Ham&High letters: Hampstead police station, Ravenscroft Medical Centre, Brexit, 5G and helping plants

The former Hampstead police station, in Rosslyn Hill. Picture: Harry Taylor

The former Hampstead police station, in Rosslyn Hill. Picture: Harry Taylor - Credit: Archant

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

Reopen the Hampstead police station

Hervey F Blake, St John's Wood, full address supplied, writes:

How I agree with Andrea Taylor's bold letter (Your Opinions) that the old Hampstead police station is surely worth another chance?

This beautiful building which combined with a magistraites court, was for many years steeped in the history of Hampstead, is still sadly missed as a thriving police station which gave confidence and support to the local community and kept a lid on criminal activities.

We have endless primary/independent schools already in the area so are well covered for the 3-11 pupil age group.

The traffic difficulties caused by such an abundance of schools at the beginning and ending of the school day are endless. Buses struggle to get through Fitzjohn's Avenue, Hampstead High Street and Rosslyn Hill as the quite narrow roads are so congested at busy times.

The environment just cannot cope or improve unless we are mindful of this.

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There is a primary school to the south of Camden (St Aloysius) which has closed for good this summer. Could not that building be considered for Abacus School where there is probably a need for more primary school places anyway?

Our old police station, if it cannot be re-opened, could become a wonderful asset for community use by residents, workers and visitors alike.

Perhaps a museum, library, arts workshops, or perhaps an educational resource centre for ALL the schools in the area to utilise.

Please join campaign to stop surgery relocation

Save Our Surgery, committee to save Ravenscroft Medical Centre, full contact details supplied, writes:

This letter is addressed to every patient of Ravenscroft Medical Centre in NW11.

The surgery has received permission to close its Golders Green site and move to Finchley Memorial Hospital - a distance of over three miles away from the Ravenscroft location and with extremely poor local transport access.

Those patients who will move with the surgery and who depend on public transport, will face a journey of at least 40 minutes - plus a 10 -15 minute walk from the nearest bus-stop to the hospital.

For those patients who decide to leave this surgery, their choice will be limited, and will, without a doubt, clog up the already over-crowded Golders Green surgeries decreasing the levels of service currently experienced by patients.

We will not accept this decision, and will fight it all the way to a Judicial Review which we have been advised stands a very good chance of success.

Please join us in our campaign to SAVE OUR SURGERY. Although a number of different approaches are being taken by different organisations, this campaign is being organised for the patients - by the patients.

This is not an appeal for money but for your support.

If you are a member of the surgery, please contact us by email, WhatsApp or text, stating your name, approximate age and contact details, and we will get back to you with details of how you can help. Total confidentiality is also guaranteed.

Your support is vital to out campaign.

saveoursurgery@gmail.com, tel/text/WhatsApp: 07956 234524

Surgery move is not practicable

Emma Jean Davis, writes:

The Ham&High has truly demonstrated you have the interests of the community at the heart of what you do.

There is real and widespread distress amongst the 7,000 patients at Ravenscroft Medical Centre at the Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group's (BCCG) decision to ride roughshod over patients' views and move the practice an unprecedented 3.2 miles to Finchley Memorial Hospital (FMH).

Most galling is the fact that a consortium of Finchley GP practices applied to occupy the empty GP facility at the hospital but were turned down by the BCCG.

Finchley patients would simply have had to "walk round the corner", whereas Ravenscroft mothers with sick babies and several children in tow will have to do over an hour's journey one way on several buses plus a 1O minute walk on a dark winter's snowy night to see their former Golders Green Road Ravenscroft GP at FMH.

The only difference in the applications that Ravenscroft patients can see is that Ravenscroft's GP principal is vice-chairman of the BCCG, whereas the Finchley GP consortium does not sit on the BCCG board.

The BCCG should recognise this decision brings its reputation into disrepute.

Under the NHS code of practice with regard to conflict of interest any act which appears to be such is ruled out. The BCCG must reverse this decision and adopt the Finchley GP consortium as occupier of the empty GP facility at the Finchley Memorial Hospital.

Brexit 'crisis' is gravest since war

Matt Sanders, Liberal Democrat councillor 2007-2014, Camden, writes:

It was excellent to see such a strong turnout in Russell Square this weekend, at Camden's cross-party demonstrations against the shutdown of parliament.

