Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mini Holland - my thoughts

To: Chris Harrison, Mini Holland Programme Manager
Mini Holland - Comments on the trial
The Mini Holland (MH) concept is flawed as it does not recognise the way society operates in the 21st century. It is trying to emulate the 1950s without changing society back to the way it was then.
In the 1950s women were the housewives who everyday went food shopping and kept the clothes and homes clean. The men were out earning the money. When refrigerators became cheap enough for all to buy food could be stored for longer so it was no longer necessary to go shopping each day. As the economy picked up women were able to get jobs and washing machines gave them the freedom to work outside the home.

Cars were rarely seen but as people became more affluent they bought them and parked them in the street. Over the years the capacity of our roads has fallen by at least 50% due to the parked car. In the 1960s it was decided to boost the car even more by building motorways which undermined the railways which started to close on the recommendation of the 1963 Beeching Report.

The car has enabled people to travel far greater distances so many people will travel for an evening’s entertainment rather than pop round to their nearest pub or restaurant. This and the rise of the supermarket have changed the economics of a particular area.
With this background in mind my view of the trial of Mini Holland is as follows:

1.       Unfair – it sets one community against another. Why should Walthamstow Village have a pedestrianised area and not Palmerston Road where the traffic is already removed due to the bridge works blocking the road?
2.       Redistribution – all that has happened in the village is the through traffic has found an alternative route causing problems for other residents i.e. Grosvenor Park East.
3.       Rat Runs – these don’t exist. The route through the village is the most direct route to Markhouse Road from Wood Street. The Markhouse Road area has many jobs and the staff have to get to work and if they cycle or use their cars the route through the village is the most sensible in time and distance terms.
4.       Capacity – traffic is like water it will flow to fill the space available. If you close off a road the traffic will pop up somewhere else. As more and more of the back street roads are cut off the main arteries will be further clogged, making it impossible for public transport and essential services like plumbers, decorators and delivery firms to operate. This will be a disaster for local jobs.
5.       Quiet – Orford Road now has no through traffic which means it has no visitors except for local residents. Once the euphoria of being able to play in the street has worn off and the winter sets in it will become a “ghost town” and the chances are it will become as depressed as Palmerston Road is now.
6.       Road Safety – cyclists have become aware that cycling is in favour and they seem to have the perception they can take over the pavements thereby endangering pedestrians. My feeling is this attitude has arisen because of the passion to “reclaim the streets” which is at the heart of MH.
7.       Road Discipline - While on my bike I nearly collided with a kid playing football on what I regard as the highway and not a playground. If we do not have a clear division between pavements and the road serious accidents will happen. Cyclists must be made to use the road and not the pavements. I even saw a skateboarder on Saturday skating down the middle of Fyfield Road which has to accommodate double decker buses!  For my own safety when on my bike I will be avoiding Orford Road.
8.       Whipps Cross Roundabout – this is a very attractive and important interface between the urban area and the forest. It will be extremely damaging to the area to remove the roundabout and replace it with a traffic light junction. The people in favour of MH seem to want to go back to a bygone era so why can’t we protect our attractive areas and not spoil them?  There are already plenty of ways of getting across Woodford New Road so this is just wasting public money.
9.       Lea Bridge Road – I think everyone has their doubts about how practical it will be to design a segregated cycle lane along the length of Lea Bridge Road. For many years it was almost impossible to get from one end to the other, but since the Clapton Roundabout was re-designed traffic flows much better, but the traffic exceeds its capacity. Tinkering with Lea Bridge Road is a dangerous gamble as it impacts on so many feeder roads. Even today Markhouse Road ground to a halt for a couple of hours due to blockages at the junction with Lea Bridge Road. From a cyclist’s point of view there are plenty of alternative parallel routes so there is no need to cycle along Lea Bridge Road.

10.   Cycle Improvements – what is really needed is the existing cycle routes:
a.       To be properly maintained and the drain covers replaced with the flat type that have been installed along Hoe Street. Most cycle lanes now need urgent repair.
b.      The removal of the continuous speed hump of the type in Hatherley Road and Barrett Road. The one in Vestry Road is particularly dangerous for cycles.
c.       Parked cars should be towed away and the council’s spy cars should not be allowed to park in cycle lanes.
d.      The police need to have more of a presence on the streets to catch cyclists behaving badly. Most cyclists seem to have a suicidal instinct when it comes to traffic lights trying to cross busy junctions when the lights are red.
My views are formed by getting around the Borough by public transport, cycling and car driving. It is clear to me that if you reduce the road network by closing off streets the main arteries get clogged up. For example Hoe Street has been clogged for months because it has had to carry the traffic from Palmerston Road. Pedestrianising Orford Road simply makes other areas less attractive and may even destroy the businesses that make the village!
Adrian Stannard


Friday, 26 September 2014

Hollandising the Village

So just a week after the "consultation" the affluent Village is being isolated and the rest of the community is being inconvenienced - is this really what we are to expect from this Labour Council?

