Saturday, 27 April 2013

Save our Parks

Just [one] week left to ask your MP to back calls for an inquiry into the parks funding crisis!

An appeal from Horticulture Week
With just [one week] to go to the end of the current parliamentary session, the Make Parks a Priority campaign is once again calling on parks professionals, friends, users and supporters alike, to urge their MPs to sign an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons which calls for an inquiry into the parks funding crisis.

Since the campaign’s final push to get more MPs signed up to Early Day Motion 219 started last week, already Graham Allen MP, for Nottingham North, has backed the call for an inquiry, bringing the total number of MPs who have signed the motion to 43.

EDM 219 highlights the damage disproportionate cuts to parks maintenance budgets are having on local authority-run green space, as well as the loss of horticultural skills.

Kate Lowe, editor of Horticulture Week which founded the campaign last year, said the  recent collapse of the national parks charity GreenSpace thanks to the same funding pressures facing parks, made the need for a parliamentary inquiry all the more urgent.

"The loss of the last remaining dedicated body representing parks in England underlines just how grave the situation facing our public green spaces has become. We urge everyone who wants to prevent the decline of their treasured public parks to ask their MP today to sign EDM 219 calling for an inquiry into these issues."
  • When contacting your MP you need to use the full name of the early day motion - EDM 219 Reduction in Funding for Urban Parks.
  • For a template letter to lobby your MP, see below:
  • See the full text of the EDM - see below.
  • To find out how to contact your local MP, see

EDM 219 Reduction in Funding for Urban Parks:  
“That this House is concerned about the damage being caused to Britain's urban parks and green spaces by disproportionate cuts to their maintenance in local government budget savings, the loss of skills in professional horticulture in the public sector through staff redundancies and the lack of investment in parks, negatively impacting on health, social well-being and community cohesion; notes that, for example, London parks budgets have fallen by 44 per cent in the past four years while Liverpool has lost a third of its parks budget in the last two years along with 65 parks staff; recognises the challenge for green space professionals with the absence of a national level department, body or function with a watching brief for the UK's urban parks; and calls on the Government to address these concerns in a new inquiry into urban parks.” 

The 43 MPs who have backed our call for a parliamentary inquiry are:Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East)
Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
David Anderson (Blaydon)
Hugh Bayley (York Central)
Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East)
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley)
Martin Caton (Gower)
Ann Coffey (Stockport)
Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
David Crausby (Bolton North East)
Mike Crockart (Edinburgh West)
Tony Cunningham (Workington)
Frank Dobson (Holborn and St Pancras)
Jim Dowd (Lewisham West and Penge)
Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside)
Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)
Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Georg Galloway (Bradford West)
Mike Gapes (Ilford South)
Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)
Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South)
Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton)
David Lammy (Tottenham)
John Leech (Manchester Withington)
Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion)
Steve McCabe (Birmingham Selly Oak)
Dr William McCrea (South Antrim)
John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
Alan Meale (Mansfield)
Fiona O’Donnell (East Lothian)
Sandra Osborne (Ayr Carrick and Cumnock)
Albert Owen (Ynys Mon)
Steve Rotheram (Liverpool Walton)
Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford)
Bob Russell (Colchester)
Andy Sawford (Corby)
Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
David Simpson (Upper Bann)
Mark Williams (Ceredigion)
Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire)
Stephen Williams (Bristol West)
Draft letter for sending
To: xxx MP
House of Commons


Dear xxx MP

RE: Early Day Motion 219 – Reduction in Funding for Urban Parks

As your constituent, I am writing to share my concerns that disproportionate cuts to local authority parks maintenance budgets are, once again, threatening to tip Britain’s urban parks into a spiral of decline, and to urge you to sign EDM 219 – Reduction in Funding for Urban Parks. 

EDM 219 calls for an inquiry to examine the issues behind the crisis facing urban parks, as well as address concerns over the absence at national level of any department, body or function with a watching brief for the UK's urban parks which is exacerbating the crisis. 

In London, parks budgets have fallen by 44 per cent in the past four years, the London Parks & Green Spaces Forum reported this month. In Liverpool, which has lost a third of its green space budget in two years along with 65 parks staff, officials came perilously close last year to withdrawing maintenance completely from all community parks. Meanwhile 96 per cent of green space managers from councils across the UK have told APSE that lack of investment in parks will impact negatively on health and social wellbeing.

