SAVE OUR LOCAL PHARMACIES!

Save Our Local Pharmacies Campaign

Local pharmacies under threat from the latest Conservative cuts to the national health budget.
This Government’s real terms cash cuts to pharmacies across the UK could be about to take their toll. The Lib Dems don’t as yet know what pharmacy used by hundreds of local people is facing closure, cutting off lifeline services for many elderly and vulnerable residents.

Local Campaigner Bob Sullivan says,

For many people the trip to get vital medicines from the pharmacy is long enough already.

Cutting money to local pharmacies is nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. It will only increase the strain on hospitals and GP’s practices at a time when the NHS is already in enough trouble.

The £170million reduction in NHS funding for community pharmacies will put pharmacies across Waltham Forest out of business too.

Local community pharmacies are vital to keep older frail people independent. These people need to be at the heart of our community, on our high streets, with people. In the community rather than in our hospitals.

You can sign our petition here and join hundreds of local people who are already backing the campaign.

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.

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.

£150M INVESTMENT TO TRANSFORM TREATMENT FOR EATING DISORDERS

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has announced a £150m investment to transform the treatment of children and young people with eating disorders.

Nick has secured the fund in this year’s Autumn Statement and forms part of the Liberal Democrats ongoing campaign to bring mental health services on a par with physical health care.

PLEASE CLICK TO SIGN OUR PETITION:

The Liberal Democrats are determined to change this and to end the stigma around mental health. We want mental health issues to be treated just as seriously as physical health issues.

The fund will be rolled-out over the next five years and paves the way for the introduction of new waiting standards.

Research shows an increasing number of young people, some as young as five are being admitted to hospital for treatment of eating disorders at a cost to the NHS of around £200m a year.

The new funding will focus on channelling money from expensive institutional care to local provision through:

– pilot schemes to get young people with eating disorders early access to services in their communities, with properly trained teams, making hospital admission a last resort.

– extending access to talking therapies so that children and young people have choice of evidence based therapies.

Nick said:

“Too often children with mental health problems are being completely let down by the current system, with many suffering from eating disorders going unreported and untreated.

“We know that if an eating disorder goes untreated for more than 3 to 5 years the chances of recovery are greatly reduced, while incidents of self harm increase.

“That’s why we need to act now to transform the current system, intervening earlier with dedicated and targeted community-based services to ensure that we don’t fail this generation or the ones that follow.”

POOL AND TRACK PETITION UPDATE

Multi-million pound plans to demolish and re-build a ‘state of the art’ sports centre have been axed from the council’s agenda for next week.

Campaigners, parents and budding sports stars had been preparing to protest at the town hall in Walthamstow, on Tuesday, as plans for the Chingford Road Pool and Track were to be debated for a second time.

A petition which has been signed by over 1,500 people was started two weeks ago, calling on the council to consult local people.

The plans, the second ones to reach the planning committee, have been slammed as the new centre will not include a 5m diving board, dive pit and will alter facilities for disabled people.

Waltham Forest council’s contractor, GLL Ltd, said the board is too expensive but are putting spa facilities and a BMX area in the plans.

In September the first plans were rejected over the proposed loss of amenity for local residents.

Today, it was revealed that the meeting has been deferred until March, where the will be a dedicated meeting over the facility.

In a letter to campaigner Ian Capes, a council officer wrote:

Due to the amount of interest in the plans it is important that we can accommodate as many members of the public as possible who wish to attend the meeting and play their part in the decision making process.

The decision comes on the same day the chairman of the planning committee was suspended from the Labour group over a Facebook rant over the words of the Prophet Mohammed.

The petition can be seen here:

https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-waltham-forest-lbwf-greenwich-leisure-limited-gll-aka-better-withdraw-planning-application-2014-2399-23m-pool-track-rebuild-and-consult-with-all-local-user-groups-about-the-design-specification

PRESS RELEASE: Labour cut free rat catching service

This year the Labour council will bring an end to their free rat catching service by introducing a new charge of £25.

They are also increasing the cost of pest control in other areas, putting up the cost of dealing with mice for those on council tax benefit from £60 to £75, a 22% increase.

Lib Dems have criticised the move saying it will cause more problems than it solves.

Lib Dem Environment spokesperson Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:

“This is a false economy. A growing rat population affects everyone. For every person that is put off reporting rats by this new charge, rats will spread further and faster across the Borough.

“Mice are a growing problem for residents too and it can often take two or three visits before they are cleared from your home, landing you with a bill of hundreds of pounds.”

“Just like their u-turns over parking charges and the living wage last year, it wouldn’t cost Labour much to reverse these bad decisions and back the priorities of residents.”