The application of Mini Holland principles has started in Walthamstow Village today - even Zip cars, designed for car sharing in order to reduce the number of cars, have been chased off by the ruthless traffic wardens. You start to get the feeling of what a police state is when this council really get going!

Your comments to:



Here are some of the latest views:

Work starts

MP deluged

Over 60 comments to the WF Guardian

The Trial

The Plan

The Twittersphere

WF and Cycling

and more.....

The last word for now!!

At last the footpath is officially open!

Dear All, 

Apologies for the short notice, but I have been unwell for the last few weeks. Tomorrow, Friday 26 September, will see the 'official' opening by Waltham Forest Council and London Overground of the pedestrian link between Walthamstow Queen's Road and Walthamstow Central stations, although unfortunately there are still some finishing works to be completed by Network Rail's developer at the Walthamstow Central end.

The opening ceremony will commence at 11:00 at the new entrance to Walthamstow Queen's Road station in Exeter Road/Edison Close and then progress along the route to the Walthamstow Central car park end of Ray Dudley Way where a ribbon will be cut.

BGORUG will be represented by Assistant Secretary Graham Larkbey and possibly myself, health permitting.

Kind regards

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mini Holland arrives

This Friday Walthamstow Village will no longer be a "rat run" what ever that means. Why are Prospect Hill and Church Hill not rat runs as they get you to the same place! Mini Holland's first attempt at creating a segregated community starts with outsiders no longer able to drive through the village. As with the Village CPZ the traffic is pushed off to other streets such as Shernhall Street.

Here is some more information:

Pembroke Road area

Mini Holland Tweets

Work starts

WF Guardian readers views

Cycling Campaign

Climate Change

Dear amazing Avaazers, 

Months ago, our community decided on a crazy goal - the largest mobilisation on climate change in history. Yesterday, we blew past our wildest expectations, with a climate march *6 times* the size of anything before it!!! This was 80 city blocks of New York

People's Climate March

And this was London, Berlin, Bogota, Paris, Delhi, and Melbourne... 

Over 675,000 of us marched around the world. It was a beautiful expression of our love for all that climate change threatens, and our hope that we can save this world and build a society powered by 100% safe, clean energy. Click to see more pictures from the day: 


Together, we made history, but it's just the beginning. The crucial Paris climate summit is 15 months from now -- that's where we need a global deal. By March next year, countries have pledged to make their national commitments -- so our movement will divide to focus on these national targets. But every few months until Paris we'll come together globally again and again, bigger and bigger, to beat a drum for change, for 100% clean energy, that our leaders can only follow. The movement we've been waiting for has begun. 

With gratitude, 

Ricken, Emma, Alice, Iain, Nataliya, Patri, Oliver, Diego, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team 

PS - We worked with thousands of organisations to make this day happen and particularly love our friends at 350. But our community deserves to celebrate the step we've taken. The Avaaz team and community played a central role in almost all the marches and events held. The Guardian called it "an organising triumph" for Avaaz and the BBC said "the marches brought more people on to the streets than ever before, thanks to the organisational power of the social media site Avaaz." We fielded hundreds of organisers and thousands of volunteers, and donations from our community provided millions in funding to the effort. The challenges of our time call us to be better, and together we've done that, growing and changing into a new and more effective kind of movement, a movement that is now both online, and offline. Huge gratitude to everyone who made it happen. 

