Lib Dems Condemn Labour Retreat on Fire Services – Councillor Mahmood Hussain
The Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have a long standing campaign against the Mayor’s fire cuts and have been working with colleagues across London to try and stop the plans to axe our fire engines.
Last week the Labour council in Waltham Forest withdrew from the judicial review aimed at making the Mayor rethink his plans. Local Liberal Democrats believe that by backing down Labour have dealt a huge blow to the campaign to save our fire services.
Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“Labour clearly went ahead without thinking and then got cold feet.”
“Withdrawing now makes it seem as if we’re not confident the case can be won. We should be backing our fire fighters and standing with other Borough’s against the Mayor’s cuts.”
“It’s becoming clearer that when it comes to cuts to local services, Labour’s commitment to fairness is only words and not action. They are giving the tory Mayor a free pass to do what he wants with our fire services.”
LOCAL COUNCILLORS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN AGAINST CUTS TO FIRE SERVICES
Lib Dem launch Save Our Fire Services campaign
Local Lib Dem councillors are backing their Lib Dem colleagues Terry Stacy and Stephen Knight on the North London fire authority and are launching a campaign against cuts to local fire services. Waltham Forest could lose 2 fire engines under Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans and services across London will be cut back.
Local residents are also worried about the closure and demolition of Leytonstone Fire Station amidst this on-going uncertainty. Residents are worried that because the proposals for cuts are yet to be finalised the new station could be axed following the consultation.
Residents now want assurances that the station will reopen as planned. Local Lib Dems are asking residents to sign a petition against the cuts and for assurances about the future of Leytonstone Fire Station.
Lib Dem Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“These fire engines are a vital part of our local fire services. Fewer engines will mean there are fewer and less mobile fire fighters protecting or Borough.“These cuts are short-sighted. The number of fire engine mobilisations in the Borough increased from 5,449 in 2005/06 to 5,607 between 2011 and 2012. The population of the Borough is still growing, which means more people and more houses to protect.”“I hope that local Labour and Conservative councillors will join us in opposing these cuts.”
Leytonstone resident Mahmood Faiz said:
“Of course we’re worried. There are big changes going on in the fire service and local people want assurances that the new fire station will go ahead. This consultation is already causing worries for local people and it shouldn’t be used as a way of sneaking in even more of Boris’ cuts to our fire services.”
LIB DEMS CALL FOR COUNCIL RETHINK OVER PARKING IN THE BOROUGH
With problems over the CPZ consultation and plans by Waltham Forest Council to sell off the Stanley Road Car Park in Bakers Arms shopping area, parking is fast becoming a big issue in the Borough.
Lib Dems are opposing plans by the council to sell off the car park at Bakers Arms. And have gone further by asking the council to extend free parking times over the Christmas period to help local businesses.
Cllr Mahmood Hussain, Lib Dem Environment spokesperson said:
“With Christmas coming up, now would be the perfect time to help local businesses by extending the 15 minutes free parking time up to 30 minutes for the remaining few weeks. This would help our local shops compete with supermarkets and the big shopping centres nearby.
“And selling off the Bakers’ Arms car park is clearly the wrong decision. The car park is badly signposted at the moment but if we could bring it back into proper use it could be a great asset for local businesses.
“Cabinet members need to rethink parking in the Borough and focus on how it can help local businesses.”
Chair of the Bakers’ Arms Business Forum, Suleman Ahmed said:
“We should be taking advantage of the resource that we have in this car park at Bakers’ Arms. If the car park was better managed and better signposted by the council then it would not need to be sold off.
“Extending free parking would also be a great boost to local businesses in the run up to the Christmas period.”
On Tuesday 8th May, Waltham Forest council’s Planning Committee approved planning application to demolish the much loved Greyhound stadium to make way for a housing development. The decision by the four Labour members was met with fierce opposition from the campaigners and the local residents (1 Liberal and 2 Tory Councillors opposed the plans).
Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have written to London Mayor Boris Johnson, urging him to reject the application. Two local MP’s, along with Mr Johnson, are in favour of keeping the iconic dog track in the heart of Waltham Forest.
With the help of residents, local Liberal Democrats campaigned hard against the new charges believing they would be a ‘tax on democracy’.
Now, following pressure from both Lib Dem Group Leader Councillor Bob Sullivan and Councillor Mahmood Hussain, the council has u-turned and will only be implementing the new charges between 08.30 am and 5 pm, Monday – Friday, starting from 1st June 2012.
Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“I am pleased that the council has responded to our campaign and scrapped these unnecessary charges. This is great news for our residents who now will not have to pay to participate in our local democracy
“This decision should ensure that council meetings stay transparent and accessible to local residents.”
Many concerned residents have enquired about the works being carried out at EMD Cinema Walthamstow.
Liberal Democrat High Street ward Councillor Mahmood Hussain reports that the works are a part of agreement by the council officers and English Heritage to carry out essential works for the protection of the facade and the roof of this building.
Cllr Mahmood Hussainof Walthamstow High Street Ward attended the opening ceremony of a new fire station built at the cost of 7.5 million pounds.
This is a new high tech fire station with three bays.
It will serve the borough and surrounding areas much more effectively and rapidly.
Cllr Mahmood Hussain met the officials including the Commander of the borough’s fire services.
The Fire Service are also planning to demolish Leytonstone’s ageing fire station, and build a modern facility to replace it. The artist impression below shows the new station to be built in Leytonstone High Road.
New parking charges have been introduced at Waltham Forest Town Hall for local residents after 6pm.
Until recently it was free to park for residents who wanted to attend meetings or events at the Town Hall in the evenings and experience local democracy in action.
But new charges will affect community groups, as well as charities and local residents, who often attend council meetings in the evenings to input into consultations or be updated on the council’s work.
Lib Dem Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“As a local Liberal Democrat I believe that Labour have once again got their priorities wrong and are penalising local residents before finding savings elsewhere.
“The Labour administration could reverse these charges for less than half the cost of their subsidies to the trade unions.
“This makes our council meetings less transparent, less accessible and more expensive for local residents. Labour should think again.”