Barking – Gospel Oak Line: electrification update

Caroline Pigeon, the Liberal Democrat Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, is continuing to lead the campaign for electrification of the Barking – Gospel Oak Line which has seen passenger numbers increase dramatically since the introduction of the new diesel units.

Caroline Pigeon says:

“We were disappointed when confirmation of funding for the Gospel Oak-Barking line electrification failed to materialise in the Budget, but are hopeful that the Government will choose to sanction these line improvements as a priority when it reviews the plans in June.  Electrification will deliver huge benefits to both the local area and London as a whole, including improvements to the rail network connectivity, and a reduced environmental impact.

“Full funding must be confirmed this year or, due to the impact of Crossrail’s construction, costs will rise far beyond the current estimates. Confirmation this year will mean this significant milestone for Britain’s rail infrastructure can go ahead without further delay or spiralling costs.”

Olympic Temporary Parking Zone consultation

The Council has decided to issue a Consultation Document asking residents in the temporary Olympic Parking Zone (G01-G10) for their views on the proposal to introduce an indefinite Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in their roads.

The consultation document is due to be issued on 24 September and has to be returned by 19 October.


PLEASE NOTE: The Closing date is now 22 October

The Council’s policy on the introduction of a CPZ is based on the views of the majority of residents, who return the questionnaire.

Whatever your views the Lib Dems stress that it is vital that the Council receives a response from every household regarding this important consultation.

When you receive the consultation document, please complete and return it without delay.

Open Day at Leyton Bus Garage

Leyton Bus Garage, at Leyton Green, is celebrating its centenary this year.

It will be open to the public from 10.30 am until 4.30 pm on Saturday 22nd September as part of the national Open House event.

There will be a display of vintage buses as well as displays of the history of bus travel.

In addition there will be vintage bus tours to Stagecoach London’s newest bus station in West Ham, which will depart every 15 minutes.

Barking – Gospel Oak Line – NEWSFLASH

The Barking – Gospel Oak User Group (BGOLUG) has learnt that the vital morning commuter train (07.59 from Woodgrange Park) put on last summer to relieve overcrowding is to be cancelled during the Olympic Games.

Richard Pout BGOLUG Secretary said:

“The withdrawal of this train will cause intolerable conditions for commuters trying to get to work in the morning, BGOLUG therefore has to advise passengers to use alternative public transport routes during the games”

“This cut together with the planned half-hourly service from 10 o’clock in the evening will help ensure ‘sardine’ conditions all day and night during the Olympics. Likewise, with a ban on engineering work during the Games, there is no reason why a Saturday service could not be operated on Sundays instead of the first trains being after the morning’s Olympic events have started.”

BGOLUG are calling on TfL to:

  • Reinstate the 07.59 Mondays – Fridays Woodgrange Park – Hampstead Heath train
  • Operate a 15 minute frequency service from start to finish of the service throughout the Games period
  • Start and finish Sunday operations at Saturday times and run 15 minutes throughout the day when Olympic events are scheduled

Bus and Tube Fares Hike in January!

Caroline Pidgeon and Simon Hughes MP, with local campaigners Mahmood Faiz and Suleman Ahmed

From January, prices are set to go up sharply, well above inflation. In fact, on current inflation forecasts our fares will be going up by over a third more than inflation. This is a very unwelcome New Year present waiting for us!

Yet, at the same time, Mayor Johnson has failed to tackle fraud and waste – the sort of waste that led Transport for London to spend £39 million on two lift shafts at Shepherds Bush Station, which have now been abandoned. Two expensive holes in the ground which will now be left unused permanently.

One-Hour Bus Ticket Campaign Relaunched

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly said:

“What the Mayor should be doing is to take real action to stop Londoners being ripped off in Oyster overcharging and give bus users a fair deal by introducing a one-hour bus ticket. That way people could swap between buses for short journeys without being hit for an extra charge. It’s the sensible way to encourage people to use buses without having to pay the earth.”

Your can back our campaign for a fair one-hour bus ticket by signing the petition at:

Footbridges over the Central Line – update!

John Howard checking some of the graffiti

There are three pedestrian/cycle bridges between Leyton and Leytonstone Underground stations on the Central Line. When they were being planned as part of the A12 Link Road works, London Underground insisted that they had to be fully covered. The resulting polycarbonate structures proved to attract gatherings of young people at night with the result that they were avoided by other pedestrians. Unfortunately, they also attracted graffiti which the council was responsible for removing – the chemicals necessary for the removal caused the surface to become scarred and less transparent, making the bridges even more unwelcoming.

The Leytonstone FOCUS Team ran a campaign to get the polycarbonate replaced, with TfL finally advising that improvements were to be included as part of a review of the operation of the whole of the Link Road.

FOCUS later heard that other interested parties were insisting that there should be a full public consultation, which needless to say has caused long delays in getting things moving.

