Gazette letters: Woodberry Down estate and human impact on wildlife

Jane Frost with her letter from the council (Picture: Polly Hancock)

Jane Frost with her letter from the council (Picture: Polly Hancock) - Credit: Archant

Like Jane (Jane ‘home alone’ in Woodberry Down block until 2023, December 22), I too am a long-standing tenant on Woodberry Down Estate, my family having lived here for over 60 years, writes Elaine Gosnell, Rowley Gardens.

16 years ago, when the regeneration scheme was proposed and ‘sold’ to us, we were led to believe we would all benefit but the completion date keeps being deferred and is now at least another 16 years away.

In effect, that is a generation and council policy lacks the flexibility to respond to the changing needs of original tenants. Although I know that this is something our new mayor, Phil Glanville, intends to address.

I was saddened to read that the council failed to process Jane’s medical assessment, but I was not surprised.

Last Easter the council undertook an allocations and lettings exercise in Woodberry Down, which serves to illustrate how the department operates.

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, every secure tenant in the original blocks – that is approximately 400 households – received a letter from the council, inviting them to express interest in some new properties on the estate which had become available.

The number of properties was six, yes just six! Expressions of interest had to be made by Wednesday, March 23, 2016.

Most Read

Then the council had only Thursday, March 24, 2016 to evaluate all responses, potentially 400 of them, and to make a selection before the property viewing date on the next working day, Tuesday, March 29, after the Bank Holiday.

The council has justified this practice on the grounds of it having a ‘limited time frame’, but to those tenants waiting in the original blocks, this is no excuse.

It’s January (in case you hadn’t noticed). Another year passed, and we have a chance to set resolutions for the year ahead, writes Will McCallum, Hackney.

The last quarter of 2016 saw some terrifying new statistics on the impact we humans are having on the planet – reports like the RSPB’s State of Nature, or WWF’s Living Planet Report describe the increasing number of species at home and abroad living fragile existences. Among these scary numbers it can be easy to forget each of us is able to make a difference – and what better time to resolve to do so than at in January.

Over the year I’ll offer suggestions for ways in which we can make the natural environment in Islington and Hackney better – but here are some initial ideas:

1. Help build natural havens in your garden and on your balcony. Growing bee-friendly plants, building insect hotels or putting up bird boxes can all help.

2. Reduce the amount of packaging you use. Recycling is important, but even better is not having to bin it in the first place. Choose products with less plastic on them whenever you can.

3. If you have the time, then why not get out there and help. Consider joining a local wildlife or conservation group like the Islington Wildlife Gardeners’ Group or visiting nature hotspots like Woodberry Wetlands.

4. Petitioning the council about local issues is vital. Last year saw some great campaigns like the petition against culling foxes in Clissold Park or the need for Islington Council to take stronger action to tackle air pollution.