Letters: Padnall Lake, festive spirit, FakeAway Feb and care leavers

The green space near Padnall Lake. Picture: Google

The green space near Padnall Lake - Credit: Google Street View

Don't build on a green space

Mrs G Laws, Billet Road, Dagenham, writes:

In reply to Cllr Geddes’ letter, Post, December 23.

Mr Scott lives on the border of LBBD and voiced the concerns of Marks Gate residents, Marks Gate Padnall Views Action Group (289 members) and those of Barking & Dagenham Heritage Group (128 members). 

Obviously, Cllr Geddes didn’t have the opportunity of complaining of NIMBY-ism and as far as I am aware Cllr Geddes doesn’t live in Marks Gate either.  


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I do live in Marks Gate. The development at Padnall Lake is not in my back yard but Padnall Lake and its green space is my local park.

I know that the improvements to St Chad’s Park will hardly benefit those from the northern end of Marks Gate as it’s over a 30 minute walk away, nor the elderly that can easily get to the current protected green space. 

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In my case I could take a bus, but not for a dog walk so would end up driving there. No doubt it will be nice for those on the other side of the A12 but a loss to us.

Cllr Geddes has reduced the number of homes for local people from 163 to 70. Perhaps he could explain this? And despite what he says, the infrastructure is not in place, the local school is full, same for the GP.

We have a climate emergency; an air quality emergency and we know that pollution kills. Why build on protected green space, a buffer to the A12, in an AQMA focus area and worst of all build family homes adjacent to the A12 with gardens and terraces backing onto the A12?

As Cllr Geddes knows, there has been no air quality testing performed at the Marks Gate site. Independent experts have said that the Air Quality report is not fit for purpose. More importantly there are other parts of Marks Gate that could provide the needed housing without destroying the protected green space and without putting new residents at risk, while providing both children and adults, new and existing residents, with open green space – our local park.

Cllr Geddes suggests that we should consider the benefits of people moving into new homes when they are living overcrowded ones. I think they would prefer to live in a healthy environment which is not immediately adjacent to the A12.
Finally, the local plan says ‘The council is committed to protecting and enhancing parks and open spaces …’ a commitment that the council is ignoring.

Well done for the Christmas spirit

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

The spirit of Christmas is well alive in the local district with the recent report of £18,000 being given to help some of the most vulnerable citizens to a Christmas of cheer during this Covid pandemic. 

As if the pandemic was not enough to cause hurt and a feeling of despondency but being without the means of enjoying a good traditional Christmas would pile hurt upon hurt.
It is at such times that the spirit of giving as emphasised by the meaning of Christmas, Jesus, has come to the rescue again to provide much joy both to the receivers and givers alike. There will be many lifted from a spirit of despondency to one of cheerfulness but such action.

The local council raised a fundraising appeal and gained such a generous amount of money as well as 1,400 gifts, is highly commended for its demonstration of concern for the many in need of help at Christmas to enjoy its meaning. 

Together with the input by the council, the givers to this appeal are many such as the West Ham United Football Club, McLaren Developers, Mulalley Construction and many others.
It is amazing how much goodness can overcome adversity and bring hope to the hopeless and joy to the sad. Such acts of kindness can even shade out the horror of Covid and show that kindness is a power that will dispel darkness and supply happiness to those in desperate need. 

This will be the result of such an appeal. It is the Bible that encourages us that to ‘give, it shall be given back to you with greater measure, and overflowing’. So well done council!

Turn your hand to home cooking

Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK, writes:

This February, we’re asking people across London to keep up the new year motivation by signing up to take part in Diabetes UK’s first ever FakeAway Feb.

Challenge yourself to swap processed foods and takeaways for healthier alternatives throughout the month of February, while raising vital funds for diabetes research.

With Diabetes UK by your side to provide advice, support and, most importantly – delicious recipes, FakeAway Feb is here to kickstart your home-cooking journey. 

When you sign up, you’ll receive access to our online community where members can share cooking tips and tricks, as well as access to our FakeAway Feb Toolkit – where you can download your free meal planner.

It’s simple – one month, totally homemade. Sign up to FakeAway Feb today, and kickstart your journey to a healthier you.

We’re here to help care leavers

David Holmes CBE, chief executive, Family Action, writes:

It can be frightening and lonely for young people when they leave the care system. 
Many may be living on their own for the first time and often will not have a network of friends and family around to offer them support. 

Christmas can be a particularly difficult and isolating time for care leavers as they find themselves having to spend the festive season on their own.

However, the charity Family Action runs Listening Works, a free virtual helpline specifically for young care leavers aged 18-27 years old across the UK. 

We are here all evening, every evening 6pm to midnight. 

So if you are a care leaver, whether you’ve got something on your mind or you just fancy a friendly chat, we’re here for you when many other services are shut or not available. 

You can call us on 0808 802 0222, text us on 07860 065 169 or you can have a web chat with us via our website – whatever kind of listening works for you, we are here.

Our trained volunteers can offer you someone to talk to – a listening ear, a friendly voice and a chance to talk openly about whatever’s on your mind. 

We also offer signposting to useful resources if any specific issues come up and information about other support out there and how to get it.

So if you are a care leaver, or know a care leaver who might benefit, please remember Listening Works is here for you. 

Please get in touch.

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