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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Lost monkey, MP being local and Britannia Leisure Centre

15:35 21 September 2016

This monkey was found in the street  (Picture: Chris Jones)

This monkey was found in the street (Picture: Chris Jones)

Chris Jones

My God, this city is brutal, writes Chris Jones, Maury Road, Stoke Newington.

As I was walking to the shop to get some lunch I found this poor guy lying lifeless in the street just off Rectory Road, very close to a busy school.

I hate to think how upset the children would be if they witnessed such brutality.

Diane Abbott may have been the MP longer than the editor has been alive [Editor’s Comment, Gazette September 15], but I have been voting Labour since Stoke Newington was a separate borough, writes Terry Wood, Manor Road, Stoke Newington.

Although it must be fair, I believe in looking at changing boundaries. Otherwise you have what we have in Hackney – voters taken for granted as they will always vote for the same MP.

I would have thought telling the Hackney Gazette your views was basic local politics [Ms Abbott did not respond to requests for comment on the dissolution of her own constituency – ed]. However, I don’t want an MP you only see on TV backing Corbyn, who takes expenses paid fact finding trips to the Caribbean, or indulges in silly stunts with cameras and lights to take to the streets of Hackney at night to show it is safe.

I have received more help with problems from my superb local councillor with not even a reply from Ms Abbott – although I did see her when election time came around.

Another of your contributors to the letters page said MPs should be fighters.

Let them fight for seats and not take people and their votes for granted.

Congratulations on being elected as Mayor of Hackney, write Haggerston Park Users Group, Save Britannia Leisure Centre and Shoreditch Park Users’ Group in an open letter to Philip Glanville, the new Mayor of Hackney .

We are asking you as one of your first decisions to call a halt to the demolition of Britannia Leisure Centre and its replacement by a tower block of 176 flats for market sale.

Hackney’s original proposal in its Site Allocations Local Plan included some leisure provision.

Now it has added one, possibly two, schools.

But at the core is still the destruction of the Britannia and the building of a tower block of unaffordable flats which will do nothing to solve Hackney’s housing crisis.

This massive redevelopment has huge implications.

But no public consultation on this core plan has been carried out so far, besides an announcement in Hackney Today and some leaflets that very few people have seen.

A feasibility study produced by a consultancy for the Britannia site redevelopment, which also affects Shoreditch Park, was due in summer but will not now, according to a council officer who spoke at our recent public meeting, be ready till at least November.

Until it is published the people of Hackney will have no opportunity to formally comment on the proposal.

The plan includes a temporary site for the school on Haggerston Park. The limited consultation on this site met with overwhelming opposition. But even this proposal has not yet gone to the planning committee.

Yet the City of London Academies Trust, Hackney Council’s selected provider for the new academy, is already meeting parents and putting out materials advertising itself as opening in September 2017, and being on Hyde Road, the Britannia site, from 2019.

This is deeply undemocratic, especially as the people most heavily affected, the users of Britannia Leisure Centre and local residents, have not been consulted at all, and have reacted with shock and dismay to the news that the centre is to be demolished.

Since August 22 more than 2,200 people have signed the petition “Save Britannia Leisure Centre”. More than 700 people have written comments.

They show that, contrary to what the council is saying, Britannia is not old, out of date or unsuitable for the local community, but instead a well loved and well used centre that attracts people from all parts of Hackney and beyond.

That is why we are asking you to call a halt to this redevelopment. It is not wanted by most of the Hackney people affected by it. And Hackney Council has not given us the opportunity to tell you that.

We look forward to your positive response.

• Editor’s note: When asked about plans for the Britannia site last month, Hackney Council insisted it had “no plans to remove leisure facilities from the Britannia site”, saying all plans for the development included the provision of a “new, improved leisure centre”.

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