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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Jeremy Corbyn, green spaces and by-election

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 December 2019

Jeremy Corbyn will stand down as Labour leader. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA IMAGES

Jeremy Corbyn will stand down as Labour leader. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA IMAGES

PA Wire/PA Images

Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn, as an individual he ran and jumped like the racehorse Redrum, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

It was just as well as so many hurdles were put in his way, it was like groundhog day at the grand national for years . He was deliberately saddled with Brexit to slow his horse as 52 per cent of the country had decided in a democratic fashion on this and going against it was always added weight.

He got roasted by the owners of power media, his political horizon always looked warmer as it glowed, in flames hurdle upon hurdle - some being set alight by his own party members who had lost the plot on what their function was and went off for whatever their motivation.

I hope JC writes a book "warts and all" so people could see the background of what we never saw.

However, he can take absolute credit for any Tory social type ideas/policies as they generally don't do them, even at Christmas.

Look no further than austerity where the country was still accumulating debt, yet, suffer in its failure, was their cry, as they scoffed on expenses and Brexit distractions.

When JC does stand down if the party goes Blair blue brigade then they might as well join the Tories as it becomes a one party state. Or are Labour going to be the remain party as a war horse to challenge the Tories attempts at Brexit?

Hmm, I do wonder!

We write to express our concern at the continuing disregard for green space in planning decisions in the borough of Islington, particularly in light of the council's Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration in June this year, write Conor McHugh, stop tree slaughter at Highbury Corner and Helena Farstad, Islington Clean Air Parents.

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lllegal levels of air pollution (NOX) are found in 60pc of the borough, Highbury Corner being particularly badly hit. This very busy commercial and residential area needs more green space and not less (Islington already has the lowest ratio of open space to built-up areas of any London borough).

Having considerably thinned out the arboretum on "Highbury Island", the council now intends to cut down seven mature and healthy trees from the roadside mini forest that screens the Dixon Clark Court estate from the busy A1. Within the single square kilometre centred on the primary school located next to these trees, it is estimated (using ONS figures) that vegetation removes 225 kilogrammes (nearly a quarter of a tonne) of pollutants from the air every year.

Allowing this development to proceed according to the existing plan will lead to a further reduction of crucial green space and, particularly during the building work, increase the exposure to air pollution of residents and schoolchildren. It runs totally counter to the June 2019 council declaration of a 2030 net zero carbon target.

The intention is to build a mix of much needed housing, social and affordable housing, in the grounds of the Dixon Clark Court estate. On closer examination the social and affordable housing and its location, largely on old car parking and garage space, will not result in the tree-screen being damaged. What will destroy these seven trees is the projected six-storey private block, entirely devoid of social or affordable housing, that the council has also granted permission for.

We demand the council replan this development with a view to either dropping the private block (and securing the finance for the social and affordable housing elsewhere) or moving it (preferably in the direction of integrating it with the other housing) so that these trees and their green space can be saved.

We do not ask the council to halt the building of social and affordable housing. However, allowing these plans to continue unaltered would unequivocally demonstrate that Islington Council does not take seriously the Climate and Ecological Emergency they so passionately declared earlier in the year. These trees are clearly a case in point, and we have placed an e-petition on the council website asking that they be saved. We invite your readers to sign it before the deadline of December 20. It can be found here.

Amid all the fire and fury of the general election last Thursday, there was also a council by election in St George's Ward, writes Natasha Cox, Islington Green Party.

I put forward my name as the Green Party candidate and came a strong, close second to the Labour Party candidate, increasing our vote share and winning the highest Green vote ever in the ward.

I would like to thank each one of the 2,501 residents who voted for me. I am proud of the campaign we ran, asking voters to consider whether another Labour councillor was needed, when the only opposition to Labour is currently made up of one Green Party councillor, plus a Labour dissident who seems to vote in line with the Labour majority. The closeness of the by-election vote suggests a lot of voters were sympathetic to our argument that councils benefit from strong opposition - without which there's evidence they risk providing poor value for taxpayers' money and making bad decisions.

Of course I respect the voters' choice and wish the successful candidate Gulcin Ozdemir every success in her new role. Nevertheless, I will continue to work outside the council, not just to keep pushing them to do more to clean up our air and to help shape the development of a women's building and locally needed housing on the Holloway Prison site, but also to do what I can to ensure adequate levels of oversight are maintained over the activities of our executive councillors.


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