Monday, 22 January 2018

Lea Bridge Road Developments

Subject: Re: Residents oppose destruction of Lea Bridge Pocket Park at Orient Way

The background is that within the Council's Lea Bridge & Leyton Vision document, publicly consulted on 2016 - 17 and approved at Cabinet on 20 June 2017, three pieces of Council-owned land around Lea Bridge Station were identified that could support residential development. This was first highlighted at the Lea Bridge Community Ward Forum in October 2017 and then formally presented to residents at an open-to-all session on 2nd December 2017 at Sybourn School. The Council had engaged an architect to draw up design drafts for how these pieces of land could be offered on lease to developers. The timescale is that a final plan might come forward to the Council Planning Comittee in 2019.

We are a residents' group of people in Lea Bridge Ward, mostly those living in the streets near to the Lea Bridge station, and we have formed up in the last few weeks. Given that the Lea Bridge Station Sites developments are immediately adjacent to the estate being built at 97 Lea Bridge Road (3 x high tower blocks and low-rise complex housing 300 units), we are extremely concerned on the environmental issues of flood risk, wind tunnels, excess urbanisation and density. The idea of a Lea Bridge Town Centre sited on the crossroads of the heavy-traffic route Orient Way and Argall Way with the strategic London road A104 is madness.
We also are very anxious that any new build by the Council, especially on its own land, should be for social housing. As we understand it, the cost of building high towers on the edge of the river valley will put the costs of flats here out of the reach of those on the Council house waiting list. We can't see the sense of crowding this part of Leyton with higher-income people whose move here would clearly not release any housing for the less well-off. The promise of 'affordable' accomodation does not stand up here.

This is the link to the Council's draft plans where you will see the 14 and 22 storey development designs suggested by the Council around Lea Bridge station:

Lea Bridge Road area

If you would like to talk to some of our members from the streets very local to these proposals please do contact me.

Many thanks,

Resident Lea Bridge Ward

London Plan Conference

Just Space Conference
20th January 2018

 JUST SPACE  organised a meeting for community groups to hear about the London Plan from the GLA Planners. It is a vast subject and the following are just a few of the highlights of the conference.

1. Jules Pipe – Deputy Mayor in charge of revising the London Plan introduced the Conference by saying the conference would not be recording people’s comments. If they wanted to comment on the plan they had to go online and respond by the 2nd March 2018

2. An independent Inspector led inquiry will be held but it will only take written responses Examination in Public.

3. The key statement is Intensification and Densification.

4. London is expected to grow to 10.5 million by 2041 and need an extra 66,000 homes per year. The Green Belt will be protected and the Mayor wants to encourage development on small sites i.e. take an existing petrol station with no homes and few jobs currently and in its place build a 10 storey block with a petrol station on the ground floor, offices on the next few floors and the rest residential.

5. Rachel Rooney is the Planning Manager in overall charge of the London Plan and outlined its key objectives which would be directed at the Boroughs and will create strong communities.
a.       Best Use of Land – 80% of all trips to be walking or cycling. Protect the Green Belt. Increase Opportunity Areas by 9. (Currently 38). Collaborative approach with the Boroughs.
b.      Healthy City – National City Park with 50% green cover – this includes green roofs etc. Promote collaboration with health groups.
c.       Housing – Much greater role for variety of housing, 66k homes to be built each year, loss of green space to be mitigated. Affordable 50% but if under 35% the developers cost viability study required. They want to encourage developers to go for more than 50% affordable as that will speed up the planning process. Grant funding from the Government is needed. Increase density especially near transport interchanges and Town Centres.
d.      Economy – Protect key offices and workspaces, resist conversion of offices to homes, too much industrial land has already been released for housing. Improve digital connectivity and create Enterprise Zones.
e.       Efficiency – mitigate impact on climate, zero carbon by 2015, energy efficiency. A new fire safety statement will be issued.

      6. It was then opened for questions. Most of the questions related to housing and the problems of affordability for all sections of society. A major concern was that community groups felt alienated from the process and were not involved properly.

       7. Community Panel – a panel of community reps gave their views of the plan. Building stronger communities an imperative. Residents need to engage with the process and respond with their views including at Borough level. Doubt about the need for so much housing post Brexit. More research needed on the benefits of Opportunity areas.