Enterprising Councils

Enterprising Councils

Harrow Green Community Library Newsletter

Harrow Green Library

Hackney brings in the spin doctors


Higham Hill Hub

Higham Hill Hub

Pics of Walthamstow Wetlands

Support for political parties

Party support

Village strikes Gold

Walthamstow Village

A Charter for Community Schools

Dear friend,
SAVE THE DATE: OCOS Public Meeting, Tuesday 21 October 2014
‘What do we want from our Schools? A Charter for Schools’
7.30pm, Harmony Hall, Truro Road, Walthamstow
Speakers include Melissa Benn (education writer and author of School Wars: the battle for Britain's Education) with other speakers to be confirmed shortly…
After a summer break., Our Community Our Schools is back with a new public meeting. It’s almost exactly two years since our campaign was set up, prompted by the proposals to establish two Free Schools in the borough. We saw Free Schools, like Academies, as a dangerous way of fragmenting our school system, taking schools out of the hands of their communities and increasing social divisions of all kinds in our diverse borough.
Yet right from the start, we have tried hard to promote a positive vision of education and schooling as an alternative to the policies being pushed by the Coalition. Now, as Free Schools and academies come increasingly under the spotlight and their achievements are thrown into question, we want to start to build that alternative vision of education by starting a discussion in our borough about what people really want from their schools.

Our schools are answerable to national politicians, but shouldn't they also be  organic parts of their communities?
What should our schools be trying to achieve? How should they be run? How should we be involved in our schools?
To help start this discussion off, we are hosting a new public meeting on 21st October and we’re delighted that one of our main speakers will be Melissa Benn, education expert, writer and author of the excellent book ‘School Wars: The battle for Britain's Education’. Other great speakers will be announced shortly.
We’ll also be publishing a discussion document in the form of a draft Charter for our Schools to help kick off the debate.
More details very soon. Watch this space!
Can you help us leaflet and promote this meeting?
If you’re prepared to help us by joining a leafleting team or leafleting your street to help promote this meeting, please emailwfdefendstateschools@gmail.com and let us know.

Jonathan White
Scarlet Harris
Alison Emmett
Kiri Tunks
Mark Holding
Tom Davies
Mickey Dean and everyone else at Our Community, Our Schools

To: adrian.stannard@btinternet.com

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Our Community Our Schools

Book your place today for:


Public Meeting - What do we want from our Schools?


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 from 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Melissa Benn, education writer and author of School Wars: the battle for Britain's Education
  • John Cryer MP for Leyton and Wanstead
  • Jenny Smith, Headteacher, Frederick Bremer School, star of ‘Educating the East End’
  • Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers

Our Community Our Schools thinks it's time we, as a community, started talking about what it is we really want from our schools. How do we build a new, positive and progressive vision for our education system?

We’re delighted to have a stellar line up of speakers to start that debate at our public meeting, including education expert and writer Melissa Benn, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the NUT, John Cryer, local MP for Leyton and Wanstead, and Jenny Smith, headteacher of our own Frederick Bremer School, currently starring in ‘Educating the East End’.  

We'll be asking:
  • How should we measure success in schools?
  • Are our kids being ‘measured’ and tested too much?
  • How should schools be run?
  • Who should our schools be accountable to?
  • How do we ensure that all kids get the same chances?
  • How should we, as parents, be more involved in our schools? 

Come and join the discussion. Help us to shape a Charter for education in our borough.

Harmony Hall
10 Truro Rd
, England E17 7BY
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Sun Trap Open Day

Subject: Suntrap open day 11 Oct

Suntrap Forest Education Centre is holding its annual open day on 11th October from 1-5pm.

Our open day provides an opportunity for families to find out about the work of the centre while enjoying some of the activities going on including; pond dipping, guided forest walks, meeting the Suntrap animals, using microscopes to investigate invertebrates  and  craft activities. Light refreshments will also be available.

Entry to the day is free – with a small charge for some activities and £3 charge for parking. A free shuttle bus is provided from Chingford station at 12.50pm, 1.40pm, 2.25pm with departure times from Suntrap at 3.15pm,  4.30pm,  5pm.

We would be very grateful if you were able to display the attached poster advertising Suntrap Open Day and let family and friends know about the day.

With many thanks
Suntrap Forest Education Centre
Education Improvement, Families Directorate, London Borough of Waltham Forest
Suntrap Forest Education Centre
Church Road, High Beach, Loughton, Essex, IG10 4AJ
Tel: 020 8508 0611


Monday, 15 September 2014

Mini Hollandising Walthamstow Village

Mini Hollandising Walthamstow Village

With minimum publicity hundreds of people gathered in the Asian Centre (15/9/14)  to hear from the council about their plans for “mini Hollandising” Walthamstow Village - the key feature being the closure of Orford Road where the shops are. Cllr Loakes tried to speak but was howled down – he reminded me of Alex Salmond – you must vote for this as it is of great benefit to you! One thing this council has never learnt is that if it wants to bring the people with them they need to engage with them at a much earlier stage – why were we not invited to input to the bid before it was written?

