Recorder letters: Housing, a big thank you and Reuse Revolution

PUBLISHED: 12:21 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 22 October 2019

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: SOPHIE MORTON

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: SOPHIE MORTON


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

What we need is fewer conferences and more action

Imran Khan, full address supplied, writes:

I read with interest the article in your last issue "Londoners' needs should be at the heart of solving the housing crisis" and wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

The article related to a meeting on housing, yes another one, convened by the mayor of London Sadiq Khan and was apparently convened to see that the "needs of Londoners must not be lost in the quest to solve the housing crisis".

This last statement was just one of the pieces of gobblygook that was apparently spouted and was among the more easily understood.

What happened at the inaugural Homes for Londoners which took place at a conference centre at The Royal Docks was that 400 people came together to be told that there was a housing crisis and that something has to be done about!

In case the message didn't get through there are two more planned, later this year the National Housing Federation will have a London Development Conference and Exhibition and next year in Manchester there will be, wait for it, Housing 2020.

Every year it seems there are more and more housing conferences, google them, where the great and the good and the not so good come together to talk about the housing crisis.

And when they have finished they all agree to meet again soon to have another conference to talk about, yes you've guessed it, the housing crisis.

Yet under the noses of the distinguished delegates lies the answer, or a very large part of it, to the problem they were discussing, land. And land that is already in public ownership.

I became aware of this when I read the website of a former Tower Hamlets Council leader Helal Abbas In an article "Small is Beautiful" he lays out plans to identify thousands of plots of land that are already in council ownership but which because of the grandiose plans of politicians and developers are ignored.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that in the area of east London covered by the Archant group there is already enough publicly owned land to build a substantial proportion of the thousands of homes needed.

What is needed from the politicians is less talk, fewer conferences and more action.

A start would be to enlist the likes of Abbas Uddin to start the process of identifying all of the land that he describes and that doesn't mean having another conference. What Sadiq Khan should do, and let's start in east London, is an authority to without delay carry out ward by ward surveys and then authorise schemes. Let us declare the conference season over.

Thanks for your support

Ed Tallis, head of services, Macmillan Cancer Support, London, writes:

You may also want to watch:

This year our World's Biggest Coffee morning fundraiser entered its 29th year.

In community centres, schools and workplaces, thousands of coffee mornings were held across London to raise money and help us support people affected by cancer.

I would like to offer a huge and heartfelt thanks to every single one of your readers who held or attended a coffee morning - your energy and generosity never ceases to amaze us.

Whether it's specialist cancer nurses, support workers, GPs, advisers, or supporting local communities in London, we can only offer the support that people with cancer need, thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of our supporters.

There are around 200,000 people living with cancer in London alone.

The number of people who need Macmillan's help is growing and we want to offer support to everyone who needs it.

Please rest assured that every cake, every brew, every penny raised will now go on to help us to achieve this ambition.

And please remember, if you need information, support or a chat with Macmillan you can call us free on 0808 808 0000.

If you'd like to support Macmillan and do something amazing today, you can also visit

Thank you all so very much.

Join the Reuse Revolution

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director, British Heart Foundation (BHF), writes:

Last year the British Heart Foundation rescued 74,000 tonnes of items from landfill due to the generous donations of our supporters.

But we know that there are still so many more sofas,

side boards and beds out there that aren't yet ready

for the tip and could provide an ideal and affordable answer for those looking to furnish their home on a budget.

This month we are asking the public to join the Reuse Revolution and shop, upcycle or donate their second hand furniture while helping to raise funds for life-saving research in to heart and circulatory disease. You can simply call your local shop to arrange a free donation.

For further information on the Reuse Revolution and information about how to locate your nearest BHF shop, please visit

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