Gazette letters: Cycle hangars, protect GPs, ancestor search, TfL and alert youngsters

Cllr Claudia Webbe at a bikehangar in Crayford Road, Holloway. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL

Cllr Claudia Webbe at a bikehangar in Crayford Road, Holloway. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Council officers recently announced a minimum 100 bike hangars a year will be installed for the next four years: the first 50 between now and autumn, the next cohort between autumn and March 2019, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Holloway.

So far, so good. Alas, things ain’t what they seem to be.

According to the guide to residential bike hangars: “Resident consultations will need to take place before any bike hangar installations.” Fair enough, you might say, but is it? No such consultation is required when a neighbouring household applies for a car-parking permit. Why not?

This built-in pro-car, anti-cycling prejudice is contrary to all we know about public health, from toxic emissions to obesity and other chronic conditions. Islington has one of the lowest rates of car-ownership in London, with just 26 per cent of households owning/having access to a vehicle. Why don’t our residential streets reflect this, and why is the council executive pandering to the few, not the many, turning the Labour Party’s popular/populist mantra on its head?

I’ve been registered as a patient at the Roman Way Medical Centre since the late ’70s, starting there under an elderly Scottish GP called Dr McGeachy, I think, writes Andrew Myer, Islington Green Party.

At the time he seemed like a character straight out of Dr Finlay’s Casebook – a TV/radio show which some older readers may remember. It was therefore something of a shock, after the best part of 40 years, to hear a few weeks ago that the practice is to close this autumn.

Your article (“4,700 patients in limbo with doctors set to close – and no replacement guaranteed”) and the councillors quoted in it focused rightly on the need not just to protect NHS services and make sure local people are properly catered for, but also to plan for a growing population – e.g. from planned new housing on the Holloway Prison site.

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However, there is also a wider need to protect community assets in the face of increasing property prices and growing population.

The letter I received from the Islington NHS Clinical Commissioning Group suggested the reason for closure is that the current building is owned privately and will simply no longer be available after the partners retire in August.

If a pub had served as many people for as long a time as the surgery has, there would already be a campaign to keep it open. Roman Way Medical Centre has been a vital part of the community for many years.

I would urge the concerned councillors to get the building registered as an asset of community value under the Localism Act 2011, as has been done with numerous privately-owned pubs, sports and leisure centres, parks etc across the country, to ensure that a property of such importance to local residents stays in community use.

Can you help find my ancestors? writes Christine Chisnell, 14a Grove Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1NP.

Are any of your readers descendants of Ann Matthews, who once lived in the Clerkenwell area?

My mother’s maiden name was Grace Giacomelli. My great, great, great grandfather married Ann Matthews in St Ann’s, Soho, in 1817. He paid land tax on a business in Little Bath Street, Clerkenwell, in the parish of St James and St John in 1821 and 1823.

Indiscriminate ‘weeding’ of records, unfortunately, saw all the Aliens Registers before 1826 destroyed. I am a keen genealogist and have been trying for years to find out where my family originate from in Italy. Are you able to help?

Genuine replies only please.

For the second time, the new tactile paving (textured ground surface to help pedestrians who are visually impaired) outside Highbury and Islington station is being replaced, writes Tim Sayer MBE, Battledean Road, Highbury.

The first was when the slabs were found to be the wrong colour (grey instead of pink), now it seems that the area covered by the paving is too wide.

This is the latest example of Transport for London’s three-and-a-half year mismanagement of the project, presumably at the expense of the public.

Isn’t it time that a thorough inquiry was held into the way TfL manages its contracts?

It was through the Islington Gazette’s mighty reporting that Islington’s care home scandal was exposed [It was actually the Evening Standard in 1992 – Ed], writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Finsbury.

It was a horrendous episode in Islington’s history. It was admirable that the leader of the council, Richard Watts, took ownership of the issues, as it had nothing to do with his leadership or council.

However, now we read about a stall in proceedings and considering these people/victims have suffered sufficiently, surely it is time to have an end game so the matter can rest.

It’d be great to see Cllr Watts aligned to a policy nationally of teaching young people in schools the dangers and methods of groomers and abusers so others can be alert. This way, as a society, we can claim to be evolving.

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