Gazette letters: Swans, buses for hospital and graduation

The family of swans blocking the tow path . Picture: Will McCallum

The family of swans blocking the tow path . Picture: Will McCallum - Credit: Archant

The stillness of an early morning on the weekend – before the cars have begun to disturb the peace up the A1, but after the last freight trains have barged their way through the Dalston night; the last fox slinking behind the shed and the first gulls barking awake amid the chimneypots, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

My boyfriend says it feels like camping, when you head out (or in fact, come home) in the damp dawn hours – and so it was on Saturday that I struck out on a run to enjoy the hush.

As soon as I skipped off-road at the Castle climbing wall, then on the path alongside the western reservoir, I was treated to a rare sight: a full family of sleeping swans, just beginning to stir in the early sunlight, a morning routine about to begin.

Blocking my path, I couldn’t carry on – indeed, why bother?

What could be a more enjoyable treat than to watch from a distance this family behave much as any family does as it wakes – lazy bickering, slow stretches and a gradual coming together for a bite to eat?

It was so remarkably similar to our breakfast routine I felt almost like an intruder or peeping Tom to spend so long stood there.

Across to Highbury Fields and Islington now in the throes of morning life – the stench of too strong coffee and lycra; morning peace departed, time to go home

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Transport for London looks like using gasworks as an excuse to reduce bus services in Hackney permanently, but the council does not object, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

The entrance to the Homerton Hospital being blocked at Chatsworth Road because of gasworks means westbound traffic has to be diverted to the disadvantage of bus users going to the hospital – inconvenient but probably unavoidable.

The eastbound services are unaffected because of the one-way system in operation, but these, too, have been diverted.

This means patients going to the Homerton have to walk about an extra 100 yards which, for many, is a long way. This is totally unacceptable and must be immediately reversed and if the boss of TfL refuses, he must be dismissed by the mayor of London.

My fear is TfL will make the diversions permanent to save money.

It has also been drawn to my attention that the council proposes to consult again on a controlled parking zone in Stamford Hill during August when many people will be on holiday – in spite of the fact one was held less than two years ago, when it was roundly rejected, which it is likely to be again.

There is not, of course, no reason for the council to adopt the European Union practice of asking the same question again and again when they get an answer they do not like, until they get the answer they want.

Council tax payers will of course pay for this and, of course, have every right to be angry at this foolish waste of their money.

I would like the law changed to give the secretary of state the power to veto reckless expenditure by local authorities.

It has been sad to see reports that schools are failing young people through exclusions and a lack of engagement with pupils with special needs, leaving them vulnerable to gang exploitation and criminality, writes Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

To turn the tide on the rise in violent crime, the whole community must come together and play its part, with our education system playing a particularly significant role.

This is why I was delighted to attend the Voyage graduation ceremony held in Hackney Town Hall earlier this month, which celebrated the achievements of the 100 inspiring students who had completed the Young Leaders for Safer Cities Programme.

Voyage is a youth leadership programme and social enterprise that develops and transforms the aspirations of London’s young BAME [black, Asian and and minority ethnic] community.

The programme plays a vital part in raising awareness of the devastating impact of violent crime and the importance of community relations with the local police.

The interventions of initiatives like these are absolutely invaluable, but the government should also step in to do more to support the most at-risk young people.

While the mayor of London has attracted bids from youth organisations across London for his £45million Young Londoners Fund, the government has so far failed to allocate its £22m nationwide early intervention fund.