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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Islington boundaries, pay to stay, lost letters and a guided walk

PUBLISHED: 11:54 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:10 06 October 2016

There will be a break in Clerkenwell Green  where a campaign to get a statue of Sylvia Pankhurst built was launched this year. Picture: Ken Mears

There will be a break in Clerkenwell Green  where a campaign to get a statue of Sylvia Pankhurst built was launched this year. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

We would like to invite readers to a walk from the Angel to Somerset House on Saturday at 11am, write Islington Living Streets.

The walk should last just over an hour with a break in Clerkenwell Green. It aims to show what enjoyable walking routes there are in London, and where improvements need to be made.

We will be considering what makes streets good or bad for walking.

Walkers with local knowledge will describe the history of the area and buildings we pass through. We’d also like to encourage people to join Islington Living Streets and campaign for improvements to encourage walking and make it easier.

Meet up at 11am outside Jamie’s Italian, St John Street (south of the Angel).

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If you don’t receive an important letter from Islington Council regarding new changes to rents based on the amount you earn, and didn’t know the letter existed, what do you do? Phone up and ask for one, writes Martin Rutherford, Popham 1 Estate, Popham Street, Islington.

Confused? So am I.

At a Housing Panel meeting, I pointed out that residents of Popham 1 had not received a very important letter telling them that from next year, some rents will increase based on the income of the top two earners in a property.

This was investigated and I was told they had received them.

Sixty-one properties were visited by myself and others (out of 203 on the estate), and not one had received the letter. However, at the housing panel meeting this week, the area housing manager said if a resident does not receive any letters they should contact the office. How, if they don’t know it existed in the first place?!

On Popham 1 we are constantly missing out on letters and information that should be coming through our doors, yet because the area housing office says we received them (when we haven’t), they class this as “job done”. Ridiculous.

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Emily Thornberry presents as dissatisfied with the new boundary changes, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

She claims Islington needs two MPs due to its size. Considering they have office staff to help them, all that is required is a larger office staff, saving the pension costs to the taxpayer of surplus MPs.

What could also be reduced is the number of local councillors as they appear to be fed answers to issues by the unidentified, unseen, unelected permanent council of Islington.

What is the point in any of them when they don’t make decisions? They don’t write their own correspondence – that is done down at the Town Hall funded by public cash – and when they do write their correspondence, they have to ask for permission from the local Labour PR machine to proceed.

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Islington has led the campaign against the government’s Housing and Planning Act, writes Cllr Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, Islington Council.

The act wants to force Islington to sell off council housing and introduces a tenant tax on hard-pressed working families.

Along with other Labour housing leads from across London, I wrote to minister for housing Gavin Barwell MP. We told him he should use his position to urgently pause the implementation of the act. We have included a series of stories from real Londoners, including some from Islington like Sinead, who has lived with her husband in their council flat in Islington for 15 years. They have a 19-year-old daughter who suffers from mental health difficulties, and two sons aged eight and 12. She started her career as an office administration apprentice aged 16, and she and her labourer husband now earn a household income that will mean they will be forced to pay a tenant tax of £193.75 a month. Sinead told us: “We’ve both worked hard to create a stable home for our children. If we’re forced to pay this new tax we might end up having to leave London. The other alternative is that I give up my job and try find a part time position instead.”

John works as a railway engineer. His wife is an administrator. They have lived in their council flat since 1990. Based on their combined income, they will be liable for a tenant tax bill of £200 a month. John told us: “The government is making it impossible for me to earn a living. My wife and I can’t afford this new tax but we also can’t afford to rent in the private sector in London.”

If the minister won’t answer me and my fellow Labour housing leads, he should answer real Londoners like Sinead and John.

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