Gazette letters: The Vortex Jazz Club, trains not stopping, housing developments and youth mentors

The Vortex Jazz Club in Gillett Square (Picture: Isabel Infantes)

The Vortex Jazz Club in Gillett Square (Picture: Isabel Infantes) - Credit: Archant

The Vortex Jazz Club and Vortex Foundation are proud to announce the launch of In the Changes (see p3), writes Cameron Reynolds, Vortex Foundation, Dalston.

This venture, which has been made possible with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, will foster a culture of exchange and learning between the artists, audience and staff of the club and the surrounding communities.

The Vortex is the only small venue in the UK specialising in jazz and improvisation that has a dedicated programme of this type.

The Vortex will build on its strong social and community philosophy alongside its uncompromising commitment to outstanding arts. Dalston is one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse centres of the UK, but also one of the most economically deprived. In the Changes aims to remove barriers, both real and perceived, that restrict people from enjoying the artistic excellence that takes place in Hackney.

It was alarming to read last week (front page, January 5) about passengers being disrupted on Overground services due to delays further down the line, writes Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

I know from my own experience and from the stories I have been told by constituents that this happens frequently.

Passengers find themselves whizzing through all the Hackney stations unable to get off or on.

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When I raised this with TfL in October last year, I was told “fast running” occurs to prevent further delays. They advised me they were looking to provide incentives to stop at every station but no indication of how they will enforce this.

It is unacceptable that it is Hackney that is missed out. As a long-standing campaigner to have the railway line brought back into use, it is a double disappointment that when the service is reduced it is Hackney residents who bear the brunt.

Passengers who have complained have been sent rail vouchers as compensation. I urge anyone affected to lodge a complaint. If compensation costs rise, TfL will be forced to tackle this more robustly.

Hackney Council says it wants to see 50 per cent of housing developments as affordable. Leave aside that most “affordable” housing is actually unaffordable, writes Pat Turnbull, full address supplied.

Most Londoners can only reasonably afford social rented homes, council homes.

What is happening in Hackney is far from this 50 per cent target. Britannia Leisure Centre is to be demolished to make way for 400 luxury homes for market sale. Four hundred new homes are to be built on Nightingale Estate of which only 52 will be social rented. Four hundred homes are to be built at Tesco’s, Morning Lane. Hundreds more are planned for the present site of the bus garage on the Narrow Way (did anybody ask the bus drivers what they thought?). And there’s more.

None of these luxury housing developments will serve the needs of most Hackney people. The only people who will benefit are the housing developers, who are making millions all over London, and a very small section of people who can afford to buy these homes.

The council says it wants to be a developer. But as the mayor said in a recent interview about the Britannia proposal: “We’re going to be taking this scheme... through planning ourselves, and then we’re looking for a developer partner.”

Developers have the upper hand in all negotiations with councils, with their huge teams of advisers and lawyers, and their viability studies based on secret calculations. Having “some influence over how it’s sold and marketed” (the mayor’s words) seems not much of a gain when very few people can afford these homes in the first place.

These developments will replace workplaces and facilities and do nothing to meet the real needs of Hackney people. The council’s strategy could do with an urgent rethink.

2017 is not off to a good start with two stabbings, writes Gwenton Sloley, full address supplied.

The problem starts at the school. The young people need the right people to come in and deliver training to them to stop them thinking the law does not apply to them. And the teachers also need the right training because they are far too quick to exclude the young people.

I come from Hackney and am the only person to leave the street and be respected by government. That’s through the hard work I’ve put in since leaving prison.

I have had a football team in Hackney for the last six years working with gang members but yet we have no funding and have to beg to play on the grass where there is light once it gets dark. I’m also the first person to come from the streets to ever get the front page of the Gazette. I also deliver joint workshops along side Chickenshed Theatre to stop the violence on our streets. These are the things you need to cover so these young people see other people have made it out.

Most of them don’t know what they are fighting over.

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