Apparently the council will put in trial closures to ensure they have the detail correct. One advantage of that, unlike Scottish Independence, is we can return to the status quo if it does not work!

The issue I have with the whole of the Mini Holland concept is you cannot provide for one small part of the community – in this case cyclists. Closing roads does not make the traffic disappear, but it improves the environment for one lot of residents while another group have to take the pain.

The plan is to improve the environment for residents from Lea Bridge Road to Church Hill. To achieve this through traffic has to be excluded from the Village. I am not that familiar with all the roads and traffic routes under consideration so I can’t comment as to whether making Grosvenor Rise two way instead of one way will be a benefit for those residents, for example, or the closure of the junction of Maynard Road and Beulah Road . What I can comment on is my journey everyday through the Village to get to Queens Road which is an excellent rat run to Markhouse Road and my school.

Both Forest Road and Lea Bridge Road are heavily congested through routes so it makes sense for local traffic to rat run through the back streets. I either cycle or use my car depending on weather conditions and more importantly whether I have a heavy load to transport. If the current plan is implemented I can cycle past Vestry House Museum and turn right into Orford Road and continue on to Queens Road. If I go by car I cannot turn right in to Orford Road and as the bridges on West Road and East Road will be closed and I can’t escape except by going down Wingfield Road which is not the direction I need to go!

Returning in the evening I come to the junction of Queens Road and Hoe Street and will find I cannot go across to Orford Road as it will be closed at the Social Club junction. Normally I would go along West Avenue but the bridge is also closed. I am stuck so clearly that is not a valid route. Do I fare any better as a cyclist – up to a point. I can cycle past the shops in Orford Road and go past the Nags Head but as now I cannot legally turn right to get to Church Lane I am no better off!

At busy times such as Saturday mornings shoppers coming back by cab from the Town Centre avoid the congestion on Hoe Street by going along Orford Road. This will no longer be an option so the cabs will add to the congestion in Hoe Street – so it is the Village Residents saying stuff the Hoe Street Residents!

This is no way to manage growth of people movements. Yes perhaps more people should use public transport, but most of it is bursting at the seams. I could use the 230 bus nearly door to door but it takes getting on for an hour in the rush hour whereas I can do my journey on foot in 30 minutes and by bike in 10. The car often takes 15 to 20 minutes as the roads are blocked by dust carts and delivery vans. At least on a bike I can mount the pavement to avoid the obstructions.

The most important item that seems to be ignored with these plans is how the dust carts will access the area and the numerous delivery services to say nothing of plumbers, electricians and builders! How will the residents of the Village cope if their shops cannot be serviced?

Leave well alone and use the Mini Holland money to repair the pavements of the residential streets which have not been refurbished for over 50 years!

As with Scottish independence some people will have a say and others don’t but we will all be affected by the impact that Mini Holland will have on our streets.

P.S. They also plan to wreck the Whipps Cross roundabout by converting it to a normal traffic light controlled junction. This must be stopped as it is a very attractive street scene and most importantly is a buffer between the urban area and the forest. There is no difficulty for cyclists to cross over Woodford New Road so ruining Whipps Cross roundabout is not only a waste of our money but will destroy a precious piece of open land.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Thorpe Coombe Hospital site redevelopment

One of the best plans I have seen for a long time!

Thorpe Coombe Plans

London under fire

Apple Day is coming......

Apple Day

Save our planet



Dear friends, 

In days, when the UN holds an emergency summit on climate change, we need to deliver the largest petition ever for a world powered by 100% clean energy. The petition number will be read out to every world leader at the summit! Sign the petition AT LEFT with one click!

I can sincerely say this is the most important petition we've ever done.

Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all "f*cked" if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this is one of several catastrophic climate threats we're facing, and is bringing world leaders to New York for a major summit on this global emergency.

Hundreds of thousands of us will take to the streets for the People’s Climate March just before the summit. Let’s make sure that on that day we deliver the largest Avaaz petition ever, for the only solution: mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy. Click to sign the petition below with one click and tell everyone:


Here's the petition:

To national, local, and international leaders:
Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

Sign it with one click here:

Whether it's the 'arctic methane bomb', the rapid acidification of our oceans, or apocalyptic flooding, climate change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, and we need the biggest petition ever to meet it. If we make it massive, the number of us who sign will be read out to all leaders at the summit, published in hundreds of media articles, and be delivered by our marches worldwide.

