DUSTBIN COLLECTIONS OVER CHRISTMAS

Christmas service changes

The Council has advised that refuse/recycling collections will be one day later than usual for the week after Christmas.

Regular scheduled collection day Changed collection day
Monday 26 December Tuesday 27 December
Tuesday 27 December Wednesday 28 December
Wednesday 28 December Thursday 29 December
Thursday 29 December Friday 30 December
Friday 30 December Saturday 31 December

HOW HIGH CAN WE ALLOW DEVELOPERS TO BUILD?

Focus has previously reported on the massive high rise flat developments in Waltham Forest.

Forest Ward Focus Team members were with residents at the Planning Committee when the Council agreed the over development of buildings, of up to 18 storeys, in Lea Bridge Road.

Only recently Leyton Focus Team member Bob Sullivan and residents spoke against the 16 storey block at the end of Dunedin Road.

It appears that developers are having a field day as the Council continually agree the building of unaffordable multi high rise flats in the borough.

The latest plan submitted by the owners of the Mall shopping centre in Walthamstow is to build four blocks including one of 27 storeys!  Currently local residents have presented a 2,000 plus petition to the Council in protest against the plans. If you would like to support the local residents then contact ‘Save Walthamstow Town Centre’ on line: SAVE OUR TOWN CENTRE

Focus says:  In our experience the Labour Council never listens to residents and carries on agreeing the over development of every bit of land for multi high rise unaffordable flats.

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH POST BREXIT

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PETITION

Finding a cure to cancer. Saving the planet from climate change. Sending Tim Peake to space. All of these depend on European funding and co-operation.

But Brexit will seriously endanger cross-European science co-operation – a disaster for British science, and a disaster for so many of the projects that will bring us a better future.

Sign the petition ▶

The Liberal Democrats are fighting back with a petition to save our science research from the blow of Brexit, by campaigning for guarantees to continued European funding and co-operation.

But, we don’t have long to get as many signatures as possible before our scientists take our petition to David Davis.

Sign the petition ▶

If we succeed, British scientists will stay at the front of international spaceflight, combating climate change and curing cancer.

OLYMPIC PARK – SO MUCH FOR LEGACY!!

Last year a planning application was submitted for the creation of London’s largest concrete and asphalt factory – right at the centre of the Olympic Park, and in the middle of a dense residential area.

This development would have a dramatic impact on the local area and residents, creating 3 concrete batching plants and an Asphalt production plant adjacent to a heavily used green space.

The proposed plants, which will be next door to London Athletics and the new UCL East campus, are to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an estimated 900 heavy vehicles coming and going daily.

This will create an industrial blight on the area by introducing significant air, dust and noise pollution to what is otherwise a fast regenerating part of the city.

The planning applications have been submitted as four (4) wholly independent operations, without consideration given to their cumulative effects on an area now defined by new residential communities, pedestrian and cycling routes, recreational zones and athletics venues. There is a serious risk that hazardous chemical dust from concrete and asphalt manufacturing activities and associated vehicle fumes will raise air pollution to dangerous levels, resulting in asthma and other respiratory issues for the populations of Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The full applications can be found on LLDC’s planning website at http://planningregister.londonlegacy.co.uk/swift/apas/run/wphappcriteria.display : PA Refs: 15/00368/FUL / 15/00400/FUL / 15/00414/FUL / 16/00194/SCRES].

The proposal is scheduled for review before the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) planning committee as early as September 27th 2016. The LLDC was given special powers and a remit directly from the Mayor’s office to manage the Olympic Park area regeneration beyond 2012.

The LLDC is not directly accountable to local residents in the same way that the councils of Newham, Tower Hamlets or Hackney are. Consequently, the decision making of the LLDC will not always be in the interests of local residents. And it is the LLDC alone that has the final decision on whether this concrete batching development goes ahead.

The proposal of the concrete works is completely incompatible with the Mayor’s office ‘Clean Air for London Policy‘ or the current direction of residential and other developments planned for the area.

