursday, June 28
We must work together to give homes to those in need
I welcome the debate in your paper on the provision of affordable housing in Islington (Gazette, letters, June 21).
It is understandable that residents are concerned about the council’s housing plans and of course residents must be thoroughly consulted on them.
When the Labour council was elected in 2010, its major pledge was to build thousands of new affordable homes for Islington people. Jeremy Corbyn, our Labour MP, has constantly raised in Parliament the shortage of housing in Islington since being elected in 1983. Now the Labour council is actually addressing the pain and suffering of the 13,000 people on its housing waiting list.
There is clearly a real danger that people may fail to see there is a bigger picture here, and a greater good to be achieved in housing those who are not fortunate enough to already have secure and adequate council housing. Also, the council’s housing plans are a crucial component of its “fairness” agenda that was developed in consultation with Islington residents.
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What the letters to your paper do demonstrate, however, is the need for much more consultation with local residents on the council’s housing plans. This will mean looking holistically and thoroughly at associated amenities including community facilities, education provision and green spaces. And the future structure of how the council consults its tenants and leaseholders on their housing must also be subject to further consultation.
Finally, as the leader of the council Catherine West has already done, could I urge people to work constructively with the council on the details of the affordable housing that is so desperately needed by 13,000 people in our borough.
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Mayton Street, N7
Is overcrowding really ‘sensible’
When it comes to housing does the Islington Green Party know what it’s on about? In last week’s letter (Carry out audit to get big picture, Gazette, June 21) Andrew Myer said: “The council’s intention to build new homes on existing estates is both sensible and necessary...”
Most estates that I know of have very little green space – in a borough already deprived of parks, where most residents are piled on top of each other.
The proposals for Kings Square is for an extra 140 flats. That means something like six large blocks in an already-packed area. To make matters worse, less than half of those will house “overcrowded families” because the council has to pay to replace a school. So we may end up with something like 50 social housing against 90 private.
What is it exactly that makes it “sensible” to overcrowd our estates with private buyers while playing space, green space and communal amenities for residents are cut?
Richard Rosser Highbury New Park, N5
Time terminally ill were given choice
I will be joining hundreds of others in lobbying Parliament on July 4 with Dignity in Dying because I believe the law should change to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the choice of an assisted death if their suffering has become unbearable.
I feel very strongly about this because it is inappropriate in this day and age that Britons are still having to travel abroad to die or, worse, take matters into their own hands. Dying people are suffering against their wishes and we should be doing what we can to help them.
Philip Busfield Gibson Square, N1
Council must have think about policy
The BBC documentary “The History of Our Streets” about Caledonian Road last week revealed Islington Council was failing to enforce planning regulations on a greedy landlord whose philosophy is to “build first and ask for permission later”.
Your article “Controversial plans to build on residents’ parking spaces in Finsbury estate face hurdle” (Gazette, June 21) as well as many letters from residents, highlight one of the examples where the council itself behaves in a similar thoughtless, non-consultative, reckless way.
There is no arguing homes are desperately needed, but the council needs to think its policy through before causing irreversible damage to existing estates, schools, sports grounds and green spaces.
Ozoda Muminova, Islington Green Party
Talk to residents, not just experts
I refer to the article in the Gazette on May 31, entitled: “Designers wanted to advise on park’s future”.
It talked about the future of the Olympic Park and the need to enlist a design team to secure a successful future after the games.
Over the past year Islington Council has spent many thousands of pounds on improvement works to Hillside Park. In my view, it missed opportunities through insufficient consultation with residents and the police crime prevention officer. This caused delays and extra cost.
In the initial survey, many residents of Cressida Road, whose rear gardens back on to Hillside Park, were not consulted. A second survey had to be carried out and it was only then, after robust representations by residents, who over the years suffered from incursions in their rear gardens by hooligans, that Islington Council agreed to plant deterrent thorny shrubs along the boundary wall.
Whilst I welcome the improvements to Hillside Park, I feel if such works are to be successful and cost effective, there needs to be greater consultation with residents and more focus on a “design out crime” plan. In my view these were lacking in the Hillside Park improvement scheme.
Tom Forde Chairman, Hillrise Safer Neighbourhoods Police Panel
Were you one of borough’s mods?
I am helping to organise a reunion for all people who used to be in the mods from Highbury, Finsbury Park and Holloway in the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, or anyone from Islington, Stoke Newington, Manor House or Dalston who knew anyone from those times. It is being held at the Thornhill Pub in Caledonian Road on June 30 from 7.30pm until late. Anyone who remembers me from school or work is also welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Banham Parkside Crescent, N7
New proposal is doomed to failure
The Islington Leaseholder Association does not support the council’s new “resident consultation” proposals. The council is by-passing perfectly good existing elected bodies such as the ILA, Federation of Islington Tenants Association, Tenants and Residents Association, leaseholder associations and the Area Housing Panels.
Instead it is replacing these with a tenants’ champion, two vice-champions, a new housing executive, a residents’ improvement taskforce, local forums, topic groups, resident involvement registers, tenant inspectors and mystery shoppers.
These structures won’t work There are too many and they will not be representative.
The ILA also doesn’t believe a residents’ champion is a suitable way of spearheading proper consultation. Nor is a token five resident representation on the new housing executive, with the council vetting all candidates.
The council is inexplicably but deliberately choosing to sideline leaseholders. We feel the new proposals are doomed to failure.
Leaseholder, Haslam Close, N1
Director, Islington Leaseholders Association Ltd