Lib Dems step up campaign against Waltham Forest ticket office closures

Liberal Democrat campaigners Farooq Qureshi and Farid Ahmed have stepped up their campaign against Boris Johnson’s ticket office closures following confirmation that all four tube stations in the borough will be affected.

Sign their petition at

In total Waltham Forest will lose nearly 60 hours of cover a week. The Mayor’s plan will hit late evening cover especially hard.

  • Walthamstow Central will close at 9.30pm instead of 11.30pm on weekdays
  • Blackhorse Road ticket office will shut at 6pm instead of 10pm on Saturdays
  • Leyton ticket office will shut at 9.30 pm instead of 10.30 pm on weekdays
  • Leytonstone will close at 8.45 pm instead of 11 pm on Sundays.

Cllr Qureshi, who is parliamentary candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, said:

“Waltham Forest has been hit hard by the Conservative Mayor’s broken promise. He said he would keep ticket offices open – but now travellers will face deserted ticket offices in the evenings just when demand for security is greatest. That’s why I’ve launched a petition and am asking for people’s experiences. I want as many people s possible to show their concern.”

Farooq Qureshi, Farid Ahmed and the Liberal Democrat team have launched a petition against the closures. Passengers can sign online at or call 020 8556 8335 for a petition form.

Full details of the proposed changes are:


  • Weekdays – will open from 0600-1945 instead of 0530-2100
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-1800 instead of 0630-2200
  • Sundays – will open from 0945-1645 instead of 0800-2000

This means the ticket office will be closed for 18 hours a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0545-2130 instead of 0530-2330
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2145 instead of 0600-0000
  • Sundays – will open from 0900-1900 instead of 0900-1100 and 12.30-23.00

This means the ticket office will be closed for 17 hours 45 mins a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0600-2130 instead of 0530-2300
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2200 instead of 0530-2230
  • Sundays – will open from 0715-2100 instead of 0700-2300

This is 13 hours 30 mins a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0545-2015 instead of 0530-2200
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2045 instead of 0600-2200
  • Sundays – will open from 0730-2045 instead of 0700-2300

This is 11 hours 15 mins a week less than currently.

In total Waltham Forest is losing nearly 60 hours of ticket office cover.

Lib Dems call on Mayor to keep Waltham Forest tube ticket offices open

Transport campaigner Farooq QureshiWaltham Forest’s Liberal Democrat councillors will fight to retain ticket office staff at local tube stations.

Last week Transport for London, which is controlled by the Mayor of London, announced cost cutting proposals to axe 450 ticket office staff and reduce ticket office opening hours across the networks.

Local transport campaigner, Lib Dem councillor and parliamentary candidate for Leyton and Wanstead Farooq Qureshi said:

“Waltham Forest has some of the busiest tube stations in outer London. These proposals mean more inconvenience and hassle for tube users. Passengers need to be able to talk to a real person if they have queries or problems.This is especially important for those who are not regular travellers or find it difficult to use the machines.

Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly believe the cuts will make many passengers feel unsafe and could have a negative impact in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in and around tube stations.

Farooq Qureshi has a strong record of campaigning on local transport issues including the need to ease rush hour congestion at Leyton and Leytonstone underground stations by opening additional exits, the need for better connections from Leyton and Leytonstone High Roads to the rest of the borough and Stratford, improved accessibility for disabled passengers at Leyton and the refurbishment of Leyton Midland and Leytonstone High Road stations.

Passenger numbers per year for Waltham Forest tube stations are:

  • Walthamstow –> 14.2 million passengers per year
  • Leyton -> 12.7 million
  • Leytonstone –> 9.9 million
  • Blackhorse Road –> 6.1 million

Source: TfL website

During his election campaign Boris Johnson promised to retain staffed ticket offices. His transport manifesto Getting Londoners Moving committed the Conservative Mayor to: “halting the proposed Tube ticket office closures, and ensuring there is always a manned ticket office at every station” (page 2) and claimed “I will also defend local ticket offices” (page 9).

Lib Dem traffic enforcement pledge to drivers

Picture courtesy of Waltham Forest GuardianLib Dem Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Belam, announced a new scheme telling drivers exactly where CCTV enforcement vehicles will be deployed.