100% clean energy is a realistic goal. Already, 20% of the world's electricity comes from clean energy, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many countries! We just need to get our leaders to agree to put their foot on the accelerator.

We're gearing up for the largest climate mobilization in history on September 21. Already hundreds of events are organised and hundreds of thousands of people signed up. But the events are designed to deliver our petition to decision makers. Let's make it the largest call to action ever. Join now and tell everyone - sign the petition with one click below:


We're all different, and beautifully diverse. But whoever and wherever we are, climate change threatens everything we love, and brings all of us together. Let's come together now.

With hope,

Ricken, Danny, Lisa, Judy, Alex, Iain, and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS - Every signature does count! Add your voice here with a single click: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_final/?bFnoRdb&signup=1&cl=5761751032&v=44869


Climate scientist drops the F-bomb (Salon)

EU to beat 2020 climate targets, split over 2030 ones (Reuters)

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)

Floods, storms and searing heat for 2050 as TV forecasters imagine climate change (Reuters)

IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable (The Guardian)

Renewable energy capacity grows at fastest ever pace (The Guardian)

Solar price parity arrives early (MSN)

Walking Free in Waltham Forest

Walking Free in Waltham Forest

How to stage a campaign

How to stage a campaign

Blackhorse Market

Blackhorse Market

Sewing machine MOT day

Sewing Machine MOT

Save Hackney Marshes

Save Hackney Marshes

This week we are mainly concerned with getting rapid response emails to the Planning Inspectorate - PINS, concerning Hackney Council's plans to build two car parks on East and North Marshes.  THE CLOSING DATE IS TOMORROW AFTERNOON 12 SEPTEMBER.  So if you have a few minutes to spare, please, please go to our website to see the pro-forma letter for you to send and to personalise if you have time Please RT if you are on Twitter.  You can also pledge to help by joining our Facebook event. The next stage of the process will be to go to Hackney Council and we have two separate petitions for people to sign if you haven't already done so - one for Hackney residents to go to the Council and one on Change.org.

The Mobile Museum

Subject: The Mobile Museum: The Eagle has Landed

The Mobile Museum is almost ready. Coming to housing estates across London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Autumn 2014.
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Hello everyone,

I'm delighted to be 59% funded, having raised £4,136.00.

I'm into the final three weeks now, 21 days and counting.
If you've already donated, T H A N K Y O U. 141 people so far, it really is quite overwhelming.  If you could continue to share the campaign with your networks, via social media or email or word of mouth I'd be very grateful, every share and bit of noise made about this helps:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1114774854/the-mobile-museum
Also, if you haven't done yet please do take a moment to read the campaign, watch the videos and browse the rewards (including a new reward: lucky dip screenprint from my archive for £35).

Here's a video I've made of the journey including a shout out from Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 2 Drivetime - dreams can come true

Watch the Video

 5 hours, 100 + miles, two service station stops, one accessible radio station, loads of sweets and singing.
Arriving by moonlight to Dagenham, what I thought was going to be petrifying was actually a pretty hilarious, smooth outing.
Huge thanks to Harriet for stepping in last minute and beinga great co-pilot, thanks for filming & singing along. We got a shout out on Simon Mayo drive time, dreams can come true.
I'm beyond delighted that three years late, The Mobile Museum is finally in London.

Here's me with Bob the super mechanic holding the Black Country flag:

In other news, the brilliant Love London Council Housing did a post about the project and kickstarter campaign:


Very best wishes,



A Museum. A collection. A public programme. A filmwork. A series of publications. A lot of fun. 11 housing estates. 1 London Borough.

The Mobile Museum: coming soon to 11 housing estates across the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.


Tree Circle Cinema

Tree Circle Cinema

Action to remove Travellers

Action against Travellers

The House of Hoop

House of Hoop

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Demise of our local pubs

The Northcote Arms, Grove Green Road
Enterprise Inns.

Friendly, family-centred East End community pub, strong Irish and WI presence among predomwinantly WWC clientele.
3 bars. Lounge bar w pool table not well used, public bar and a small snug. Very childfriendly, dogfriendly.
Larger than I remembered it.
Nicely-kept beer garden in old stableyard.
Beautiful period building architecturally. Ceiling has been replaced but repairs are obvious, annaglypta has been removed. Clean and well cared for.
Sign outside: pub business for sale: Good terms.