The latest news from Transport for London (TfL) is that is now their intention to include these structures in their preliminary works programme which will commence in 2013. As usual they include the note that this programme is subject to change and to funding being confirmed.

So much for getting our area spick and span for the Olympics!!

The FOCUS Team has asked Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Chair of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly, to see if she can bring any pressure to bear to get these works brought forward.

Watch this space for any news!!

Facelift for High Road Leytonstone

As you may have heard, after having been left out of the first round of pre-Olympic ‘sprucing up’ funding, High Road Leytonstone has now been allocated £2 million.  

The plans, extending from the Green Man through to the Thatched House, can be viewed on the Council’s website at:  


Local campaigner John Howard was pleased to see, at last, there is a proposal to demolish the disused public toilets in Kirkdale Road  

CHURCH LANE – he queried the removal of the turning circle and the apparent disappearance of the public car park, while a proposal still remains for a ‘play area’.  

The Council has advised that this plan is to be redrawn to show continued access to the car park.  

The Plaza showing the distance between the sculpture and the flowerbed   

THE PLAZA – John questioned the suggestion to reroute the road to run between the sculpture and the flowerbed. Regular users of this area will know that there are aften more than one bus at each bus stop, and the W16 drivers have a break before returning to Chingford. Additionally, the vehicle access routes to the car park and the LT building were not shown. 

He has now been advised that London Buses supported concerns about the reduced road layout on The Plaza, and a site meeting was being convened to resolve the problem.  

The FOCUS Team is watching developments.

Lib Dem Leyton councillors call on Cabinet to listen to local people about Olympic improvements

Leyton’s Liberal Democrat councillors have urged the council to learn the lessons of previous improvement schemes when implementing the Leyton Links project [PDF report] which was discussed by Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet last week.

Councillor Bob Sullivan, Councillor Naheed Qureshi and Councillor Winnie Smith have welcomed the investment in Leyton – which was agreed when the Liberal Democrats were part of the council’s administration – but are raising concerns about how effectively the money will be spent.

“We need a scheme that delivers permanent improvements for Leyton, and does not just temporarily tart-up the High Street for a few weeks during the Olympics,” said Leyton councillor Naheed Qureshi. “I am particularly concerned that the council is not providing any specific funding for maintenance.”

She urged the council to consult local people on the detailed proposals soon.

“The published timetable does not allow much time for local councillors, businesses and members of the public to have their say. It is essential that the money is spent on improvements that will make a difference to local people,” she said.

Councillor Bob Sullivan is pressing for improvement plans to include action on street clutter, such as illegal letting boards and neon signs which have been installed without proper consent. He said:

“We need sustained action to deal with illegal letting boards and other street clutter. I hope the Cabinet will not get so carried away with spending money on public art and feature lighting that they forget about the basics.”

The council has £4m (£2.25m from the London Development Agency and £1.75m from the Department of Communities and Local Government) to spend on High Road, Leyton and pedestrian and cycling links to the Olympic Park.

The proposed scheme involves improvements to materials, lighting, and street furniture in key locations along the southern part of High Road, Leyton. It focuses on the areas outside the Old Town Hall, outside Coronation Gardens and outside the Cricket Ground. The report says “Other aspects such as feature lighting, landscaping, wayfinding and public art are also being considered.”

The scheme also includes improvements to footway and cycling links into the Olympic Park. On-going maintenance costs “will be absorbed within the existing highway maintenance budget” according to the council.

Lib Dem campaign against City Airport Flights Continues

Local transport campaigner and Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Farooq Qureshi is pressing on with his campaign against the expansion of London City Airport and the new flight paths which affect local residents.

He has urged the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to publish details about how they will review the new flightpaths and to explain how local residents will be consulted.

In October Farooq persuaded Waltham Forest Council to oppose the expansion of London City Airport. He has welcomed the recent decision by the London Assembly to ask for a review of the decision and will be asking for an update on action by Waltham Forest Council at Thursday’s Council Meeting (25 March).

Farooq said:

“Changes at London City Airport impact on a huge swathe of north east London, yet past consultations have been poorly publicised. We need a proper review of the changes which takes into account local people’s experience. We need to know now how the review will take place so we can make sure the consultation arrangements are acceptable and to give the council and local organisations time to prepare.”

Farooq is also calling for a review of Newham Council’s decision to give planning permission for 120,000 aircraft movements a year at London City Airport.

Farooq advises residents who suffer from disturbance from aircraft to report their complaint to the CAA so it can be properly logged. The CAA provides the following contact details:

  • Breach of Air Navigation Legislation (including low flying): Write to: CAA,Aviation Regulation Enforcement, K504, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway,LONDON, WC2B 6TE (Tel. 020 7453 6193). You can download a complaint form from here [PDF].