In order to protect the integrity and future development of the community, it is of paramount importance that a concerted effort be made by local residents and businesses to oppose this planning proposal NOW.

Please sign the petition today.

RESIDENTS’ PROTEST IGNORED

Residents outside the Town Hall protesting at the road closures introduced as part of the ‘Mini Holland’ scheme

The recent protest by over 1,200 residents against the road closures in Walthamstow and Leyton showed that the Council’s Mini Holland plans, including closing local roads, does not have the support of all residents despite the Council saying that they had.

Protesters not against the scheme or cyclists, but against road closures

The protesters went out of their way to say that they were not against the scheme or cyclists, but against the road closures. The Council’s plans have succeeded in causing division and anger across the Borough. The closing of roads has forced vehicles onto the already congested main roads like Lea Bridge, Hoe Street, and Leyton High Road and has resulted in a massive slow down of traffic, increased congestion and increased pollution.

Bob Sullivan addressing protesters outside the Town Hall

Congestion and pollution bad for all

All of this is detrimental to residents, cyclists, pedestrians and bus users. Focus Team member Bob Sullivan, who was in the Town Hall listening to the Mini Holland debate, was appalled by the Labour Council restricting residents from hearing the debate, as they only allowed 12 protesters in, although the chamber can hold over a hundred. He was shocked by the arrogant, illiberal attitude with which Labour Councillors treated residents’ concerns. They were not prepared to review the Mini Holland plans despite residents’ requests and their own Labour MP’s request.

Council continues to ignore residents

They are, in fact, going to ignore residents and continue to put in similar divisive plans across Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford!

PADDY POWER WINS APPEAL!

Paddy Power appeal victory paves way for sixth bookies in high street despite public outcry

7:00am Thursday 23rd April 2015 – Waltham Forest E-Guardian

Paddy Power has won the right to open a sixth betting shop in a high street despite public opposition.

The company was successful in appealing against a decision by Waltham Forest council’s planning committee to deny a change of use at 620 High Road, Leytonstone.

Paddy Power was granted a premises licence in October despite more than 1,200 people signing a petition against the move.

Yesterday, a planning inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities, ruled in the betting giants favour in a move a council spokesman described as “another example of an inspector not supporting local concerns regarding the clustering of betting shops.”

The betting shop will operate under the condition that it will not be open to customers after 10pm on any day of the week and CCTV is installed to deter criminal activity.

The inspector approved the application despite it adding an ‘obvious’ third betting shop to the immediate vicinity.

Following the closure of Leytonstone police station, the inspector also heard local concerns that the police presence in the area had been reduced, but said “The Metropolitan Police’s crime prevention officer did not raise this as a concern when consulted.”

The inspector continued:

I do not consider that an additional betting office within the immediate area would result in a significant alteration to the balance [of being a retail-led high street], or result in a clustering effect that would be detrimental to the retail attraction of the immediate area or wider centre.

The appellant operates a chain of betting offices, and although the use would not make a large contribution to local regeneration or have a significantly positive effect in tackling social deprivation, its corporate responsibility policies are clear and links with the local community are encouraged.

The FOCUS Team says:

Local people will be wondering what is the point of the Council spending time and resources securing changes to planning regulations, if they are going to be over-ruled by inspectors who choose to ignore local opinion.

POOL AND TRACK PLANS VOTED THROUGH DESPITE STRONG OPPOSITION

Controversial sports centre plan approved over loss of funding fear

8:18am Wednesday 11th March 2015 – Waltham Forest E Guardian

Plans for new £23million sports facilities in Walthamstow were controversially approved last night after thousands called for further public consultation.

Campaigners packed into council chamber last night heard as the planning committee heard impassioned speeches pleading for further dialogue over plans for the Pool and Track site in Chingford Road.

The proposal from council contractor Greenwich Leisure Limited would see the loss of a 5m diving board, a dedicated diving pool and other facilities for athletes, prompting a campaign backed by coaches, parents and young people.