Eighty per cent of parks managers are predicting quality standards to fall as they become unable to deal with vandalism and ongoing maintenance, and 50 per cent are expecting a drop in public perceptions of safety. There is a slide back towards there being no-go areas for children, families and old people. 

A copy of EDM 219 is enclosed. I would be grateful if you would show your support for the call for an inquiry into the parks crisis by signing the EDM.

Yours sincerely,

The Spirit of '45

See the film

Help save the bees

Dear Adrian Stannard,

Thank you for signing our petition for a Bee Action Plan.

By being one of thousands of people to support the Bee Cause, you're already helping to get British bees back on track.

Please pass this email on to your friends and family.

Saving bees is vital and the more people who sign our petition (at, the greater our chance of success.

You can also become a Bee Saver by donating at Thank you for being part of something huge,

The Bee Cause Team

Wild Life in the Lee Valley

Walthamstow wild life

Ferry Lane Industrial Estate Redevelopment

Dear Adrian,

I am getting in touch on behalf of Legal & General to introduce myself and their proposals for new homes and commercial space on the Ferry Lane Industrial Estate.  The land is part of the Blackhorse Area Action Plan which I am sure you are aware of given there is a lot going on in the area.

My company is called Lexington and our team will be working with the community on the proposals.  I’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you to find out if you are interested at all, and perhaps arrange a meeting with you or Civic Society colleagues if this would help?  We plan to hold a public consultation exhibition in early May which I will make sure you are invited to join us.

By way of introduction, the site is bounded by Forest Road to the South, the station car park to the east, High Maynard Reservoir (and flood relief channel) to the west.  Legal & General is bringing together an outline planning application for around 300 new homes and some commercial space.  There will be homes made available on an affordable basis at below market rates.

If you would like to get in touch, I am available on the details below or by email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.



Francis Mallinson

Description: Description: cid:image003.jpg@01CCE032.B33D56F0

198 High Holborn
London WC1V 7BD

Direct Tel: 
+44 (0)20 7025 2317
+44 (0)20 7025 2301
Mobile Tel: +44 (0)7796 692210
Description: twitter for signatureFollow us @IntelexIntel. Intelex is the political intelligence service of Lexington Communications

E17 Jazz - Mandorla

Dear friends,

I'm relaunching my band Mandorla, which has been on ice for the last 3 years. I'm very excited about the new project; it's a slightly changed lineup, and I've been writing a lot of brand new material for the band. You can read more about Mandorla here. And you can follow us on Facebook.

Our first gig is next Wednesday 24th April, in the heart of Walthamstow village, and it'd be fantastic if you were able to come along.
It's part of a series of gigs hosted by the e17jazz collective, which I founded several years ago.
There will be a support slot from the e17jazz workshop band at 8:30, and then we'll play one long set from around 9pm:

Wednesday 24th April
Orford House Social Club
73 Orford Road
E17 9QR

Tickets are £10 or £7 for concessions (senior, student, MU).
But if you let me know in advance that you're coming then I can reserve you a concession-priced ticket.
Additionally you can buy tickets online.

If you're unable to make it next Wednesday but would still like to see us, then we're doing another London date next month, as part of a short tour:

Thursday 16th May
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Silk St
London EC2Y 8DT
(close to Liverpool St station and Moorgate tube)

More details and online booking (via Barbican centre) here.

I hope to see you next week, or next month!

Best wishes

Arcade Site


Planning Committee Report

Funding still being negotiated

Despite all these wasted years of ideas for developing the Arcade site it appears the funding is still being negotiated. Why has this site been so difficult to sell to developers? The bulldozers have now arrived on site so presumably we can look forward to the 9 cinemas, a few shops and town centre apartments.



Thursday, 25 April 2013

North London Waste - same plans new consultation

Preparation of local plan for waste in North London

The London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest are proposing to prepare a new local plan for waste in their boroughs to take the place of the non-adopted North London Waste Plan (NLWP).  This is the start of the process to prepare the new Plan and the boroughs are inviting you to make representations about what it should contain.

