Gazette letters: Nature at our door, prosecuting cops and wetlands whitewash

Relaxing in Clissold Park.

Relaxing in Clissold Park. - Credit: Archant

Weave through the backroads of Canonbury, broad open rows of ivy-clad houses; skirt along the perimeter of Highbury Fields, barbecues and Sunday league football; reach the top and hang a left down to Emirates Stadium before diving into Gillespie Meadow, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Here it is worth stopping. Late summer’s bloom going to seed, birds and bees are having a feast. Beneath the sun-browned meadow there is a slow hum rarely heard in the city, interrupted here only by the occasional freight train.

Continue up the bramble-lined path to Finsbury Park and drop down into the station smog. Refuge quickly found in the park itself, an unpleasant few minutes plodding along the over-manicured promenade before sneaking out past Manor House onto the New River Path. A mile of secret grassy path, accompanied only by the fledgling waterfowl and then Green Lanes traffic an abrupt end. Sprint to Clissold Park for a sip of water at the new fountain in the north west corner, and then trot home taking a detour past the ponds to see how big the goslings are getting.

Seven miles of off-road trails and I’m home. For inner city London, we aren’t doing too badly when it comes to finding nature on our doorstep.

I read with some concern the article in the Gazette regarding two police officers being placed under criminal investigation and handed gross misconduct notices by the IPCC, as well as three other police officers also being handed gross misconduct notices, regarding the death of Lewis Johnson, who died in a chase last year, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

I thought the job of the police was both to detect and prevent crime, bring the perpetrators to justice and protect the general public.

It appears that both Lewis and a person named Kyriacou were involved in a smash and grab robbery in Kingsland Road.

They made their getaway on a motor scooter which collided with a van in Clapton following a police chase on February 9, 2016.

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If the police are not expected to give chase to catch these people, why do we have them in first place? Why not disband the police forces in the country and just go back to the good or bad old days when you could do what you damn well liked without any fear of being caught?

These two people – unfortunately one is dead – decided to commit a crime. But it seems when the police do give chase in an attempt to apprehend and recover stolen property, the person/s who do such things seem to have more rights than the people they offend against.

A good example of this is the apparent immunity of the moped/scooter gangs who apparently roam at will and terrorise both pedestrians and shopkeepers by smash and grab and keep on getting away with it.

It is because the police are afraid of what will happen to them as a result of them chasing and attempting to catch them – which incidentally is part of their job of protecting London – if and when the person/s responsible get hurt in their attempt to escape.

The police must be allowed to their job for which we pay a good part of our council taxes.

I’m sure that if they were allowed to do their job properly, then it would be a lot safer for all of us to go about our daily business without fear of being robbed either on the street or in the shops.

As the old saying goes, if you don’t want to do the time then don’t do the crime.

I am writing regarding your report on August 17 on London mayor Sadiq Khan’s visit to Woodberry Wetlands (“Sadiq Khan launches plans to make London the first National Park City”), writes Pat Turnbull, Handley Road, Hackney.

Woodberry Wetlands used to be East and West Reservoir when council tenants enjoyed the view. The name change goes along with its new function as the selling point for the new towers the mayor says he is so impressed by.

These two huge towers of luxury dwellings – Skyline Tower is 30 storeys high – are the property of developer Berkeley Homes. The tower is all sold. Berkeley Homes’ website for Woodberry Down advertises “natural city living beside an exhilarating waterside location just 15 minutes from the city”. Homes still available – the development continues round the bank of the reservoir – come at prices ranging from £832,000 to £1,475,000.

The owner of Berkeley Homes, Tony Pidgley, is number 407 on the Sunday Times Rich List for 2017. He is worth £285million, up by £15m since last year.

By the time the Woodberry Down regeneration is finished (current scheduled date 2031), the original 2,000 council homes will have been replaced by 5,550.

But only 1,088 will be social rented, and even they won’t be council

They will belong to Genesis Housing Association, with higher rents and service charges. There will be an additional 1,177 “affordable” homes but everyone by now knows that “affordable” homes are unaffordable to most people in Hackney, especially those in most housing need. 60 per cent of the regenerated Woodberry Down will be market homes.

Regeneration schemes like this one only make the housing crisis worse, with the big winners being the developers.