Carling and John Smith keg at £3/pt but mo handpumps or real ale.
The clientele were chavvy rough diamonds, very friendly (though I rejected the advances of what appeared to be a friendly staffy/ridgeback cross puppy!)

The pub building itself is lovely and well maintained with much original Victorian leaded and stained glass inside and out. Old stable block worth listing.  Took a photo.

The Landlady said they've tried to get new tenants many times, but the rentcharged by Enterprise is too high for the busuness, and so are the business rates.

Pub is clearly thriving; the finances don't stand up due to high pubco rent and borough rates.

Hardly a failing business on its own terms, but not very enticing to those outside the existing clientele.

The Heathcote Arms, Grove Green Road E11.
Stonegate pub company.

The truly voluminous Heathcote Arms (an early local Stonegate acquisition) had a very jolly, fat German security guard on the door. Inside were mostly young families, with children playing in the garden. Very few customers inside and no-one behind the bar.  It also did not at first appear to do real ale any more, but there were two hand-pumps tucked away in what used to be the lounge bar when the pub was still divided into smaller areas, one of which had a Greene King IPA clip attached. (Not exactly adventurous.)

As the pub was practically empty at 6.30 on a sunny Saturday evening, I asked Herr Security if it got busier later. "No, never" he replied.

I returned the following evening, Sunday 7th, and sat with Bill and Maureen in the beautifully refurbished garden outside.  Maureen told me the garden had been improved after the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007.

There was loud thumpy pop music playing in the pool hall, where several young men were playing pool or watching TV on a television screen that appeared to have the sound turned down (or maybe the awful pop music was so loud that it had drowned out the commentator!).  The main public seating area was being well used, mainly by middle-aged couples.  In the dining area - which I was pleased to see Stonegate have put a door into so that it can be kept away from the noisy side of the L-shaped bar - there were some empty plates (obviously the Sunday dinner trade had been good), and a smell of good food!  Apart from two elderly gentlemen enjoying a quiet pint together in a corner and a group of men of various ages holding a semi-formal meeting around a large table, there was no-one in that part of the pub.  There was no music and it was very pleasant and comfortable.

The Heathcote's main problem seems to me to be that by knocking it into one big bar it is now too large and impersonal to cater well for all tastes, and so has become less attractive.  The garden and public bar area are good for families and socialising over a drink, besides the pool hall which obviously predominantly attracts young men.  The cosy lounge and attached dining area could be made more of, and closed off more effectively.  Stonegate have a good record of refurbishing and re-branding pubs, and I would like to think that that was what was about to happen in this case.  However, the Manager said that Stonegate have sold the premises, and that even Nick the Area Manager was unable to tell him the details of the sale.

Bill told me that a group of regulars were getting up a petition (to whom and asking them to do what I didn't ask) to try to get the pub re-opened.  Of course, if it has already been sold then it's pretty pointless.

Bill said the only way to save a pub is to use it and drink there every day!  Rather than destroy your liver, I would suggest the best course is having the occasional drink somewhere and listing the pub as an Asset of Community Value BEFORE it is sold, so that the sale has to be notified.
Once it has been sold, there is no-one who can be petitioned.

With the Northcote unable to find new tenants, there is no other nearby pub - certainly not one as nice as the Heathcote Arms.  The only fairly nearby ones are in Leytonstone High Road, the Antic pub in Leyton Town Hall, the Birkbeck, or - for the truly desperate - the Coach and Horses.  None are really very close, and are mostly not community pubs.
possible uses I can think of are as a mosque, a large corner shop (which would effectively kill off the other local small traders who are surviving in the area), residential (or possibly a residential component above a retail premises), or with any luck to another pub company, which probably means one that caters exclusively for the Hackney Hipster crowd and will play loud music and charge over £4 for a pint of beer, effectively excluding most of the local community.

PS Very sad to see the Royston Arms on Chingford Mount boarded up. Lovely big, friendly community pub with a good kitchen and a huge garden; again probably too big for present turnover and unable to justify the cost of the rent and Business Rates.

The high rents and high Council Taxes seem to be the main factors in the Antelope (ex-Punch) and the Northcote going under, rather than a decline in pub-going (although that must be a factor too).  Maybe there should be a bit of a tax break for pubs from the Council. and perhaps that is something that we or CAMRA could be lobbying about.