Lib Dem Leader Councillor Bob Sullivan said:

“Lib Dems will be finding money in our alternative budget to show that the Labour council could cut charges for mice and keep the rat service free if they wanted to.”

New plans for Marsh Lane Playing Field

Plans have been received by the Council to redevelop the Marsh Lane playing fields.

The development proposals are:-

  • To construct a new pavilion building, comprising new changing rooms and community facilities following the demolition of the existing pavilion.
  • The football pitches will be relaid and marked out.
  • The existing basketball court will be resurfaced and flood lighting will be installed.
  • There will be relocation and remodelling of existing play space and the introduction of an additional play area.
  • There will be a new car park accessed from Seymour Road and the footpaths will be resurfaced and extra lighting erected.

The funding for this will come from the money given by the Olympic Delivery Authority for the use of Drapers Field till 2013 for a warehousing facility. This, along with other funds, will go someway to alleviate the loss by residents, clubs and schools of Drapers Field.

Drapers Field – update!

Drapers Field - lost to the community for at least 16 months

The planning application by the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) to use Drapers Fieldis is still to be submitted to Waltham Forest Council’s Planning Committee. News is that it will go to the Planning Committee in August. The information regarding how much compensation that the Council will get, through what is known as section 106 and section 111, has still to be finalised.

The money received will be used to improve Abbotts Park, Marsh Lane and of course Drapers Field.

The good news is that the money allocated to Drapers Field will be to re-instate the all-weather pitch and introduce new landscaping, access, and community sports facilities. This is good news, as previously there was no mention of the all-weather pitch, or sports facilities being replaced, only that Drapers would be turned into a ‘special park’.

Leyton Ward Councillor Bob Sullivan reports that other not so good news is that the ODA want to chop down two mature trees so that they can get access to the field by their lorries. He has followed this up and it is being challenged by council officers in the tree department who feel that access can be achieved without chopping down the trees. Councillor Sullivan will update again when he receives any further news on this.

LABOUR COUNCILLORS REJECT LIB DEM NHS REFORM PROPOSALS

Labour councillors at Thursday’s full council meeting (12 May) rejected Liberal Democrat proposals to reform the NHS and Social Care Bill – which is currently on ‘pause’ in Parliament while the government consults.

Liberal Democrat Leyton councillor Bob Sullivan said:

“I am disappointed that the Labour party hid behind tired old slogans rather than taking the opportunity to seek to improve the NHS Bill. Given the choice between a superficial slanging match and constructive debate, local Labour councillors will choose the slanging match every time.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Bob Sullivan welcomed the parts of the Bill which reduce NHS bureaucracy and give more control to the patients but said Liberal Democrats were concerned by the Bill’s emphasis on competition and its commissioning proposals.

The Lib Dem Group set out a series of measures that would improve the Bill, including:

  1. No decision about the spending of NHS funds to be made in private and without proper consultation
  2. The ruling out of any competition based on price to prevent loss-leading corporate providers under-cutting NHS tariffs, and to ensure that healthcare providers ‘compete’ on quality of care.
  3. New private providers to be allowed only where there is no risk of ‘cherry-picking’ which would destabilise or undermine the existing NHS service relied upon for emergencies and complex cases,
    and where the needs of equity, research and training are met.
  4. NHS commissioning being retained as a public function.
  5. The continued separation of commissioning and provision of services to prevent conflicts of interests.
  6. An NHS, responsive to patients’ needs, based on co-operation rather than competition, and which promotes quality and equity not the market.

The proposals are in line with Liberal Democrat policy agreed at the party’s Spring Conference in March.

Unfortunately the Labour party voted down the proposed improvements in favour of a motion which contained no specific response to the current consultation exercise.

Lib Dems ensure Council action over flights nuisance

Cllr Farooq Qureshi with Leyton councillors Winnie smith and Bob SullivanA full investigation into what action the Council took to prevent increased flights over the borough will take place — thanks to ongoing pressure from your local Liberal Democrats.

A motion moved by Forest ward councillor (and Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Leyton and Wanstead) Farooq Qureshi means that the Chief executive of Waltham Forest Council will now investigate the expansion of neighbouring London City Airport and ask what consultation exercises took place regarding the impact on local residents. 

Read the full report on the Council motion from the Waltham Forest Guardian here.

The local Guardian has praised the Liberal Democrat campaign, commenting that the “Lib Dem move should ensure answers” over the expansion of City Airport and increased flights over the borough.  Liberal Democrat councillors have been working with ‘Fight the Flights’ campaigners to raise the profile of the issue.