Recorder letters: Public toilets, cancer care, congestion charge and kitten crisis

A lot of public toilets remain closed. Picture: PA Images

A lot of public toilets remain closed. Picture: PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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

Lack of public toilets is restrictive

Caroline Russell, London Assembly member, writes:

With more cafes and bars reopening and serving customers outdoors, the issue of where to spend a penny after buying a pint has caused upset in neighbourhoods across London, as punters use public spaces to pee.

Given the situation we are now living in, where the normal loos people would use are still shut, we are all finding ourselves constrained by ‘loo leashes’ which are so much more restrictive for people with disabilities.

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Earlier this year I put forward a fully-costed plan to the Mayor of London that found £18m to build new public toilets around Transport for London (TfL) stations, including accessible ones, and make all the existing ones free.

It found support across the assembly, because who hasn’t ever been caught short?

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I have written to Robert Jenryck, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government to make this loo package part of TfL’s rescue fund, to allow people to enjoy a day out without restricting their lives more than necessary.

We are all finding this time very difficult, but we should not be further limiting people who want to escape their homes and take a walk.

Don’t forget to seek cancer help

Macmillan Cancer Support’s London GPs; Dr Kate Rees, Dr Owen Carter, Dr Zareena Cuddis, Dr Reshma Shah, Dr Afsana Safa, Dr Bunmi Olajide, Dr Abhijit Gill, Dr F.Malik, Dr George Pavey, Dr Caroline Hollington, Dr Sarah Shelley, Dr Robert Palmer, Dr Surina Chibber, Dr Tania Anastasiadis, Dr Nitika Silhi, Dr Winnie Kwan, Dr Meena Nathan, Dr Kanika Rai, Dr Lyndsey Williams, Dr Anna Down, Dr Meenal Patel, Dr Margarita Thomson, Dr Shanaz Meeran, Dr Abirame Sambasivan, Dr Zaitun Ahmed-Jushuf, Dr Jaimin Patel and Dr Nicola Weaver, write:

As Macmillan GPs working across London we are very concerned by indications that the number of people contacting their doctor about possible cancer symptoms has significantly declined in the last few weeks - something we are seeing in our own practices and hearing from colleagues.

Cancer presents in many ways and hasn’t stopped because of Covid-19.

That’s why we are urging Londoners to get in touch with their GP immediately if they experience common symptoms of cancer including changes to their body, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, lumps or bleeding, coughs or new, unexplained pain anywhere in your body which doesn’t go away after three weeks.

Surgeries are now offering appointments over the phone or virtually, which can be accessed easily and securely.

Your GP wants to hear from you. We are determined that cancer should not be the forgotten ‘C’ in this pandemic.

Concerns over congestion charge

Keith Prince, London Assembly member, transport spokesman, writes:

Londoners will be rightly feeling robbed, and undoubtedly, many small businesses and working people will be seriously worried about their ability to work and trade in central London.

Sadiq Khan’s congestion charge hike will hammer working Londoners and hurt our city’s economic recovery.

For four years, the mayor has pursued transport policies he knew London couldn’t afford. The mayor’s fares freeze and continued delays to Crossrail have cost the taxpayer billions in lost revenue and bailouts.

On Khan’s watch, TfL has reached a record debt of £12 billion and 22 major transport upgrades have been delayed or cancelled to solve its money woes. It’s no surprise that TfL has crumbled during this crisis.

First, the mayor tried to shirk responsibility for his decision to hike the congestion charge. Then, he prevented Londoners from having their say by holding an appallingly short consultation.

Instead of playing the blame game, Khan should have listened to Londoners’ concerns and abandoned his disastrous congestion charge plan.

Help prevent a new kitten crisis

Sarah Reid, acting head of Neutering, Cats Protection, writes:

Cats Protection is asking cat owners to help prevent a kitten crisis.

Due to fewer vets doing neutering during Covid-19, the charity estimates as many as 84,000 extra kittens could be born this summer.

This is why we are urging people to keep their unneutered cats indoors, and also unneutered males and females and siblings apart, until vet practices can become fully operational and resume neutering.

Cats Protection has produced an infographic with useful tips on how to stop cats becoming pregnant:

The charity can also support owners on limited incomes with the costs of neutering. Call Cats Protection’s Neutering Line on 03000 121212 (option 2) or visit the charity’s website at

A survey of 1,000 cat owners has highlighted many are unaware of the importance of neutering and the consequences for not neutering cats at the earliest opportunity. 77 per cent were unaware that a female cat can become pregnant from four months old and 86pc didn’t know that an unneutered female cat can have as many as 18 kittens in a year.

Our fear is that many kittens born will be left on the streets. Cats Protection is full up with cats and, owing to Covid-19, is unable to admit many more except in emergencies.

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