Gazette letters: 277 bus route, celebrating NHS and Hackney markets

The 277 bus is being pemanently parked by TfL. Picture: HACKNEY COUNCIL

The 277 bus is being pemanently parked by TfL. Picture: HACKNEY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

I was astonished to see TfL’s reference to “consultation” in respect of the 277 route change. (“No reversal of 277 bus decision – TfL”, Gazette, writes Geraint Davies, Parkholme Road, Hackney.

I wrote to the Gazette some time ago to complain about the curtailment of the 277 route and the lack of consultation around this proposal.

Presumably the implementation was put back to enable proper consultation to take place.

As a regular user of the 277 I would as a minimum have expected to see publicity for the proposal at all 277 bus stops and on all 277 buses as part of the consultation process.

Sadly this hasn’t been the case and I wonder by what method TfL carried out its purported consultation. Specifically how did it expect regular users of the service (the most affected) to have been aware of the proposal and the consultation process in the absence of such publicity?

Surely this is a decision that cries out for a legal challenge by Hackney Council by way of judicial review.

Having recently been hospitalised with pneumonia, I felt compelled to join the March to Whitehall on June 30 to celebrate 70 years of the NHS, writes Julia Lafferty, Ickburgh Road, Stoke Newington.

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I received excellent treatment at Homerton Hospital during my illness but I witnessed at first hand the strains under which the NHS is operating.

The establishment of the NHS coincided with my birth immediately after the Second World War and is Britain’s proudest and most enduring post-war achievement. Our health service is a truly remarkable institution, delivering care for everyone based on need, not the ability to pay.

My family and I have benefited enormously over the years from the care we have received from our local hospital. But we must not take the NHS for granted. The population of the UK has increased by about five million in the last decade, with population pressure in London being most acute. However, funding of the NHS has not kept pace with this increased demand, and the impact on staffing levels, increased waits for diagnosis and treatment, etc, are approaching a crisis point. It is a false economy to make cutbacks to the NHS. Saving lives costs money, but saving money costs lives.

I read with interest Mr Mackervaie’s letter in the Gazette about the new Kingsland Market and his criticism of the “exclusivity” of Hackney’s other street markets, writes Cllr Guy Nicholson, Homerton ward.

Mr Mackervaie incorrectly stated Chatsworth Road is a “failed venture”, but in the three months since Hackney Council took over the running of the market the number of traders has increased, with a 15 per cent increase in footfall.

He mourned the loss of the “original” Hoxton market, but the same council supported the remaining traders and businesses and Hoxton Street now has more than 50 stalls a week and has seen a 22pc increase in footfall.

Mr Mackervaie criticises Broadway Market as being exclusive and not for Hackney people. Broadway has more than 160 stalls a week and continues to see increasing custom from residents and visitors alike. It is one of London’s most successful markets, run by local residents working with the council and should be celebrated not criticised.

Hackney Council invested time and money to support a local traders’ association to restart Well Street Market. Unfortunately the market could not be made to work and the traders’ association disbanded.

However, the council didn’t just walk away – it helped the local community create a themed “events market”, the first of which celebrated International Women’s Day in March and was a great success despite unseasonably freezing weather. This is a new approach to street markets that celebrate Hackney’s reputation as a champion for civil rights. Well Street will host a Black History Month event in October. I hope Mr Mackervaie feels he can support Well Street and his council in its ambitions to celebrate and promote equality and diversity.

Mr Mackervaie went on to describe his vision for the borough’s street markets – they should all be the same and local residents should get pitches free. Hackney’s street markets have become destinations for shoppers and visitors from home and afar because they are all different. The markets deliberately set out not to compete for the same customers and offer a variety and value that cannot be matched by the big retailers or found elsewhere in London.

The new Kingsland Market will not sell fruit, veg and groceries because just a short walk away and all trading on the same day are Ridley Road, Hoxton Street and Broadway markets. Mr Mackervaie’s call for all the markets to be the same would be setting one market against another.

The council continues to offer trading opportunities for anyone in the borough’s markets at day rates, often at discounts. Teenage markets at Hoxton, Chatsworth Road, Well Street and Ridley Road will provide the experience for young Hackney residents to hone their business skills and bring on the next generation of traders.

Contrary to Mr Mackervaie’s view, Hackney’s markets are thriving, and for the many, not the few.