The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in the Country, aims to promote safer driving, reduce road accidents and lower the number of penalty charge notices issued to motorists for transgressions such as stopping in a box junction.

Details of where the boroughs five CCTV enforcement vehicles will be are available for viewing on the Waltham Forest Council website at

CCTV vehicles are deployed in the identified areas because residents have complained about congestion, accidents and other issues in their vicinity,

Cllr Bob Belam, said: “The main aim of our traffic enforcement team is to improve safety for all of Waltham Forest’s roads users. It is not about making money at the expense of motorists.

“We hope this scheme will encourage people to drive more carefully, especially at the locations where we issue most of our penalty charge notices, and help us to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents.

Waltham Forest Council’s CCTV vehicles are responsible for recording moving traffic violations, such as stopping in box junctions, driving in bus lanes and making banned turns. They are also used for parking enforcement purposes.

The statutory penalty charge for a moving traffic violation is £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Labour say of Pool and track threat: “There is no confusion”

Labour Report No 1:            

Pool and Track site to be sold to fund leisure  centre at Arcade site.

Labour Report No 2  (Just days later…)

Now land at Pool and Track or  other “unidentified assets” to be sold

Labour Leader says:   

Pool will be closed but not track

Labour councillor responsible for sport says:                                  

We never suggested the track would close

…and that:  

“There is no confusion”.

* * * * *

Users of local sports facilities have been left anxious about the future of the Pool and Track in Walthamstow after Labour Leader Chris Robbins appeared to confirm that at least part of the facility will be shut down.

Liberal Democrat councillors are fighting Labour plans to rescue the Arcade site development by borrowing millions of pounds and selling off land and council assets. 

Labour’s proposals — which were published on the Council website – involved the “disposal of the Pool and Track site for a replacement facility with the Arcade development”, including a Leisure Centre “to replace the current indoor facilities at the Pool and Track”.

However after protests from Liberal Democrat councillors and residents, definitive references to the sale of the Pool and Track were quickly removed from the final Cabinet report, with mention only being made of the sale of “either land at the Pool and Track site or alternative assets to the same value that have not yet been identified”.  Labour councillors forced through the report despite Liberal Democrat opposition in the Cabinet meeting.

Hopes for the future of the Pool and Track seem, however, to have been dashed after comments from Labour Leader Chris Robbins suggested that at least part of the facility will still be closed.

In trying to quell public protests at the handling of the closure, Cllr Robbins confirmed to the local press that the pool will be closed once a “replacement” leisure facility has been built.  This would seem to leave the borough’s athletics track as a stand-alone facility.

Lib Dem Cllr Bob Carey, a member of the affected Chapel End ward, has now raised the issue with Cllr Geraldine Reardon, the Labour councillor responsible for sport in the borough, at a Full Council meeting.  He sought clarification over the future of the pool facility, investment in the track and raised resident concerns about accessibility to a pool facility at the Arcade.

Cllr Reardon told councillors that there was “no confusion” over the future of the facility, but refused to confirm the Labour leader’s comment that the pool would be closed once a replacement was built, claiming that no decision had been made.

Local Liberal Democrat councillors will continue to seek answers over Labour’s handling of our Pool and Track.

Lib Dems welcome new action on High St traffic

Cllr James O'Rourke (Picture by Roy Tillett, Yellow Advertiser)High St councillor James O’Rourke has been speaking to the local press about a ban on traffic along Walthamstow High Street.

An ‘experimental traffic order’ was introduced by the Walthamstow Town Centre Task Group — a group set up by the high St Liberal Democrats – in August which stops unauthorised vehicles using the High Street in a bid to improve safety for pedestrians.

New signage and barriers have been put up to further enforce the order, which only allows vehicles loading and unloading to market stalls and shops along the High Street.  Street cleaning vehicles are also able to use the High Street to clean the area after the market has been held.

Speaking to Martyn Dalton of the local Yellow Advertiser, Cllr James O’Rourke welcomed the latest additions to the High Street.

Cllr O’Rourke said:

“The experimental traffic order clearly demonstrates that we have listened, engaged and acted with residents, visitors and traders who have asked us to make the High Street a safer environment.

