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Never mind paving over Brick Lane—just get rid of the crime and grime’

PUBLISHED: 16:04 21 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 05 October 2010

Dear Editor, Never cross a pub landlady. It feels as if I’ve already been barred from the Pride of Spitalfields. You’ve got to admire Ann Butler for battling to allow tables and chairs outside her great little booze. But the only confusion is why the demand to clear up the crime and grime’ blighting the neighbourhood has suddenly been obscured by a call for pedestrianising that came out of nowhere

Dear Editor,

BLIMEY! Never cross a pub landlady. It feels as if I’ve already been barred from the Pride of Spitalfields.

Ann Butler clearly wants the same thing as everybody else living in and around Brick Lane in London’s East End.

You’ve got to admire her for battling to allow tables and chairs outside her great little boozer in Heneage-street.

But the only confusion is why the longstanding local demand to clear up the crime and grime’ blighting the neighbourhood has suddenly been obscured by a call for pedestrianising that came out of nowhere.

The East London Advertiser helped score a magnificent grassroots victory over Tower Hamlets council’s barmy plan to close Bancroft Archive and History Library.

But campaigning to make Brick Lane traffic-free is nowhere near as clear-cut, as a recent Advertiser survey feature illustrated.

After all, the Banglatown end and beyond is already semi-pedestrianised-and now you can actually walk along without having to negotiate a clutter of A-boards and clamber past restaurant tables.

Only a few years ago, there was a massive response against full-scale pedestrianising on grounds of cost and because we all knew it would create mayhem for businesses and for the high-density population here.

So why not let’s join together in a winnable clean-up campaign that takes its cue from Ann Butler's pub? Let’s call it Put the pride back into Spitalfields.’

The Advertiser could make a start by helping to name and shame’ the three invisible councillors who see what's going on for years and never lift a finger to help.

We also have to persuade the police borough commander to provide visible policing all day on Sundays to drive out the thieves, gangs of arrogant illegal DVD sellers and cocky class A street druggies who seem to have taken up permanent residence.

And what about all those CCTV cameras? The operators must be putting their feet up and doing the crossword rather than zooming in on the open criminality.

What’s the point in sitting happily outside the Pride of Spitalfields supping a glass of Ann Butler’s finest when you've got skunk merchants, aggressive beggars and edgy’ graffiti taggers scuttling past you as if Brick Lane belonged to them?

It’s enough to turn your beer flat!

Put the pedestrianising idea on the backburner and let's give Brick Lane a clean sweep now, so that we can all walk down it with pride in Spitalfields.

Roger Foss

Deal-street, Spitalfields

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