The independent London newspaper

People will take pride in a green borough

30 August, 2019

• I SHARE many of the concerns expressed by MJL Hall (Clean up the gardens, August 23) including the mindless vandalism which is going on.

It is true that many front gardens are neglected. Part of the problem is that many houses have transient occupants who may not be there very long. They are housed by Islington Council who pay for the tenants.

The council should make it a condition for the landlords to look after their front gardens. They do have a duty of care and this should be enforced. This is the position in France and some other countries.

In addition there are many people who have gardens but for one reason or another they cannot look after them. It could be illness old age or absence for instance.

I look after the garden of a near neighbour. It was a mess before because he was often away. Now it is looked after and full of plants.

But I do not agree that street planters are an obstruction to pedestrians or cyclists. By that definition even trees and traffic lights are also an “obstruction”.

The priority is to have less traffic, especially 4×4 cars, and at much lower speeds. We must reduce car parking space everywhere. Why do we need so much space if car ownership is falling?

Think of the elderly. Think of the children who will have to get used to a different world. Some drivers and cyclists seem to think that humans are an obstacle! We need more greenery partly because it reduces air pollution. We may need new-style “treewalls” for this.

And gardening can bring people together. We can have nice front gardens and street planters. It is not either or but the best of both. As the borough becomes greener people will take more pride in it. So please MJL Hall be positive and give green a chance.

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