“Unfortunately it was very difficult to enforce the order as there wasn’t proper signage, but now motorists and pedestrians can see that the order is in full operation.”

Cllr O’Rourke has told local people that his long-term aim for the area is to see an enforceable pedestrian zone introduced in the High Street in order to protect residents and shoppers.

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.

Decision on Hale and Higham Park Tesco deferred

Cllr Jane Morgan and Cllr Nick BasonCouncillors last night voted to delay their decision on whether to allow a major new development in the Hale End and Highams Park ward.

The planning application by Tesco includes a supermarket, housing and car parking.  With all three Liberal Democrat ward councillors in attendance at a packed Town Hall meeting, Cllr Jane Morgan (pictured left with Nick Bason) spoke on behalf of local residents, detailing the many letters and emails the local Lib Dem team had recieved on the issue and detailing resident concerns about the development.

Adressing the planning committee, Cllr Morgan said:

“We’ve had many communciations from those who do not neccesarily object to the idea of a Tesco, but who have expressed concerns about the scale of this particular application.

“Any scheme of this nature will produce costs as well as benefits.  The proposal aims to create houses and jobs, and they are needed in our area.  Investment in the Highams Park economy is also needed.

“But do these possible benefits outweight the costs of the current scheme?  many of our residents our concerned that the current scale of the development means they do not.”

The planning application will now come back before councillors at a later date. 

See the full text of Cllr Morgan’s speech to the committee below:

More planes, more noise, more pollution – Leyton and Leytonstone under threat!

Cllr Farooq Qureshi with Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne and Leyton and Wanstead campaignersLiberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Cllr Farooq Qureshi has organised a public meeting in response to resident complaints about noise and pollution from City Airport.

The Leyton and Wanstead candidate is angry that the expansion of the airport has been kept from residents, and has seen a rise in complaints from residents about noise and pollution from the increase in planes over the local area.

Local Liberal Democrats have revealed that Newham Council granted permission for an increase in flights from City Airport from 76,000 to 120,000 a year.

The meeting will be held at the Quaker Meeting House on Bush Road (off the Green man roundabout) at 7pm on Friday 2nd October.  Feel free to come along!

New approach needed to upgrade local tube services – Lib Dems

London Liberal Democrats have spoken out after reports of cuts in spending on upgrading local tube lines.

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport spokesperson (pictured), believes that the announcement serves as further evidence that it is time to “bite the bullet and seriously look at new ways of upgrading the tube.”

She added:

“We need to ensure tube upgrades are completed rapidly, but at far less cost. The continual closure of small sections of a tube line could deliver change in weeks as opposed to months.

“This new approach would also allow for far more work to be completed, including step free access at tube stations, which are now being dropped by the Mayor.

Waltham Forest residents have been hit by long term servce reductions on the Victoria Line from Walthamstow and weekend closures on Central line services from Leyton and Leytonstone into central London.

Caroline Pidgeon continued:

“At present Londoners face months and months of disruption while at great cost little work is actually completed during each weekend and evening closure of a line. There must be a better way forward to deliver the much needed upgrades to the tube.”

You can read more about the Liberal Democrats plans for London transport by heading over tp the London Assembly Lib Dem website.

More road money needed from government pot, say councillors

Councillors Peter Woollcott and Bob Belam, as featured in this week's Yellow AdvertiserThe good work of the Higham Hill Liberal Democrat Focus team has been highighted again in this week’s local press.

The Lib Dem councillor team of Peter Woollcott, Patrick Smith and Sean Meiszner are leading the campaign to get more government funding to help local councils deal with potholes and worsening road conditions.  Routes in Waltham Forest have suffered particularly badly this year due to the worst winter in decades.

Councillor Bob Belam joined Councillor Woollcott (both pictured above) to draw attention to the issue.

Councillor Woollcott told the local Yellow Advertiser:

“Some of the roads are ridden with potholes which pose a danger to drivers an cyclists especially.  Not only can they cause accidents they can also damage vehicles which can then pose a danger later on”.

Article by Martyn Dalton, Picture by Roy Tillett, both used by kind permission