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Letters of the week (03/03/2016)

‘Thank you for opening up Millwall situation’

Thank gawd for the article by Joey Millar to open up the whole situation about the regeneration by Renewal, (‘Revealed:?Millwall’s regeneration plans, February 25th 2016).

I would just like to know why has the whole thing been conducted in such secrecy? I knew what was going to happen at the end of the day. In the article it states: “Renewal has spent over ten years working with the council” – that’s a long time to develop close relationships with people. Pity they didn’t see fit to do that with Millwall. Or as it comes to light, other people who stand in their way for the development of the area.

The plain facts are they want to do everything behind “closed doors”.

Let’s face the truth: I was born and brought up in Peckham during the ‘50s, where you played as a nipper was on bomb sites left over from the second World War. There was no interest from property sharks to develop the land for working people. But let’s get back to reality, Millwall has been under the cosh before and survived and we will again.

KJ Barry, by email.

‘‘Intentionally homeless’ for having rent arrears?’

We are deeply saddened to hear of the eviction Faysal Abdirahman and his family by Southwark Council (‘Council stands by decision to evict Imam and seven kids, February 25th 2016).

Like many Southwark residents, we are disgusted by Southwark’s treatment of vulnerable homeless people and their use of bailiffs and police to terrorise our communities. We know from reports and photos that the police and bailiff presence was well over 50 people that day. We are also concerned that Cllr Livingstone’s comments are misleading and insulting when he states that because the family were in rent arrears they are therefore legally ‘intentionally homeless’. This is an incredibly dangerous and irresponsible statement from him.

The disastrous combination of welfare and housing benefit cuts, low wages, and rising rents means that more and more people are falling into rent arrears and threatened with homelessness. Having rent arrears does not necessarily mean you are ‘intentionally homeless’ in homelessness law. As the term suggests, for someone to be deemed ‘intentionally homeless’ there must be a deliberate act or deliberate lack of action that resulted in the person’s homelessness. For example, deciding one day not to pay the rent even though you have the money to could be deemed making yourself intentionally homeless – this is very rarely the case. The reality is often that people fall into rent arrears because they simply do not have the money to cover the rent. This does not make you intentionally homeless.

Secondly, Livingstone states that after finding the family ‘intentionally homeless’, the council had no duty to provide them with housing any longer, however homelessness law states that the council must give a reasonable amount of time for them to find alternative accommodation. As the family have been unable to secure an alternative, clearly, the time given by the council was not reasonable.

Elizabeth Wyatt, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth.

‘Clear your dog’s mess up off footpaths!’

I have noticed an increase of dogs being allowed to foul on the pavements and footpaths around the area of Canada Water.

It has to be one of the most disgusting sights to come across and it’s increasing at an alarming rate.

Everywhere you care to walk nearby to Surrey Quays Road, including the open space outside the library, you come across the offensive mess. It is utterly disgusting.

The problem lies with the dog owners themselves. They should act responsibly and clear their own dog’s mess up. The street cleaners should not be expected to deal with this anti-social problem and it’s more noticeable that the dogs mess now appears to be left where it is until it disappears naturally. Naturally meaning with the help of rain or if you are unfortunate enough to walk through it! Totally disgusting.

Clear message to dog owners in the area – clean your own dog’s mess PLEASE. Thank you.

Michelle Page, by email.

‘Canada Water plans are positive’

I feel that your article “Shock for Rotherhithe residents as £2bn Canada Water plan is unveiled”, 11 February, mistook the views of a small number of Rotherhithe residents for the majority’s.

The same vocal minority followed up with a letter in your paper the following week (“No shared vision at Canada Water”), and I feel that someone now needs to redress the balance.

I was not in the least “shocked” at seeing British Land’s masterplan for the area, and I struggle to see how anyone can have been, as it is exactly what has been trailed in a long series of consultations.  More to the point, it’s precisely the kind of forward-looking and high-quality development that the area sorely needs, bringing among other benefits:  new public spaces, including a new park (which will more than compensate for the trees felled to make way for a new leisure centre); new restaurants and shops; better pedestrian and cycling routes;  and lots of new sorely-needed housing. It is, in short, exactly the kind of regeneration I hoped to see come to Rotherhithe when I moved to the area a decade ago.

I am a fan of Andie Byrne’s informative blog about the history of Rotherhithe, so I hope that, rather than leaving the area as she threatens, she instead sticks around to see the regeneration take place. I’m sure that in time she will see what a vast improvement it will bring.

Tom Yates, Rotherhithe (by email).


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