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Recorder letters: Stratford Centre, derelict pubs and get fit for charity

PUBLISHED: 12:30 09 June 2019

Anti-social behaviour is on the increase in Stratford Centre. Picture: KEN MEARS

Anti-social behaviour is on the increase in Stratford Centre. Picture: KEN MEARS

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

Anti-social acts at shopping centre need to stop

Gianluca Rizzo, Stratford Original BID (Business Improvement District); Tony Peters, Stratford Centre and David Richards, St John's Church, write:

We write to raise serious concerns about the deteriorating and dangerous situation developing at the Stratford Centre and the surrounding area.

Stratford Centre Mall has long been a magnet to homeless people sleeping rough at night. Many of the people who bed down in the centre are extremely vulnerable and are increasingly at the mercy of others who use it as a gathering place, where street drinking, drug taking, drug selling and other anti-social behaviours (ASB) are becoming increasingly problematic for businesses, employees, residents, the centre staff and visitors.

The level of anti-social-behaviour, drug use, violent crime and rough sleeping present challenges for the staff and management at the mall and other surrounding businesses.

On daily basis, they are dealing with unacceptable levels of harassment, intimidation and violence, particularly at night.

The mall and the surrounding service roads are being used as an open toilet, which in addition to being incredibly unpleasant present a real risk to public health and safety.

Last month's eviction of squatters from Stratford Office Village has led to an increase in rough sleeping both inside the Mall and in the immediate surroundings (Meridian Square, St John's Church Yard, The Broadway).

Tents have begun to pop up and are creating a hazard both to those using them and those who have to negotiate their way around them.

We have already seen a murder in the centre and our fear is that if the situation isn't tackled soon, this area of Stratford could become a no-go area with dire consequences for the community, the vulnerable, for businesses and the reputation of Stratford and the wider borough.

We have raised these issues already with the police, the council and third sector who have been working hard to tackle the problems but a local long-term solution must be found.

We pledge to offer whatever help we can to support the authorities - but they must act urgently to protect and support vulnerable homeless people, our customers, our businesses, our employees, our residents and our visitors.

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Pubs should not be left in disrepair

Richard Sheppard, White Road, Stratford, writes:

On my travels around Stratford, I was pleased to notice that since my last letter, work has been done to secure the former Office Village site.

Heartened by this, I thought I would chance my arm on the thorny subject of derelict pubs.

The truth is there are pubs, like the former Army Navy Pub awaiting decisions about their futures dotted al around the borough. I have three of the oldest former pubs nears me including the Listed Spotted Dog, former home of Clapton FC.

The problem is that over time, these old buildings fall into disrepair or fall pray to squatters, which is no good to anyone.

I have said before, I am sorry about the loss of the East End's local pub heritage and the way of life I grew up in but I recognise life moves on which is why I agree that if a pub is of no historical or local interest, it should be made easier to get permission to redevelop them.

The only wish I would have is that the land they sit on it protected from greedy developers and used to build truly affordable housing for those of us who find ourselves being priced out of the borough we love by gentrification, but, I suppose there is more chance of knitting fog than that happening isn't there?

Month-long fitness drive for charity

Mr Motivator, Fitness Guru, c/o Bowel Cancer UK, writes:

Both my wife and I are aware of bowel cancer and make sure to take our screening tests when they arrive every two years, but we also try and make lifestyle choices that lower our risk of developing bowel cancer.

Exercise is obviously a huge part of my life but knowing the massive effect that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can have on my long term health, is a great extra motivator.

That's why I'm supporting Bowel Cancer UK's latest fundraising challenge, Step up for 30, to encourage the nation to get sponsored to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 30 days in June. Every 30 minutes someone dies of bowel cancer in the UK.

- Sign up to Step up for 30 at bowelcanceruk.org.uk

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