Gazette letters: Building in Shoreditch Park, cost of blood test results, and Hackney’s political history

A model of the proposed Britannia development in Hoxton that was on public display. Picture: Pat Tur

A model of the proposed Britannia development in Hoxton that was on public display. Picture: Pat Turnbull - Credit: Archant

On February 13 at Hackney Council’s pre-application planning meeting we saw this model of the proposed Britannia development, writes Pat Turnbull, Save Britannia Leisure Centre.

Our first reaction was to feel sad that the council should want to replace a popular community leisure centre, plus its green car park with 50 trees, by this mass of dense and high buildings. Like living next to Liverpool Street, as someone said after the meeting.

Shoreditch Park would have a large building, the proposed replacement leisure centre, where it currently has some hard courts and trees. Where Britannia now stands, huge towers would loom over the park. People living round about would have three more towers to blight their living experience.

In the model, the 400 luxury flats in two huge tower blocks have been rendered less visible – see the large glassy shapes. Thus the council can keep up its story that the development is all about the new leisure centre, the school and the 80 “affordable” homes.

The reason given for modelling the flats like this was that the development is now to be delivered in two phases. The 400 luxury flats are in Phase Two. As we know from the neighbouring Colville Estate, the number does not necessarily indicate the order of construction.

Anyway, there is no hiding the shadow these towers cast, even in the model – right over the projected City Academy Shoreditch Park. Is this really a suitable site for a school? Where’s the playground? And the tower at the other end of the development is in the grounds of Shoreditch Park Primary School.

It was confirmed at the meeting the government would provide money to build the academy. This is another dent in the council’s story that this development is about the leisure centre and school, not the 400 luxury flats.

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And since the current proposal appears to suggest everything except the 400 luxury flats would be built first, we have written to ask the mayor where the money would come from.

This development has yet to go to planning. We urge everyone concerned to e-mail


Today I sent a letter to the management of the medical practice where I am registered as a patient, writes a Stamford Hill resident, full name and address supplied.

I have asked them to note that I am disgusted at the latest dictates of either the NHS or this medical surgery. I am more inclined to believe the surgery would not sink so low as to refuse to give a written result (I repeat written) of a blood test without the payment of £5. It is bad enough that a patient can not automatically receive their own results without them passing first through a third party, namely a GP.

It is also of interest to know how the cash-strapped NHS (if indeed it is the NHS) has deemed the fee of £5 appropriate. Is it the cost of stationery, labour and a postage stamp, or just an excuse to cover up and avoid giving in actual writing the patient’s current prognosis?

I will soon be 82 and, as I need this written report, must trudge out in the cold to obtain what is rightfully mine.

I regret that our local MP Diane Abbott has not brought this outrage to the public’s knowledge, but then perhaps MPs, even Labour ones, do not rely on NHS medical help.

Shame on whoever is responsible.


Christopher Sills’ letter in last week’s Gazette is misleading and mixed up on its history, writes Phil Glanville, mayor of Hackney.

It was the Tory/Lib Dem administration of the late 1990s that took the council to the brink of collapse.

It was Labour that rescued it from their fumbling clutches.

Hackney Council has been building social housing and doing its best to handle the growing number of homeless people.

The reason we can’t do more is that this Tory government has presided over a hugely damaging period of ideological austerity which has nothing to do with reality, that has slashed local government funding and created the housing crisis through failure to regulate the private rented sector.

They have made attacks on social housing to reduce it, and made cuts to housing benefit – all at time when homelessness is rising.

Hackney Labour remain true to our values: investing in a new generation of council homes, protecting front line services and helping the most vulnerable.

In May’s elections we will be offering Hackney a manifesto of hope, built on stable financial management and our reputation of running the council since 2002.

We are the only party that represents the borough’s diverse communities and has the credible ideas to tackle the housing crisis, reduce air pollution, and invest in our schools, leisure centres and parks while creating a fairer, more sustainable Hackney.

It’s a far better offer than a divided local Tory party that can’t decide if climate change is real, thinks Donald Trump is wonderful and supports a hard Brexit.