       8. Workshops –
a.       Housing – need social housing, viability study allows developers to dodge the issues, accountability needed and more control by tenants.
b.      Regeneration – Community engagement needed, improve networking, community led plans should be incentivised, find new financial models.
c.       Environment – scrap plastic, create circular economy, and reduce need for transport.
d.      Inclusive Communities – multi facets of London population and food. Unresponsive structures from GLA, and communities should be responsive to each other.

       9. Just Space launched their new Policy Documents – Land Reform, Industrial Strategy, Social Impact Assessment and Health.

By which time the conference had overrun!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Town Centre Battle Continues.....

Mount Anvil

11TH JANUARY 2018 at 7.30pm
The next meeting of Waltham Forest Trades Council’s housing campaign will take place in the light of decisions made by the Planning Committee tonight.
We invite all those interested in fighting the onslaught of corporate developers, privateers and all those councillors who take their side. We call on all who want to see a mass council house building programme aimed at those in real housing need and at truly affordable rents (often called social rents).

1.      The Monster Block – what next?
2.      What’s the best way to take the fight to the local council elections?

 WF Trades Council launched its Housing Action Network more than two years ago.
In 2015 we organised a demonstration in the borough to protest at rising private rents. We continue to support tenants in the regenerations at Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers, also Marlowe Road; we help people affected by the “bedroom tax”, and those placed in temporary accommodation out of borough; we have campaigned against the monster block proposed for the top of the market, and now the Lea Side development. Throughout 2016 we played an important role in preventing greedy landlords from evicting Butterfields tenants, and campaigned successfully with the families to stay in their homes.

Contact WFTC or 07952283558

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News From Nowhere Club Programme

News From Nowhere Club

Patron: Peter Hennessy
Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life.  We meet monthly on Saturday evening.

‘Fellowship is heaven & the lack of fellowship is hell. Fellowship is life & the lack of fellowship is death’.   William Morris

At the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11 4LJ    Doors open at 7.30pm Buffet (please bring veggie item if you can)
8.00pm Talk & discussion till 10pm & back to buffet till 10.30pm.

Travel and Access
  • Stratford stations & 257 bus
  • Leytonstone tube (exit left) & 257/W14 bus
  • Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn right, short walk  (open from 14 January)
  • Disabled access
  • Car park / bikes can be brought in
  • Quiet children welcome
  • Phone to confirm the talk will be as shown
  • Open to all. No booking, just turn up
  • Enquiries 0208 555 5248 or

Free entry: donations welcome / raffle   Voluntary membership £5 a year

The club is a real beacon of light.’ Peter Cormack, former Keeper, William Morris Gallery

Saturday 13th January 2018 

Radical Routes   Speaker: Emily Johns

Here we are in twenty-first-century Britain, in a world not of our making but one that has been moulded over thousands of years of exploitation and injustice. Radical Routes is a network of housing & worker co-ops stretching from Scotland to Cornwall seeking to change all this through positive social change. Imagine collectively taking control of our housing, work, education, health and play.  Imagine a horizontally organised, mutual aid network using consensus decision making to loan out a million pounds, to move property into common ownership, to make anarchy in action. Emily Johns is a member of Walden Pond Housing Co-op, an artist and Peace News production editor.

Saturday 10th February 2018
George Orwell, the Labour Party and the Left   Speaker: Professor John Newsinger
George Orwell was a lifelong socialist. As far as he was concerned, socialism was involved in the achievement of a democratic classless society, a society in which the rich had been altogether dispossessed. His experiences in Spain in the 1930s convinced him that this would require a revolution and he held to this belief through the Second World War, even hoping that the Attlee government might go down a revolutionary road. This talk examines the trajectory of his political thinking and his changing attitudes towards the Labour Party. John Newsinger is Professor of Modern History at Bath Spa University and the author of several books, including the graphic novel, 1917: The Red Year. He is co-editor of the journal George Orwell Studies and has a new book on Orwell, ‘Hope Lies in the Proles’: Orwell and the Left, coming out in March 2018.