After the boroughs had submitted the previous waste plan for examination, the Planning Inspector decided that it failed to meet the Duty to Co-operate and the boroughs have therefore agreed to start again as is required by law. When the boroughs submitted the NLWP, they believed it to be “sound” – that is, in accordance with the relevant tests. The Inspector halted the examination and never went on to consider issues of soundness at the examination. The boroughs therefore consider that the information generated through the preparation of the submission NLWP is a useful starting point from which to develop the new plan. Representations made throughout the preparation of the NLWP will also help inform the work on the new plan. All previous stages of the NLWP are still available to view

Evidence will be reviewed and updated and account taken of changing circumstances as the plan evolves. The boroughs propose to re-consider information on the amount of waste requiring management in North London and the extent to which it can be managed by the current facilities as well as to identify specific new sites which have potential for waste facilities to manage any shortfall in provision.  The plan is intended to provide a framework for planning decisions relating to waste facilities and so will contain policies to be used when the boroughs assess planning applications for such facilities.

We are inviting you to make representations on any matter relating to the new local plan for waste. Your comments are particularly invited on the following matters:

1          The content of the local waste plan: Please let us know what you think the new local plan should contain. Do you think any content was missing from the submission NLWP?

2          The need for new waste facilities: Do you have views on the need for waste facilities in North London to deal with the waste likely to be generated in the next ten to fifteen years? If so, what types and size of facility might be needed?

3          The characteristics of a site suitable for waste use: If sites for new waste facilities are required, what type of site should be chosen? What criteria should the boroughs use to select waste sites? Do you think that the site criteria and assessment method in the submission NLWP are a useful starting point?  Can they be improved upon?

4          Proposals for waste sites: Do you have any new suggestions on sites or areas in North London that might be suitable for future use for waste management?

5          Policies: do you have any suggestions for planning policies to ensure that waste developments are suitable in terms of location, environmental impact and any other important consideration? Do you think the policies in the NLWP are a useful starting point?  Can they be improved upon? 

To respond, please visit the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the NLWP website and use the special link. Or you can send your comments to If possible please return your comments in MS-Word format. If necessary your comments can be posted to: 

Archie Onslow
North London Waste Plan
Camden Town Hall
Argyle Street WC1H 8EQ

Please send your comments by 7th June 2013. Comments received after that date may be fed into later revisions of the waste plan.

Meetings with interested groups
If you belong to a group and would like to meet staff to discuss these or any other points about the new local plan for waste in North London please get in touch (see details at end).

What happens next?
The boroughs will use these initial comments to help draw up a draft new waste local plan that they expect to produce in 2014. There will be further consultation at this stage and subsequent opportunities to give comments on the new plan.

Contact details
For more information phone 020 7974 5916

Archie Onslow
Programme Manager
North London Waste Plan
Camden Town Hall
Argyle Street,
London WC1H 8EQ
tel: 020 7974 5916
fax: 020 7974 1930

Walthamstow images wanted

Walthamstow Times

85 Whipps Cross Road - a success

85 Whipps Cross Road has now been restored and looks wonderful - the protests to save this building clearly paid off.

Leytonstone Pub to be Hotel


For a piece of wonderful hypocrisy the Labour group take the biscuit. The Labour members of the planning committee were all in favour of a 14 storey Travelodge in Walthamstow, well away from the Ward where their party leaders are objecting to a pub being converted into a hotel by adding one extra storey!

Walnut Tree Pub

Planning Report

No wonder the Green Man hangs his head in shame!!

Friday, 19 April 2013

More stables in Lee Valley

See latest LVRPA plans for expanding the Riding School

Stable Plans

Plot 44 Jams and Relishes

Plot 44

Mural painter wanted

Artists needed

Town Hall Asbestos Plans

Asbestos at Town Hall

Plant a Fruit Tree

Plant a tree

Stone Space Leytonstone

The Stone Space

Walthamstow Times

Walthamstow Times

Woodhouse Players 30th Anniversary

Woodhouse Players

Waltham Forest LETS


20 mph Speed Limit

Masterclass on campaigning for 20mph

Reducing urban speed limits makes streets safer and more pleasant places to be – helping to encourage walking and cycling, revitalise local high streets and reduce air pollution. This masterclass will explore the reasons why implementing 20mph across London makes sense and consider how to successfully campaign for lower speed limits on streets where people live, work and shop.

Rod King and Jeremy Leach from 20’s Plenty for Us will outline the wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits of 20mph and explain how its 189 local campaigns are transforming the way our roads are shared; and Caroline Russell from Islington Living Streetswill explain how and why Islington became the first borough in London to implement 20mph on all their streets.

7pm on Wednesday 1st May at 3Space Blackfriars, 58 Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0DS.