Many more Camden residents joined the protests in Westminster and outside parliament.

This is, of course, a borough where 75per cent of voters wished to remain in the European Union - but whether you voted Leave or Remain we should all be able to agree that, as our country faces the gravest crisis since the Second World War, our elected representatives in parliament have a vital role to play in scrutinising the government's actions.

So it is right to take a stand against Boris Johnson's shameful attack on democracy, and it is right for people across parties to come together to do whatever it takes to stop a dangerous and extreme no-deal Brexit.

Remain campaigners, however, need to keep our eyes focussed on the big picture.

The truth is that any form of Brexit will have a disastrous impact on our local communities.

Stopping the prorogation and stopping a no-deal exit are important steps on the journey - but our destination must be a People's Vote where ordinary people have the opportunity to think again about the kind of country we want to live in.

A genuine cross-party Remain campaign must put stopping Brexit as it's central objective - no ifs, no buts. That requires Jeremy Corbyn finally coming off the fence and ending any ambiguity about Labour's position.

In the meantime, hundreds of Camden residents will fight on to defend the liberal, democratic country that we know Britain to be.

No Deal will make life harder

Emily Burnham, Huntingdon Road, East Finchley, writes:

Our local MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, is one of the government whips responsible for forcing Tory MPs to vote against an extension of the Brexit deadline. He is directly involved with making "No Deal" on October 31 more likely.

We are already suffering from the decimation of local services and more cuts are in the pipeline.

Many residents in Barnet are unable to meet their basic living costs. Mike Freer himself knows that "No Deal" can only make life harder. Yet he continues to do the government's dirty work. Shame on him!

Help stop the PM's Brexit coup

Tanya Bluestone, Muswell Hill, writes:

I'm appalled that the government wants to suspend parliament in September.

With the Brexit deadline around the corner, it means MPs won't have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit or scrutinise the government at one of the most critical times in our country's history.

This is an outrage and undermines the very idea of democracy.

With just a few weeks before Brexit, we need politicians in parliament, doing their jobs to make sure we leave the European Union in the best possible way for the sake of future generations.

That's why I've joined the campaign calling for Boris Johnson not to suspend parliament to ram through an undemocratic Brexit, which will do nothing to provide closure and bring the country back together.

This is the time for MPs to showcase bold and decisive leadership.

I would like to encourage everyone else in our area to sign the petition at Change.org/StopTheCoup

We need safer alternative to 5G

Mark Taylor, campaign manager, SayNoTo5G, writes:

The UK government is holding an under-publicised consultation on the Electronic Communications Code (EECC).

This is on the conditions for a more rapid adoption of 5G mobile communications technology, the first wave of which was launched recently.

The advice MPs have received is that the technology is safe for mass use, but this is yet to be proven. The guidance only covers limited heating effects.

A planned wave of 5G will use very high frequency pulsed radiation (MMW).

Safeguards on other ionising radiation suggest that this should not be trialled in public places such as near schools or via antennae on lamp posts outside our homes.

Over 200 scientists have called for a halt on expansion until it can be proved safe.

The authorities should concentrate on safer alternatives such as wired broadband and Light-Fi.

For more on the consultation, visit saynoto5g.uk/eecc. You can respond until September 10 via EECC@culture.gov.uk

How plants can benefit medicine

William Milliken, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, RH17 6TN, writes:

Traditionally, elder was used as a medicine to treat foot-rot in cattle (Norfolk), comfrey to treat coughs in cattle (Cumbria), and foxglove to treat mange or fleas in dogs (Gloucestershire).

Plants have been used for thousands of years in the British Isles to treat animals, or as feeds to improve their health.

This information was then passed down from one generation to the next generation and was often not written down.

How much of this knowledge remains in the population?

The Ethnoveterinary Medicine Project, established by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, aims to collect the remaining information before it is lost: an important part of the traditional culture.

However, this knowledge could also be used practically in animal management (livestock, pets), to improve their health and the economy.

If you have any information about ethnoveterinary medicines, feed supplements or other information relating to plants/fungi and animal health from the British Isles, please send an email to ethnovet@kew.org. Or alternatively, write to me at the above address.