Veteran diver Jonathon Fox, who travels to the borough from Stansted every week, said the plans have been put forward on a “like it or lump it” basis.

Many of us hoped this council would enter into a meaningful dialogue with the users of the Pool and Track,” he said.

Instead, it’s like going into a restaurant, being given a menu and being told you will have something completely different.

Diver and coach Michael Allen questioned the council’s commitment to the Olympic legacy.
He said:

Last year, I had to console young divers who have had to give up the sport because of lack of transport and additional costs for their parents.

I find it amazing that anybody could argue this is not a loss of amenity.

Mr Allen told the committee a lack of a dedicated diving area would mean swimmers and divers could not train at the same time, which would restrict hours.

Manager of the Waltham Forest Disability Resource Centre, Peri Stanley, said no disability groups were contacted over the project and said the plans undermined access.

She said:

Sport England says portable steps can be used, but this isn’t an existing pool, it is a brand new development and I can see no reason for such a makeshift compromise.

People have to wait and ask for steps is an unnecessary barrier to inclusion.

At the very least disabled users should have been consulted.

Head coach of the Orion Harriers Juniors athletics team, Jane Farrier, who carried the Olympic torch into the borough, said athletes would lose a “vital” stretch room under the plans.

She said:

For months council officers claimed no such stretch room existed. We have pictures of it being used by (Olympic gold medallist) Sally Gunnell.

I urge this committee to reject these plans so that proper and full consultation and designs can be accommodated.

Alistair Gibb, a BMX enthusiast, spoke in favour of the plans.

Chris Simons from Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) told the committee an extra 400,000 people are expected to use the new facility, but drew criticism when he dismissed the 5m diving board as ‘unnecessary’ when a 3m board would be in place.

He said:

This is about creating a five star facility for an affordable price.

We are trying to make this the best facility in London.

I don’t believe the 5m board is an issue.

Having had a 5m diving platform previously hasn’t actually produced any 5m divers at competition standard.

Chapel End ward councillor Steve Terry said it is with a “heavy heart” that he and his colleagues approved the plans, through fear of losing funding.

The plans were voted through by three to one.

Chingford councillor Alan Siggers ensured conditions were imposed to give the Harriers use of a room for stretching and ensure the re-location of toilets to eliminate safeguarding concerns.

POOL AND TRACK PLANNING FARCE!

Re-submitted Pool & Track plan ‘would be missed opportunity’

12:33pm Wednesday 4th March 2015 – Waltham Forest E-Guardian

Re-submitted plans for a multi-million pound investment in new sporting facilities will be a ‘wasted’ opportunity, according to campaigners.

Athletes, parents, children, teachers and councillors gathered last night to urge the council to reconsider a proposal for Walthamstow Pool and Track.

The authority and contractors Greenwich Leisure Limited were criticised for deciding not to replace a 5m diving board as part of the £25million scheme in Chingford Road.

In September plans to knock down the existing building and replace it were rejected by the council’s planning committee due to loss of amenity as the diving board, which is said to be vital for training youngsters, would be replaced by a spa and an ‘extreme sports’ arena.

But an application for the same proposal has been made, with the diving board not included.

Campaigners and other clubs say young athletes will also be disadvantaged if the proposal is approved.

A petition calling for further public consultation has been signed by 2,500 people.

Speaking at the Pool & Track last night, Orion Harriers club manager, Jane Farrier, said the planned facility would kill athletics.

A ‘well-used’ strength and conditioning room will be taken away under the new plans.

We were not consulted from day one

They are not integrating this track with the new centre and there are a number of big concerns with the new proposals.

For a start we will now have a safeguarding issue with children having to go right out of our sight to use the toilets and changing rooms.

There will be no track-side first aid.

We have no trust in them whatsoever. 

We do not dispute the centre needed to be developed,  but the emphasis has been placed on making money not improving what we already have.

We have 400 junior and 350 senior members. None of them were asked. 

Is consultation asking people what they want or telling them what they are getting?

Lesley Pearce, the teacher in charge of PE at Parkside School in Chingford, said

There is a desperate need for a large sporting venue for pupils to use.

