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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Enjoy nature and Post Office move

PUBLISHED: 08:30 16 February 2019

Mural from Gillespie Park entrance on Seven Sisters Road. Photo: NICOLA BAIRD

Mural from Gillespie Park entrance on Seven Sisters Road. Photo: NICOLA BAIRD

Nicola Baird

Like Heathrow Airport, busy currently consulting Londoners about its new runway, birds have flightpaths too, writes Nicola Baird, Islington Green.

It’s easy to notice this if you are near a big space of water and sky like the West Reservoir. Here Castle Canoe Club members paddle, even in winter, able to marvel as geese thump, thump, thump overhead.

During the cold snap I noticed some patches of ice by the reservoir banks when using an inflatable paddleboard. Despite risking a Titanic puncture, I drew closer to listen to the protest groans of the ice as the wind pushed it around.

When you’re told that the world is in peril because of man-made climate change, it’s hard to know what to do. It’s even trickier if you’re not sure what a healthy planet should look like.

In February in our centrally-heated homes where “apple”, “blackberry” and “mouse” mean connectivity, and Countryfile is how we nature watch, it’s easy to avoid going outside, until “the weather gets better”.

Our lack of knowledge about seasons and eco-systems – where children are scolded for touching “dirty” plants and buzzing insects blitzed – is a symptom of our nature deficit. Ignorance about the environment is probably bad news for the planet.

But avoiding nature, and there’s plenty of it even in urban Islington, seems to also be damaging our wellbeing.

Recently artist Olafur Eliasson brought 24 icebergs from a Greenland fjord to the Tate Modern.

In a speeded-up version of how a warming planet changes the world, Ice Watch, the show, ended when each of the one tonne bergs shrank to nothing.

There’s a lot to distract us from tackling climate change, but noticing nature (naming it even) is a very human way to deal with the tough stuff.

Maybe use spring 2019 to trial a personal nature cure by getting outside more: go for a walk, notice the moon, use the borough’s parks and playgrounds and spot birds’ low-carbon flight paths.

On January 17, we wrote to you with the following queries regarding your proposal to move the Upper Holloway Post Office at Archway to premises in a shop in Junction Road (“‘The Post Office must not let down the community again’: Protest over plan to franchise Holloway branch”, Gazette) wrotes Kate Calvert, Better Archway Forum, in an open letter to the Post Office.

We have had no response to these even though the consultation closes this week.

We would very much appreciate answers to these questions as a failure to respond suggests that the outcome of the consultation has been decided in advance.

In considering your proposal to close the Crown Post Office and transfer services to a shop on Junction Road we wish to raise the following queries:

1. Archway is an area of significant deprivation with the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007/Economic Deprivation Index of 2008 showing parts of Archway falling into the lowest 10 per cent in the country.

Those in the population who fall into this category have considerable difficulty changing their homes so can, therefore, be assumed to be still present. This type of resident has greater than average need of the services of the Post Office and requires more help in accessing those services. This means that they need experienced staff in the Post Office. Can you confirm what proportion of staff in the new premises would be long-term and experienced Post Office employees rather than the new, minimum wage employees?

2. Under the proposals the Post Office services are due to be installed alongside retail convenience ranges.

The retail offer risks reducing ease of access for everyone, but most of all those who are visually impaired and those who have difficulties walking, particularly customers in wheelchairs.

Can you please provide a scale plan of the layout proposed, together with indicated turning circles for wheelchairs?

3. The outline of proposals do not mention either a dedicated parcels counter, which is much used in the existing Post Office, nor any replacement postbox.

Can you confirm that both of those would be provided and where?

4. Can you also please confirm which if any of the existing services would be discontinued in the franchised premises?

• What do you think on the proposed move? Email gazette.letters@archant.co.uk to have your say.

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