Recorder letters: MSG Sphere, homelessness and Grenfell firefighters

CGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSG

CGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSG - Credit: MSG

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

Missing facts in corporate-funded Sphere survey

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, Stratford, writes:

I very much agree with Kevin Jenkins that the planning decision on the proposed MSG Sphere in Stratford must, ultimately, favour local residents ('Decisions must favour the residents').

Unfortunately MSG has tried to muddy the waters regarding local sentiment about the Sphere - a textbook public relations trick - claiming a poll they commissioned shows 78 per cent of residents in Stratford, Forest Gate and West Ham support the proposed Sphere. However, what MSG don't mention in their corporate publicity materials is this Newham-wide poll also showed 76pc of respondents hadn't heard of the proposed Sphere.

What is surely more important than a carefully worded, corporate-funded poll is that 60pc of responses to the formal public consultation objected to the building of the Sphere - a fact also strangely missing from any of MSG's publicity materials.

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Welfare reforms blamed for homelessness

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly Member for City and East, writes:

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We recently saw City Hall release a report exploring the widely established link between the government's welfare reforms and rising levels of homelessness.

Cuts to Local Housing Allowance, the Benefit Cap and the rollout of both the 'Bedroom Tax' and Universal Credit have plunged many local people into huge rent arrears, and in some cases, onto the streets.

The already precarious living situation of the most vulnerable families in our community has been exacerbated by increases in rents and the costs of living.

If the government is serious about achieving its aim of ending homelessness by 2027, they need to listen to the recommendations of charities and reconsider a number of the damaging changes they have made to the welfare system.

A good start would be to abolish the current five-week wait for Universal Credit claimants to receive their first payment. This has caused serious hardship for too many Londoners.

On top of this, we also need to see the government act to strengthen tenants' rights in an often harsh and unforgiving private rented sector by swiftly abolishing section 21 evictions and introducing open-ended tenancies.

Firefighters not to blame for Grenfell deaths

Bill Sheehan, retired watch manager, London Fire Brigade, writes:

I was a London Fire Fighter for 28 years. My last five years of service was in Fire Safety East Ham, covering Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Havering.

Regarding the Grenfell fire, in all high rise multi occupied buildings there is an entrance door to the premises which leads to a lobby, the door on to the lobby is a minimum of 30 minutes' fire resistance.

Also the door leading to any floor is also minimum 30 minutes' fire resistance. Therefore the stairwell is minimum of one hour fire resistance. Taking into account the front door of the occupiers that is also minimum 30 minutes.

The pre-determined attendance for a fire engine to arrive for most of London is 10-12 minutes.

This means fire appliances would be in attendance to put the fire out in less than 15 minutes.

In the case of Grenfell there was a lack of fire doors above the lower floors, taking into consideration that the cladding was not fire resistance therefore causing rapid fire spread. Obliviously fire officers never knew that at the time.

In the case of vilifying commissioner Danny Cotton the whole of the LFB and retired fire fighters are 100 per cent behind her.

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