Padnall Lake housing, Post's new website, Brexit and shop staff

The town hall wants to build homes at Padnall Lake. Its planning committee will vote on the scheme on Monday (November 30).

The town hall wants to build homes at Padnall Lake - Credit: Be First

Let justice prevail on housing

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes: 
The objection expressed by the Barking and Dagenham Heritage Conservation Group to the building of 300 new houses at the Marks Gate Padnall Lake seems a generous protest at the apparent weaknesses revealed in the planning for these houses (Post).
Protests are often in the defence of one’s interests rather than in the interests of others, although it is not suggested this applies to this objection. 
However, it cannot be discarded or ignored. 
It is hard to believe that there had not been sufficient consultations done for this project, or that they were done quickly and some vital issues ignored.
With the shortage of new house accommodation within the fast growing district, all available options are usually considered by planning councils and groups. 
There does appear from the letter by Paul Scott in last week’s Post, that there are several shortcomings expressed such as the sizes for the new houses ranging from three – 20 storeys.
The larger of these give cause for concern regarding fire safety, health dangers such as from viruses, and the general effect of properties being close to one another giving “ghetto” type areas with open-air spaces being crowded between buildings close to each other.
Further consideration should be given by the council in fairness to the residents within that area and show that justice is done and seen to be done by them for the benefit of the whole community. 
To prevent houses being built just to preserve the area for the residents living there may justify those residents but prevent housing accommodation for the needy. It is not an unsolvable problem but one that should be overcome by good consultation and public relations. Let justice and common sense with dignity prevail.


News section on Post website
Colin Newman, Barking, full address supplied, writes:
I was rather taken aback to find that unlike ‘Things to do’ and ‘Sport’, you decided that ‘News’ in your new website design should be divided into separate Dagenham and Barking sections. 
Several of the items under each section are – as I look today – from or about Barking and Dagenham Council and relevant borough wide – and are linked to under both menu items.
Of course the name of the borough comes from the fact that it was formed by the merging of the pre-1965 boroughs of Dagenham and Barking, but since then it has acquired a sizeable chunk of territory from London Borough of Redbridge (in 1994) and a slice of London Borough of Havering. But still the two parts of the borough idea persists – everywhere in the borough is (incorrectly) held to be either in Dagenham or in Barking.
The council tries to say the borough is “one community” – I think that’s rather far-fetched, but I also think their point is it is specifically not two communities.
If you are going to hold out for this “two parts model” then surely you have to – where practicable – use the boundary between the two pre-1965 boroughs which give London Borough of Barking and Dagenham its name? 
This would mean that your story about the road collision by “The Robin Hood” should be filed under Barking, not Dagenham. (Using this boundary would make life difficult as it is hard to trace – the Becontree Estate straddles it and comes close to obliterating it).
In fact what you are doing, apparently – and you’re not alone as far as I can tell – is dividing the borough by postcode areas into its IG and RM parts. 
That may be convenient, and works quite well for Barking/IG11, but to refer to all of the RM part as Dagenham is wildly inaccurate.
The RM part of the borough is covered by two post towns – Dagenham and Romford (and the Romford parts are not contiguous – eg Chadwell Heath and Rush Green are not connected). 
Many residents in the north of the borough don’t tend to identify with Dagenham, even if they live in that former borough, and they certainly don’t identify with Barking and so are left often feeling excluded and forgotten.
You should divide the territory of Barking and Dagenham by clearly/widely understood boundaries and give the parts – of which there would be more than two – unambiguous names/references, or just accept Barking and Dagenham as one place and don’t try to divide it up at all at menu level – just put ‘News’ or ‘B&D News’.

  • Editor’s note: Comments noted – we have now changed the section to News

Brexit will impact law enforcement 
Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member, City and East writes:
On December 31, the Met will lose access to five major systems used to track down criminals across Europe and keep Londoners safe, including the European Arrest Warrant and the Schengen Information System, unless the government makes a new agreement with the EU.
Time isn’t just running out, it’s run out. The government needs to act right now, but they just don’t seem to be taking Londoners’ safety seriously. 
In the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt MP said, “We have measures in place to ensure that our citizens will be safe” but this simply isn’t true.
Unless the government can urgently get a grip and reach an agreement with the EU, the Met and other forces will lose access to the tools they know and instead be forced to fall back on outdated procedures and agreements, that risk leaving Londoners’ safety in jeopardy.


Please don’t abuse shop staff
Paddy Lillis, general secretary, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), writes:
The run-up to Christmas is always a really busy time for retail workers, shoppers can be stressed and things can boil over. This year is likely to be even more stressful as a result of recent lockdowns and worries around coronavirus.
I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shopworkers are people as well. 
Talking to our members who work in retail, I know that verbal abuse cuts deep. Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work that day and worried that it will happen to them again.
That is why Usdaw, the shop workers’ trade union, is asking customers to ‘Keep your Cool’ at Christmas.
I would also like to ask your readers to support our members by signing the petition to protect shop workers at: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621


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