Gazette letters: Butterflies, Britannia redevelopment, CATs in schools and Peabody's generosity
PUBLISHED: 08:30 14 July 2018
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Sucked dry and exhausted by the sun, Hackney's flora are wilting, waiting for rain, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.
The weeping willows the length of the New River Path are losing an inch of height each day as they droop melancholic above our heads.
Hackney Downs continues its descent into a dustbowl as yellowed grass reveals the hard earth beneath.
Summer has come and is conquering the neighbourhood with its heatwave, the back of my neck its latest victim.
Unfussed and thriving, though, are Hackney’s moths and butterflies.
They are cold-blooded creatures which thrive in the warmer weather, the heatwave is bringing more brightly coloured guests to our parks and meadows.
It’s a pleasant respite from the insect decline we’re seeing across the country at the moment.
If you’re interested to find out more about these beautiful creatures, then Hackney Green Gym is running a guided walk at 2pm on July 20.
It begins at the Nye Bevan Community Hall in Overbury Street and explores the Middlesex Filter Beds.
The mayor of Hackney Cllr Philip Glanville paints a glowing picture of the Britannia redevelopment in your letters page, writes Hackney Trades Council president Brian Debus, of Penshurst Road, South Hackney.
He sees the need to conflate the issue of school places and a new leisure centre to justify the 400 private sale flats primarily contained in three massive tower blocks of 24, 19, and 16 storeys high – that few in Hackney will be able to afford.
It has been estimated the whole project could cost £330million and at least five years to build. So where is all this money going to come from in the first place to finance this project?
The whole plan is predicated on selling all the 400 flats to pay for the development at a time when there is a glut of these developments in the marketplace.
All this and at the end of it only 48 council flats, just 10 per cent of the total built, for the those thousands on the housing waiting list.
Hackney Council does not have the best of records when it comes to delivering on time and within budget. Witness the recent town hall renovation £3.4m over budget and 10 years to complete and contractors still on site. The new paving of the Narroway still not finished after 18 months – how much did that cost and was it in budget? Woodberry Down is still ongoing after 20 years as a building site. Many will also recall the debacle of the Clissold Leisure redevelopment.
Hackney, like most councils, has expertise in providing essential services to those in need. What it does not have is knowledge and experience to deal with private developers and financiers, whose primary purpose is the maximum extraction of profit.
The council is potentially setting it self up to be fleeced in this multi-million pound scheme.
Why not take note of the views of Hackney South and Hackney North Labour parties, Hackney Trades Council and Hackney Unison – which have all called for a moratorium on this project?
The mayor and Hackney Council, with its increased Labour majority, would gain massive local support if it was to combine with other Labour councils across London to demand the funds to stop any further cuts, such as those to special education needs children, and the funds for a massive council house building programme instead.
As this school year comes to its end, perhaps the Catholic leadership at the Diocese of Westminster should reflect upon the upset and trouble it has caused since last September within Hackney and Islington, as well as the other five Inner London boroughs in the Diocese over its proposals to form Catholic Academy Trusts (CATs) within their schools, writes Michael Cosh, of Corinne Road in Tufnell Park.
Thankfully, due to solid resistance and informed objections by our councils, parents. governors and unions, the Diocese has now had to re-think what is outlined.
Most objected to the fact that the Diocese simply does not understand the complex needs of Catholic Inner London schools.
What is to the discredit of the Diocese is the poor tone they have taken towards our elected councils over this matter. Minimal consideration has been shown towards our councils who have done much over many decades to support Inner London Catholic education.
If any more evidence was needed that social housing tenants continue to be treated as second class citizens after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, look no further than Peabody Housing Association, writes Gordon Wellard, of Victoria Park Road.
Having agreed to compensate me for being without hot water for 23 days, they offered me the totally inadequate amount of £23. My inconvenience was judged to be worth £1. I have refused it and will now be getting my local Legal Advice Centre to secure a more humane amount.
The philanthropist and champion of affordable housing for keyworkers George Peabody must be turning in his grave.