Thursday, December 06, 2007

Falling Standards

Dear Editor
I write in sadness as a life-long resident of the Borough. Why is it that those purchasing homes in the area where I live find it necessary to rip out the insides of the houses immediately they take up residence, building into the roof and going outwards and upwards? In addition, when they do so why do they have to bring heavy vehicles and concrete mixers onto the pavement, breaking up the paving stones and leaving sand and rubble behind? A walk on the pavements of Aldborough Road North and roads nearby now resembles a ramble on a rough unmade country lane.
These new residents concrete over the entire front garden so that they can park their cars off-street. Whilst I regret the passing of the cultivated front garden, I accept – with some reluctance – the need for off-street parking, but why do they not leave any open ground through which the rain may drain and on which some greenery may grow? When it rains, the road drains are totally unable to cope with the quantity of water which runs off the concreted front gardens. To cross the road, you have to pick your way through puddles, which lie around sometimes for days. I fear that if there is a heavy deluge, floodwater will enter my home.
Even more amazing is the fact that a number of new residents are now not only concreting their front gardens, but their entire rear gardens as well - and building bungalows and massive extensions in the gardens, too. Aldborough Hatch will soon no longer be a green and pleasant place in which to live.
Spitting in the streets was a thing of the past. Not any more. Foul language is to be heard wherever you go, especially on public transport. Litter and used chewing gum are thrown down throughout the Borough. The Council has adequate litter bins and chewing gum boards in the town centre, but these are ignored. The last straw for me came recently when a mature lady spent the journey into Ilford on a 296 bus carrying out unmentionable personal ablutions and then wiping her hands on the bus seat cushion. Later that morning I spotted a used condom at the bus stop outside Ilford Station.
The time has come to take a stand against the lowering of standards. National legislation is needed to make it a criminal offence to concrete over entire gardens. Locally planners should refuse permission to make a driveway across a public pavement unless the homeowner makes adequate allowance in their front garden for water drainage and some green space. Planning permission for bungalows in back gardens should be refused.
Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers should be given the powers (if they do not already exist) to impose instant fines on those who spit, use foul language and drop litter or chewing gum. Bus drivers should be instructed to call the police when foul language is used and other unmentionable carryings on take place on their vehicles. And those who do not pay their fines within the required time should be given community service orders by the courts during which they would clear up some of the mess that they and others like them have caused.
Enough is enough! Let the silent majority stand up and be counted.
Yours sincerely,
Ron Jeffries


  1. As part of the non-silent majority I can only sympathise with Ron Jeffries but I think that he and his neighbours should count themselves as being extremely lucky that the problems which have been at epidemic levels for several years in many parts of the borough have only just begun to have such a hugely damaging effect upon their immediate locality. I can clearly recall the distress of an elderly lady resident from the Cranbrook area when, at one of the early meetings of the Agenda 21 project, she described how her immediate locality was rapidly being reduced to a state of semi-dereliction. The question that needs to be addressed is what has brought about this drastic state of affairs and it is there that one can find oneself in deeply political trouble; even worthy of a mention in the local newspapers I would suggest.

  2. "Deep political trouble" is the cutting edge of solutions!

  3. resident with a memory10:52 pm, December 06, 2007

    The basic reason is the combination of indifference and incompetence in the planning system. That's why the Ilford that I remember has given way to an east end slum. Now it's creeping northwards.

  4. In this case I'd rather be on the edge of a sticky solution than plonked right in the middle and be unable to extricate myself - think of mending a puncture on your bike matey. There could be people out there gunning for me you know!!!

  5. Having attended several area meetings, I have noticed, especially in area 4, that people are complaining bitterly about poor control of the planning laws regarding private developments.
    One of the reasons given is that there are not enough enforcement officers.
    From where I am, I think that there are quite a few councillors who are not doing a lot (my perception, no names mentioned). Now, could you retrain these councillors so that they become productive?

  6. Chere Anne

    Yes, there are councillors who don't pull their weight - on the other hand, planning laws are such that in any confrontation between the owner and the Council, the owner can win on appeal. Plus the costs of appeals against unpermitted constructions redounds ultimately to us, the council tax payer.

    Having said that, the Planning Dept has been a badly-managed mess for many years in Redbridge, but I have good reason to believe that it is now slowly being knocked into shape (but don't expect miracles yet).

    Whilst I agree and sympathise with Ron J about the gross building activities and razing of gardens in the Borough, what would be his solution? More laws, more bureaucracy? And in the end, we are talking about private property.

  7. In my opinion the ripping up of a front garden and its conversion to a car park represents a material change of use. This should therefore require planning permission to be obtained. The local authority would then have the power to set standards as a matter of policy, refusing those that do not conform.

    One of the reasons why ugly developments exist is the past failure to follow up complaints about unauthorised development. The default enables the offender, after a period of time, to get away with it under all kinds of curious provisions in the complex planning laws. Prompt attention to the complaint, whether from a member of the public or a councillor, could have enabled enforcement action to be taken. I know from (bitter) experience.....

  8. Dear Judith,
    Could you have opened a can of worms?If you come our way,you will see the destruction inflicted on a traditionally boring English dwelling, simply to bring it to a different taste, destroying the value of the property next door in the process. Numerous rules were broken, our reports were ignored, we think, because there is no feed-back and, as you say, things might take long to sort out. It's such a good excuse for inaction.
    A hard working (fed-up) councillor even jested that to deter these developments you might simply
    slap on extra council tax and that might make people think.