If the council had consulted primary schools they would know we spend a huge amount of money transporting children to facilities in other boroughs.

With this amount of money they are spending – they have the chance build a major sporting hub and meet the needs of thousands of children. 

These plans are not suitable.

Walthamstow resident Amanda Connolly criticised the lack of consultation.

There is no transparency in this project. It should be about investing in the future.

Nobody has a problem with development or enterprise, but we haven’t even been asked what we need.

Green Party candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, Rebecca Tully, said the council should not expect children to travel to other boroughs for facilities.

There are children having to travel to outside boroughs and are getting home at ten o’clock on a school night. That is not what we want.

Many members of the community in Waltham Forest feel as though they have been ignored.

Jack Byrne, 11, is a member of the diving club. He said:

It’s not just about divers, it’s about swimmers too. 

With these plans we can’t use the pool at the same time.

Before I learned to dive I would try the 5m board and it was such a thrill.

I just wanted to do more. If they take it away other children won’t get to experience that.

We don’t need a spa here.

A dedicated planning meeting will be held at Walthamstow Town Hall on Tuesday (March 10).

GLL has not responded to repeated requests for interview from The Guardian.

Please sign the on-line petition below.

View the petition here

FAMILIES CHEATED OUT OF THEIR HOMES

Fred Wigg and Joihn Walsh Towers, Montague Road

In November a packed meeting of tenants voted for the option of refurbishment of kitchens and bathrooms for John Walsh and Fred Wigg tower blocks in Leytonstone. 
Tenants Ignored
However, the Labour Council over-ruled the tenants, agreeing a plan to strip back the towers to the core, completely refurbish the flats and build a smaller block between them.
Labour Selling Off Flats
Brand new flats for the tenants?  No! The Council wants to sell off one of the blocks to the private sector, thus reducing the number of Council flats from 232 to 160!  Waltham Forest has thousands of families on the waiting list, so a further reduction of affordable homes will dash the hopes of many people.  In effect Labour is getting rid of tenants who are, in the main, less well-off and inviting wealthy people to buy up the flats.
Labour MP and councillors ignore cries for help
The residents have asked their Labour MP and Labour councillors for help but they stay quiet.  They have even been ignored by one of their Labour councillors who was once a tenant in one of the blocks!

Focus says:

The Council has said tenants can go back once the refurbishment is complete.  This is rubbish as there will not be enough flats to house all of them!  One of the tenants has said “The Council is treating us worse than something stuck on their shoe”.

Focus will keep you informed of the tenants’ campaign to save their homes.

ASBESTOS DANGER AT WALTHAM FOREST TOWN HALL – LATEST ON COURT CASE

Waltham Forest Town Hall

Waltham Forest E Guardian 30 January 2015

A date has been set for the sentencing of Waltham Forest council for putting employees’ lives at risk by failing to deal with deadly asbestos in the basement of its town hall.

Despite being warned about the presence of asbestos in the basement of the Forest Road building in 2002, the matter was not dealt with and no workers warned of the potential danger.

Earlier this month at Westminster Magistrates Court, the council admitted four counts of failing to keep employees and visitors safe.

Sentence will take place at Southwark Crown Court on February 16.

The offences can to light when Leytonstone resident, Nick Tiratsoo, submitted a Freedom of Information request in 2012 and was told all documents requested were contaminated with asbestos, which can cause lung cancer.

Mr Tiratsoo alerted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which launched an investigation.

The court heard workers were based in the print room, one of many contaminated rooms, for up to 36 hours a week at one stage.

Kenneth Moore, who worked there for three years, said he will now worry about his health for the rest of his life and is focused on trying to keep fit.

He also said that employees were not told for ‘quite some time’ why they had been banned from entering the basement.

All three kinds of asbestos, including the most dangerous, were found in the basement, although it is not clear when it was disturbed.

District Judge Grant said the authority’s offences were too serious for sentence to pass immediately and referred the case to crown court.