Gazette letters: Hackney at night, parking, Victoria Park and surviving domestic violence

Nightlife in Shoreditch. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Nightlife in Shoreditch. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK - Credit: Archant

London is one of the safest cities in the world, but it is unacceptable that women are still subjected to startling rates of sexual harassment and assault in the night time economy, writes Jennette Arnold OBE AM.

The facts are stark and unpalatable: almost nine in 10 victims of sexual offences are female, and on average, 11 women and girls are raped or sexually assaulted in each London borough every week.

It is clear we must take stringent and urgent action to address this, and this is why I welcome the establishment by the mayor of the women’s night safety charter, as part of his Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

The charter is the first of its kind setting out guidance for venues, operators, charities, councils and businesses to improve safety at night for women. This includes improved training for staff, encouraging the reporting of harassment, and ensuring public spaces are safe.

I urge all venues in Hackney to adopt the charter to ensure all women can feel safe in our vibrant local night-time economy.

In reply to Christopher Sills and his assertion that residents of the Stamford Hill area being consulted about parking is a waste of time and money, I am glad I live in a borough that seeks the opinion of people that these proposals would affect, writes Terry Wood, Deepdene House, Manor Road.

In spite of government cuts, Hackney is doing all it can to maintain democratic accountability.

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There is an organised campaign to thwart the council bringing any changes to what many see as parking chaos and a free-for-all in Stamford Hill.

I have in fact had those people determined to vote no to the proposals knocking on my front door. I find their arguments self-serving and selfish, with no concern for sensible parking or tackling toxic air.

And far from being the low wages Mr Sills is so concerned about, they all arrive in big, expensive cars.

Without the Labour Party it is clear working people and council tenants would be viewed as second-class citizens.

People living around Victoria Park have become used to Tower Hamlets Council commandeering large sections of our park to rent out to private enterprise, writes Alan Thomas, Gore Road, Hackney.

It displays little consideration for neighbours, leaving whoever rents it to deal with communication with residents.

As Hackney, perhaps foolishly, relinquished any influence over Victoria Park to save money, those residents who live on the Hackney side of the park have no influence over Tower Hamlets Council’s actions on leasing of the park, gain nothing from the events, and cannot ask their councillors to represent or respond to their problems they face from these events.

For most of these events, the heavy plant traffic required to mount them mostly has to access the park from the Hackney side, except when it enters via the narrow section of Grove Road between the east and west of the park. And even in that entrance, it has often approached from Hackney, the boundary of which is just 30 or 40 yards away.

The Sunday Market is serviced from the park entrance in Gore Road, causing traffic mayhem on the narrow road on Sunday mornings from the early hours.

Now we have a new event: “Make More”, hardly publicised locally in advance, with no notification delivered to most residents before the event.

This caused a whole section of park to be closed to users unless they were willing to pay around £30 to enter the event; had generators running all night to keep the fridges cool; put additional parking pressures on Gore Road and around; and caused music and disruption until 10pm.

This surrendering of park space to private enterprise for monetary gain for Tower Hamlets Council, even if it uses this money to benefit its residents via lower rates or better services, does not benefit Hackney residents one jot.

Hackney residents face the loss of amenity, disruption and noise, yet have no voice in consultation over these events. This cannot continue. Anger is rising.

Tower Hamlets needs to consider all residents around the park and give them a real say in how their park is used.

After all, it was established by Queen Victoria as an amenity for the East End, not as a financial benefit for the council that controls the park.

Twenty-five years ago, I was in an abusive relationship, which I stood for seven years. I eventually had to leave three weeks before Christmas 1993, writes a reader (name supplied), Upper Clapton.

I had two boys, aged five and eight months.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best.

To anyone going through this: walk away, don’t stay, because there is help. I contacted social services and was in bed and breakfast that same night. I’m not saying I got over it, but I’ve moved on with the help of friends and family.

My boys are grown up and I’m living a happier, fulfilling life. Just do it.