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Recorder letters: East Ham regeneration, post-Brexit, support children and the budget

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 December 2017

East Ham Town Hall is viewed as a prime asset. Picture: STEVE POSTON

East Ham Town Hall is viewed as a prime asset. Picture: STEVE POSTON

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

We continue to invest in East Ham

Cllr Mas Patel, mayoral advisor for regeneration, writes:

Regarding the column in last week’s edition by Kevin Jenkins about regeneration in Newham not reaching East Ham.

This council makes great effort to ensure that the benefits of growth are spread across the whole borough and not simply concentrated in one or two areas, to avoid the ‘Canary Wharf’ effect as seen in Tower Hamlets.

The facts simply do not justify his comments that East Ham is a ‘sad reflection’ of what it once was. Contrary to this negative view it is clear that East Ham has benefited hugely from the hard work done by the council to ensure that the benefits of growth are spread across the whole of Newham.

Our vision for East Ham is set out in the adopted 2012 Local Plan Core Strategy which is published on the council’s website. East Ham town centre has recognised heritage assets, employment, civic and community spaces, good accessibility by bus, foot and Tube, and a vibrancy and popularity complemented by its independent shops as well as a range of major chains.

The current developments in East Ham prove how serious we take this vision and they also prove the huge value and worth we have for our prime heritage asset, that is East Ham Town Hall. Furthermore, Historic England regularly scrutinise all our work to ensure that the integrity of the site is properly preserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.

East Ham has seen significant investment in: the construction of a new customer service centre and library and its reconfiguration to also deliver a Community Neighbourhood Centre, which has hosted hundreds of community related events; the investment in East Ham leisure centre and the refurbishment of the former technical college to form Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre, which is now one of the top 15 A-Level providers in the country.

These and other changes have had a significant impact on the local community and footfall for the library compared to 2013-14 has increased by 10,000, with 3,500 more people joining the library since the changes were introduced.

East Ham is also in the fore-front of our minds when we speak to others around growth and infrastructure in Newham, and we are vigorously making the case for an eastern extension of Crossrail 2 to pass through East Ham, knowing the impact this would have on this hugely important part of our borough.

Finally, it is clear that London is moving east and Newham is developing fast. East Ham is, and always will be, a significant part of our strategy for growth in our borough.

More investment is key post-Brexit

Will Podmore, by email, writes:

Philip Hammond could have followed George Osborne’s failed policy of imposing more public spending cuts and raising taxes.

Instead, he is increasing spending and borrowing - an extra £2.7 billion of borrowing in 2018-19 and £9.2 billion in 2019-20, when we leave the EU.

But it is not nearly enough. We need far more investment in the key areas of industry, apprenticeships and infrastructure.

As Unite the Union rightly urged, in its publication, Brexit on our terms: Unite strategy to defend manufacturing: jobs, investment and employment rights, (October 2016), “… a long-term strategy for manufacturing is needed in which the government deploys every tool at its disposal. This must include direct investments, such as strategic use of the £200 billion public sector procurement budget. Investment and incentives for the training of skilled apprenticeships would not only benefit existing manufacturers and the supply chain, it would remove a vital barrier to re-shoring. The UK government must also retain the right to directly intervene in the defence of strategic industries… The government must not only retain its sovereign right to directly support and defend industry and UK manufacturing; it must exert the political will to do so. This must not be bartered away in negotiations for access to the Single Market or in any Free Trade Deal... The government must abandon the failed politics of austerity with direct investment in UK industry and infrastructure. Such investment should replace any lost EU funding while stimulating demand for manufacturing.”

Support children this Christmas

Hannah Vince, fundraiser at The Children’s Trust, writes:

As the festive season approaches, we’re asking readers to help us raise money for some very special children during their Christmas celebrations this year.

The Children’s Trust is asking you to put on your seasonal smile, don your festive socks and frocks and show some Christmas spirit by joining Festive Friday, a national dress-up day, on December 8.

The downloadable Festive Friday toolkit complete with DIY selfie props is the perfect accompaniment for your Christmas party and those festive party photos, in return for a suggested donation of £2.

Each pack includes classic Christmas pudding glasses, Santa’s hat and beard, a trendy holly bowtie and some naughty and nice signs to stir things up a bit! Money raised will help to support children with brain injury from across the UK.

Sign up today at thechildrenstrust.org.uk/festivefriday. Thank you.

Budget is missed opportunity

Dr Gary Marlowe, BMA (British Medical Association) London regional council chairman, writes:

With the NHS facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, the budget announcement has fallen short of what is needed to address the long-term funding problems which unfortunately look set to continue.

In north, central and east London, increasing pressure on services means that many waiting time targets haven’t been met for years and patients face longer delays to see their GP as the crisis in general practice has left many surgeries struggling to cope.

As government figures published this week reveal a significant fall in the number of GPs and three in four medical specialities struggling to fill training places, recruitment and retention should be a priority for the NHS, yet the budget offers little solution to this crisis.

The chancellor’s failure to commit to extra funding for public health issues means that the damaging impact of alcohol, tobacco and poor diet will continue to cost the NHS billions each to year to treat. Whilst the proposals in the budget will go some way towards easing short-term pressures, this was largely a missed opportunity.

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