Post letters: New town centre, remembering Kane Johnson and violent crime

PUBLISHED: 12:30 04 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 05 August 2019

How Barking town centre could look. Picture: BENSON ELLIOT

How Barking town centre could look. Picture: BENSON ELLIOT


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Our town centre housing policy is well thought out

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, writes:

It's been an interesting couple of years to follow both the neighbouring London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge and their developing plans to increase and improve housing stock in their town centres.

While both labour-controlled councils have many commonalities including a vibrant demographic of settled communities and excellent road and rail links into the city they seem to differ with contrasting viewpoints on inner city housing strategies.

Barking and Dagenham's tagline "One Borough, One community" has truly been adopted to take all their residents with them on their Barking town centre regeneration journey. Weavers Quarter has been designed with contemporary affordable social housing at its core while Truscott House was completed with primary thought to families that have the highest need for housing or those with disabilities. The recently announced Vicarage Field development also takes into account town centre residents' health and well-being needs with community green-spaces, a health clinic and leisure facilities among other infrastructure needs incorporated into the development for all to use.

As an alternative approach, Redbridge council has just approved a 42-storey, 154m high rise development on the site of the Bodgers store that would make it the tallest building in outer London. While not being sympathetic in design to its environment it more importantly will not provide any possibility of housing to the most needy in the borough or contribute in any infrastructure needs of a growing central community. On the flip-side the same developers have also had their social housing plan accepted outside the town centre on the old Archant newspapers site. The 13-storey 134 homes proposal site has been cited by many will give some residents no direct sunlight and all to suffer 24/7 noise pollution from the adjacent rail tracks.

It's quite clear that while Barking and Dagenham are forging ahead with an "inclusive" plan for the betterment of all its residents that Redbridge are clearly happy for a "segregation" approach that may increase the social divide and potentially lead to further marginalisation of its communities. It will be interesting to see which strategy is the more successful.

Bury station to boost housing

Martyn J Fisher, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

I was amazed to see the photographs on the front page of the last edition

I suggested some time ago in a letter to this paper a different way of doing the redevelopment. This picture shows exactly the positioning of the new station under the tracks of the railway. An underground station would allow for more space for development on the surface and provide further office space and housing. The railway underneath the shopping centre would give more space to the trains below ground and that's what they want.

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I hope somebody will see this letter and take action on it.

Fitting tribute to pupil Kane

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M ED (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

A well attended memorial service, with family members and loved ones for Kane Johnson, was held at New City College.

They saw the unveiling of a plaque as a tribute to a promising young student who died recently.

The idea of a plaque had come from a fellow student who appreciated the friendliness of Kane and wanted the memory and legacy to remain and inspire other students for years to come.

Kane had been given an award for "the best student sharing compassion and friendliness". He was considered by his friends as being most friendly and kind.

These qualities that are so needful in today's world contrast greatly to the troubles and headlines of today.

How to tackle violent crime

Tom Copley AM, Londonwide Assembly Member, writes:

The causes of violent crime are multi-faceted and complex, and we know that these have been compounded by the government's £1 billion cut to the Met Police's budget by 2023.

From City Hall, the mayor is addressing this issue through the roll-out of a £45 million Young Londoners Fund, as part of his public health approach model.

There's no escaping the need for government to confront the reality that violent crime is one of the side-effects of their programme of austerity.

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