Gazette letters: Storm Callum, TfL and Labour at fault

Autumn colours in Clissold Park. Picture: DAVID HOLT/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)

Autumn colours in Clissold Park. Picture: DAVID HOLT/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

His name was Callum, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Autumn’s stormy arrival sounded perfectly pleasant until you faced his winds out on your bicycle; relatively unnoticed, we’d already been visited by Ali and Bronagh (although neither reached London) – and next up we’ll have Deirdre followed by Erik.

The Met Office’s practice of naming storms is a tradition dating back just four years, although it has a much longer history in the United States. The rationale is that giving them a name makes it easier to communicate to people about these storms and their impacts; essential if you’re trying to warn people to change their plans in order to avoid the potentially dangerous weather.

Other than a few train delays and a sharp increase in the pavement leaf litter, however, London remains largely unscathed by these storms – although it did make me laugh to see a parakeet caught in a strong gust over the Regent’s Canal.

The wind shaking it off course, I wondered what in its genetics could possibly have prepared it for Hackney’s grey bluster.

Bad weather aside, the fruits of autumn are ripe and ready to pick.

Hackney is blessed with many fruit trees in public areas so, if you fancy an apple or pear, help yourself. Just a few words of wisdom: avoid picking fruit near busy roads (or if you do, give it a good wash), and don’t take too much – best to leave the majority of fruit for the animals who need it more.

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Having read the article by Emma Bartholomew on TfL’s unpopular plans to cut the number 48 and other buses – if the truth be known, TfL has already made up its mind to do this anyway, writes Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington.

A good example of this is that, despite lots of people – including the mayor of Hackney, Mr Glanville, Cllr Demirci (spokesperson for transport) and a lot of Hackney residents who rely on local buses, including myself – writing to TfL, it went ahead and cut the 277 bus to run no further than Dalston Junction.

The excuse it gave was that the roadworks at Highbury Corner are putting the road layout back to virtually what it was in the late 1950s, early ’60s – that the layover point for buses on the roundabout no longer exists.

I suggested to TfL the 277 could have been extended along Holloway Road to Camden Road and layover outside the college in Camden Road, which is already a layover point for buses in the Holloway area. Its answer was that it can’t afford the extra drivers/vehicles to do this.

To add insult to injury TfL has, since the beginning of July, been running the N277, which goes along Balls Pond and St Paul’s roads up to Highbury Corner and along Upper Street to terminate in Baron Street, just off Pentonville Road. I wrote to TfL asking why, if it can do this for the N277, the day 277 can’t also run to this terminal point.

As far as I can see, when TfL says it is going to have a consultation about bus routes, it has no intention of taking any notice of the result.

It seems TfL appears to be a law unto itself with no regard for how its actions adversely affect the travel of people who live and work in London. As an example, I stood at the bus stop outside St Paul’s Church in St Paul’s Road this afternoon and, while waiting for a number 30 bus to get to Highbury Corner, in the space of five minutes I counted no fewer than six no 38 buses come down Balls Pond Road going towards Angel and on to Victoria.

In my letter at the beginning of the month, I made a few suggestions that, if implemented, would help those newly homeless get back on their feet and would be considerably cheaper than allowing them to become long term rough sleepers Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill, writes.

When that happens their physical and mental health inevitably gets worse and costs the taxpayer more in the long term.

My reward was a diatribe from S Brann who implied that the problem only started because of the Right to Buy in the 1980s. This of course is rubbish and this is backed up by the BBC documentary in late 1967 or early 1968 called Cathy Come Home, which shocked the nation at the time.

The Conservatives got control of Hackney Council in May 1968 and were determined to solve the problem. Indeed in our final year there were no Hackney residents in bed and breakfast accommodation. There were, however, two large houses with nine rooms each and a resident warden, where people could be housed overnight in the event of fire or other emergency.

Sadly both these policies were reversed the day the Labour Party got control of the borough again and many families have suffered as a result since then, as the Gazette highlighted earlier this year.

The Labour Party is believed to care about the workers and the disadvantaged but in practice it will leave tenants in overcrowded conditions, because it believes the state knows what is best for you and you must do what you are told.

I believe people should be free to make choices for themselves but if they make mistakes they must face the consequences.