The masterclass is free but space is limited, please 
let us know if you’d like to attend by replying to this email.

This event is part of 3Space’s Re:Think Festival and is being held in association with Living Streets and 20’s Plenty for Us.

Harrow Green Library

Dear All
We are holding two open days (13 and 20 April,11am - 2pm) and then plan to operate fully (once all the books have been fully processed), inviting people to take books out from:
Saturday 4 May, 11am - 2pm.
Do come along and see the library if you haven't already!
Come and meet some of the activists at our planning meetings: next one is this Wednesday 17 April at 6pm at the Epicentre. We have a good laugh as well as getting the business done, so do drop in.
See you soon we hope
Library Activists Group
PS We are still seeking a few more good non-fiction books, if you happen to have any...

Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands:  
Consultation Launched 

A public consultation has been launched over plans for the £6.5m project to open up the largest purpose-build water body in London to the project and transform the Walthamstow Wetlands. The London Wildlife Trust has launched the consultation which you can visit online and send in your views as well as find out more information. To do this please visit the website and send in your views. You can also find more information via the Waltham Forest Guardian.

Admin Support for MPs

From Stella Creasy MP's Newsletter

MP Response Times: Update and response from IPSA
Further to my earlier e-newsletter I have now recieved a response from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority who manage the budgets for MP expenditure with regard to my request for an additional member of administrative staff to be able to manage the increase in correspondence my office has recieved in the course of the last few months. IPSA have accepted the pressures on MPs have increased as alternative advice services have been reduced and substantial changes to public services are brought in, meaning many residents are seeking assistance with these matters. In addition the increase in email campaigns and the requirements of the parliamentary calendar create further demands on my office that at present we are struggling to manage. 

However, IPSA have also decided not to provide resources to MPs to cope with this increase in demand for assistance and have therefore rejected this request. In seeking advice as to how to address these issues without additional help their suggestions have included not responding to some residents, increasing further the delay in responding and using unpaid interns- all of which I do not believe Walthamstow residents would accept as appropriate (you can read my policy on internships here) .
I will be meeting with IPSA next week to seek to understand how to challenge this decision as I believe it will have severe consequences for my ability to provide the service to Walthamstow residents desire. In the meantime I apologise to anyone who is waiting for a response from my office and I hope residents will understand that there may be a delay in recieiving information from me at this time due to these pressures. I will update this e-newsletter with details of what options for resolving this matter are provided next week. 


Volunteering in Walthamstow

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Permitted Development Rights - latest

Civc Voice Campaign

Permitted Development
Civic Voice - talking civic sense


Immediate Release17 April 2013


Responding to the decision from MPs to oppose the amendment to allow local councils to opt out of extending permitted development rights, Civic Voice Chair, Paula Ridley, said:
“Civic Voice is disappointed that MPs have voted against this amendment. In our view, good local planning policy should have the support and consent of local people”.
MPs voted by 286 to 259, a majority of 27, to remove the amendment to allow local councils to seek exemptions from a blanket approach to extending permitted development rights. The amendment, introduced by Conservative Peer, Lord True of Richmond was supported by the Labour Party, 19 Conservative MPs and 9 Liberal Democrat MPs.
Although voting to remove the amendment, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP said that he had listened to the concerns expressed by peers, MPs and communities and that "in the spirit of consensus", the Government would look to bring forward a "revised approach" when the Bill returns to the House of Lords. Mr Pickles told MPs he was willing to find a "sensible compromise" but has not confirmed what this will be.
Paul Ridley said “The amendment would have been a modest concession which would not have blocked the Government's reform being adopted automatically wherever local communities wanted it. We welcome the Secretary of State saying he is now prepared to compromise but we now need the Government to give greater clarity about what this means and how it plans to reach such a compromise”.
Labour Shadow Minister in Communities and Local Government,Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, said “Despite the concession hinted at by Eric Pickles, clearly the Government still hasn’t worked out how they are going to address the concerns raised by huge numbers of people and organisations in response to the ludicrous policy, despite the consultation closing almost 4 months ago”
Paula Ridley finished by saying “The civic society movement should take credit for what we have managed to achieve in a short space of time. Nearly 400 MPs across England were contacted by civic groups supporting this amendment in what is a significant demonstration of strength in numbers. We thank all our members and supporters for participating in this campaign and we will now talk to colleagues in the House of Lords to agree our next steps”.
The Government will set out the new approach in the House of Lords when the Growth and Infrastructure Bill returns there next week. The issue will then return to the House of Commons on 23 April to be discussed further.


Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement. We lead and support civic societies as a national movement for quality of place, with people actively improving their towns, cities and villages and promote civic pride. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We believe everyone should live somewhere they can be proud of and we know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system. Since its launch in April 2010 Civic Voice has been joined by over 290 civic societies with 75,000 members. Further information is available at how to join Civic Voice (£10 individuals) and contact details for local civic societies.


Steve Graham, Director, Civic Voice (m) 079217 67650
Ian Harvey, Co-ordinator, Civic Voice (m) 07877 096968 (t) 0151 708 9920

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Civic Voice | Unit 101 | 82 Wood Street | The Tea Factory | Liverpool | L1 4DQ | United Kingdom

Sign Hackney Marsh Petition

The online petition to Hackney Council not to hold three mega events (ie environmentally destructive and excruciatingly noisy pop festivals like the one last June) every Summer for the next five years only needs another 200 or so names to reach the number where it has to go before the Full Counil at Hackney for debate and final decision, giving everyone the chance to object properly.
Please support those of us in Leyton and Walthamstow who had our whole weekends ruined by the appalling volume of noise and thumping bass beats all weekend last year and do not want a repeat in the future! PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO OTHERS
Please sign the petition calling on Hackney not to go ahead with these plans at
It is very simple – all they ask is for you to enter your name, email address and area where you live (if you are not local you could add a comment saying how it affected you - the noise made it impossible to go out for a walk, the marshes were fenced off for weeks because of this event last year, you were unable to play cricket all summer, whatever – or why you are concerned – environmental impact, the damage to the area etc.).
You can go straight to the petition by clicking with your mouse on this link:
For more information about the environmental issues and an explanation of how the petition system works in Hackney, please go to the Hackney Marsh Website at
Many thanks,

Friday, 12 April 2013

Finance Committee figures

For those of you with an interest in how our money is spent a few hours trawling through this document should be rewarding!

Finance Committee

Finance Scrutiny Sub Committee in October 2010 – ‘Material benefits for 2012’ 
2.3.1 This report included reference to £9.9m public realm investment, £5.9m for 
Construction Training Centre and £675k for the Walthamstow Big Screen and 
Adizone in Langthorne Park. The report also suggested that Eton Manor 
Development is valued at approximately £40m. It noted that we hoped to generate 
investment through sponsorship, and that the Council had applied to the Treasury 
for £9m to mitigate the impact of the Games. 

Soup Kitchen

Walthamstow's Soup Kitchen

Marsh Lane Bridge - update

Here is the response I received from Keith Hanshaw, Head of Public Realm, about the purpose of the replacement bridge at Marsh Lane. It appears £250k is being spent purely to create a new "landmark gateway" entrance into Leyton Jubilee Park. The council has still not explained what the new bridge will be used for as currently there is very little traffic into the Marsh Lane recreation area so presumably in the future there will be. So how do they justify more heavy vehicles mixing with the students attending Lammas School and the residents wanting to use the recreation land for informal leisure. Is the real plan for large events like firework displays, pop concerts, fairs and circuses etc to make some money from this land? This is important buffer land adjacent to the Lea Valley.

Dear Adrian

I refer to your recent query about the need for the planned works at Marsh Lane Bridge.

The reconstruction of the bridge is part of the on-going redevelopment plans for the Leyton Jubilee Park. A new pavilion and play areas have already been completed and open to the public.

The purpose of the proposed bridge is to create a landmark gateway into the park.

There are currently two bridges at this entrance, one capable of carrying vehicles and a separate footbridge. The existing vehicle bridge is so narrow that larger vehicles often need to scrape the sides of the bridge parapets to get through. The footbridge is at a different angle and not in line with the main entrance into Leyton Jubilee Park. There are, In addition to the two bridges, a number of unsightly utilities pipes cross the brook at this location.

The proposed bridge will replace both existing bridges and allow a single lane controlled access to the park for cyclists and authorised vehicles with the wide footways on both sides for pedestrian access. Artwork panels on the parapets and landscaping to the surrounding area including works to the river banks will further improve the visual aesthetics of the gateway into Leyton Jubilee Park.

I trust this answers your query.

Kind regards