Gazette letters: Landmark Heights, election results and outdoor swimming

Landmark Heights in Daubeney Road will no longer be re-clad until more is known about the Grenfell T

Landmark Heights in Daubeney Road will no longer be re-clad until more is known about the Grenfell Tower blaze, its owner said today. Picture: TOM HORTON - Credit: Archant

I saw the article in the Gazette about Landmark Heights in connection with the decision to delay putting cladding on it as a result of the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower, writes Pat Turnbull, full address supplied.

I thought it was strange that this tower which looks like a council tower was private. I have found an article in the national press that explains it was sold off by Hackney Council in 2003.

This article also says its companion towers were demolished because of cockroaches and other problems. It seems strange they were able to get rid of the cockroaches in one tower and then sell it off but couldn’t get rid of them in the others.

I lived on the New Kingshold Estate which was also a concrete estate of tower blocks and maisonettes. We also had an infestation of cockroaches and this was given as a reason to tear them down, which they finally did in the 1990s, replacing them with a different type of housing mainly under housing association landlords. But for the last seven years we lived there, there were no cockroaches. The council had actually managed to eradicate them.

This is an example of why we have a shortage of council homes in Hackney to house people on the housing waiting list. Council tower blocks, which were obviously still serviceable if properly refurbished and looked after, were demolished or sold off as private housing. We are paying the price for these short-sighted policies to cut council spending. We now do not have enough houses in Hackney (and elsewhere in London) that ordinary people can afford to live in.

If you want to find out how much a home in Landmark Heights costs, Google it and you will find plenty on offer.

I feel there is therefore another story here that the Gazette might be interested in carrying.

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Congratulations on your recent features on Centreprise, Ridley Road Market and other aspects of Hackney life.

I believe the Labour Party would have won the last general election, because of the incredible mistakes made by the Conservative Party including an incredibly stupid manifesto, but for three mistakes, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

The first was the leader’s past associations with organisations that have a doubtful reputation to put it charitably, and his personal views on NATO which has, of course, kept the peace in Europe since the Second World War and which most British people believe in, unlike the European Union. I have a friend who lives in one of Labour’s target seats, who always votes Labour, but told me he that he had made a principled decision to abstain because of Jeremy Corbyn. I am sure he was not the only one.

The second mistake was to promise every group a Labour government would give them what they wanted regardless of whether the country could afford it. They claimed it was fully costed but most voters did not believe them.

The third mistake is Labour’s long-standing policy of encouraging postal votes, which means people start voting about two weeks before the election, before they have received all the election material which in most cases helps the party that holds the seat. I personally believe postal votes should only be used when a voter cannot get to a polling station for any reason including holidays. Although I realised that there were serious problems in the Conservative campaign within four days of the announcement of the election most voters did not realise it until the week before the election when many had already voted.

A lot of people are objecting to the proposed alliance with the DUP, most of whom probably voted Labour and as a result felt cheated. While it is not desirable, it is in the national interest that there is a stable government in these unstable times.

The only other alternative would be for at least 10 Labour MPs who know a Jeremy Corbyn led government would be a national disaster to join the Conservative Party.

The fact they will not do so shows they are just cynical politicans who deserve to lose their seats at the next general election.

The route between my house in Dalston and Hampstead Heath, and between my office off the Essex Road and the heath, were my most trodden this week, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

It is amazing how incapable we are in this country of concentrating on almost anything beyond the weather. How each change in temperature or cloud is so all-consuming. Cycling up Holloway Road I could barely imagine a world without rivers of sweat running down my back – despite the fact only a week ago I was on the edge of despair at the thought the unending downpours would never relent long enough for me to dry out my socks.

It is worth it once arrived at the heath. Plunge into the water and swim a few strokes before turning on your back and floating still, for a moment, only your thoughts and a blue sky. It is the quietest place I know in London – ears beneath the water, a wall of sycamore trees whispering in the breeze.

Out of the ponds on a hot summer’s day you might be treated to one of London’s greatest displays of nature: the gaggle of male peacocks (homo sapiens variety) parading on the grassy slope, jostling and shouting to compete for the attention of others. Their courtship display is less structured than their avian counterparts but no less predictable.

My final spring highlight was the sight of a couple of seagull chicks nesting on a chimney. If you come across birds nesting, please stay away, and if they become problematic contact the council.