Gazette letters: Doorstep nature, Hoxton Market, homelessness, The Ark Suite and microchip cats

Magpies are just one of the birds that can be seen in Hackney. Picture: MICHAEL SMITH/IWITNESS

Magpies are just one of the birds that can be seen in Hackney. Picture: MICHAEL SMITH/IWITNESS - Credit:

We’re lucky where we live, to have local politicians and authorities that care about the environment we live in, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Even when they occasionally get it wrong, the value of our green spaces is generally understood by those who make decisions on our behalf.

But if there is one thing I have learnt from the past decade campaigning on the environment, in particular the last three years, it is that such support can never be considered permanent. The environment remains an area more easily deprioritised, more swiftly cast to one side as other concerns appear more pressing in the context of budget cuts and short political terms. Knowing what we do about the sharp decline in nature and the health of the planet, it is vital we don't let this continue to happen - no matter what the next five years brings.

Sing out the praises of the places you know and love, and make sure to spend time searching out new spots to enjoy the natural world from.

From my window now I can see a pair of magpies squabbling with a pair of crows over the last few rotting cherries hanging from the tree - I feel like going outside to have a word with them, reminding them that just over the overground railway line there is a rowan tree drooping with the abundance of bright red berries at the end of every twig.

We are lucky city-dwellers in Hackney to have nature on our doorstep - let's keep it this way.

After seeing Cllr Nicholson's letter in last week's Gazette in reply to the fears of the Ridley Road traders concerning the future of their market, I would like to ask him what is his and the council plans for Hoxton Market? writes Stephen Smeeth, Purcell Street, Hoxton.

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For years now Hoxton Market has been left to die a death.

The latest nail in its coffin is the news that the Iceland store is to close. The one shop that is affordable to the families living in the area.

Gentrification is already changing Hoxton. With one pub only accepting credit cards and the other discouraging locals by their door policy.

Some years ago a plan was put forward for a Sunday market in Hoxton which was rejected in favour of the Waste.

The council have now got £1.5m, none of which is earmarked for Hoxton.

So what is the future for Hoxton? More multi-million pound flats perhaps.

It's heartbreaking to read the increase in demand for foodbanks - no doubt caused by the last Conservative government's austerity drive, writes Janet Hart, London Fields, Hackney.

Please if you can support Hackney Foodbank this December with any sort of donation it will give you a warm glow and go a long way to helping someone in need.

Boris Johnson is certainly making the right noises in his pledge to reinstate the bursary for nurses - cut by his government under austerity.

But he must go further and set out his agenda to help the homeless first, then families adversely affected by Universal Credit or those who work but cannot afford the basics and need to rely on handouts likes those from foodbanks.

Many of these situations have been created due to Conservative policies - they would blame this on Labour leaving the money jar empty after years of overspending - but we must move forward.

PM Johnson can choose to radically turn the perception of the Tories around and help those in need and in turn win another term, or he can further widen the divide between the rich and poor and destroy the soul of this country.

Tens of thousands of staunch Labour supporters have put their faith in him. Love him or hate him, let's hope he delivers.

We will be hosting a free community Christmas dinner in Hackney for the second year running, writes Jenienne Brathwaite, The Ark Suite, Clapton New Testament Church.

It's for those who might be lonely, isolated or anyone who just wants to be in different surroundings on Christmas Day. We have space for 100 people and would like to fill every seat. The dinner will be held at the Ark Suite, downstairs at Clapton New Testament Church, Cricket field road, London E5 8NS.

Join us for a free Christmas meal on Christmas Day - there will be music, entertainment, gifts and much more. We also offer shower facilities and clothing for anyone who requires it on the day. Register by calling or texting: 07554 613 105 or email:

Cats Protection has been campaigning for microchipping to become compulsory for owned cats, writes Jacqui Cuff, head of Advocacy and Government Relations, Cats Protection.

This would improve feline welfare, helping lost cats to be returned home swiftly and ensuring owners can be notified if their cat is injured or killed on the roads.

To support our campaign and send an e-letter to the government visit before January 4, 2020.

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