Saturday 17th March 2018  ***NB THIRD Saturday***
Wounded Leaders: Why British Politics Is So Flawed   Speaker: Nick Duffell
In the 19th century, the British industrialised boarding schools for the mass production of officers and administrators for their growing Empire by engineering privileged abandonment and normalised neglect – a context in which abuse readily flourishes. The resulting entitlement attitude still operates today and can be seen in our Brexit stuckness. Psychologically, it is a compensation for terrible, unrecoverable loss that has been taken for granted in the UK, rather like gun use is in the US. Psychotherapist, psychohistorian and author Nick Duffell will speak about his 30 year research into this problem

Saturday 14th April 2018
The Cinema Museum: Keeping Alive the Spirit of Cinema from the Days before the Multiplex 
Speaker: Martin Humphries
Martin is the director & co-founder of The Cinema Museum. Set in historic surroundings in Kennington, close to the Elephant & Castle, the outstanding museum houses a unique collection of artefacts, memorabilia & equipment that preserves the history & grandeur of cinema from the 1890s to the present day. His illustrated talk will cover the founding of the museum, the collection, its activities & events. ‘The Cinema Museum is culturally very important to the history of movies & gives insight into how things have changed. It was the workhouse where Charlie Chaplin went as a child. It is a monument of great importance to anyone interested in cinema.’ Sylvia Syms

Saturday 12th May 2018

A Lancashire Miner in Walthamstow:  Sam Woods and the By-Election of 1897   Speaker: Professor John Shepherd
The Walthamstow by-election of 3 February 1897 was the most remarkable result of over 70 similar contests during the 1895-1900 parliament. Sam Woods, a 50 year old miner from Wigan, defeated Thomas Dewar, the wealthy director of Dewar’s Whiskey and unexpectedly became Walthamstow’s first Labour MP. A complete stranger to the district, he was adopted shortly before polling day for an extensive constituency that usually returned Tory politicians. Late Victorian Walthamstow also comprised Leyton, Leytonstone, Harrow Green and Woodford.  The by-election campaign unexpectedly attracted large crowds of working class women and men, although it took place alongside a similar by-election in neighbouring Romford. Sam Woods’ impressive victory represented a swing of over 11%. He became Walthamstow’s first Labour member many years before Valentine McEntee, Clem Attlee and Stella Creasy. John’s illustrated talk provides fascinating insights into the birthplace of William Morris, socialist, artist and author of News from Nowhere, during a significant period of working class politics in suburban Walthamstow. John is Visiting Professor of Modern British History at the University of Huddersfield. His publications include books on George Lansbury and James Callaghan. He is currently finishing a study of Jon Cruddas MP and the Labour Party for Manchester University Press.          

Saturday 9th June 2018
Allotment Gardens: A Surprising History   Speaker: Dr Lesley Acton
Think allotments are just about growing vegetables? Think again. Allotments have a long history and are reflective of the times in which we live. This talk will explore the many sides of allotment history: growing food, intrigue, lawsuits, government, politics, wars, land grabs, art, culture, recreation and not least of all, want and plenty. Lesley Acton PhD is the author of Growing Space: A History of the Allotment Movement. She has worked for many years in the heritage industry as well as researching cultural history, urban agriculture, food security and culinary history. 

Saturday 14th July 2018      
The Vi Gostling Memorial Lecture  (part of the Leytonstone Festival)
Radical Hospitality, Personalism and Freedom of Movement: A Catholic Worker Perspective   Speaker:  Nora Ziegler
Nora is a community member of the London Catholic Workers’ house of hospitality in North London. The London Catholic Worker is an ecumenical Christian community living together with 20 men who have no recourse to public funds and would otherwise be homeless. The community members work full time as volunteers running this inspiring house. They also take part in protests and non-violent direct action against war & arms trade and in solidarity with migrants. Nora will speak about freedom of movement from the perspective of the Catholic Worker movement and her own experiences of “radical hospitality” as resistance to border violence. 

 Saturday 11th August 2018
Is Local Press All Over?   Speaker: James Cracknell, Waltham Forest Echo
James has worked as a local news reporter for 11 years & filed copy for several publications over this time, including the Bristol Post, Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, Uxbridge Gazette, Harrow Observer, South London Press, Enfield Advertiser & of course Waltham Forest Echo. Two of the aforementioned local rags have since closed down, victims of an industry in seemingly terminal decline. But is it really all over for the local press, or does Waltham Forest Echo, a community paper (est. 2014), demonstrate that it still has a viable future? James talks about his experiences in journalism, as editor of the excellent WF Echo & what the future of the industry might look like. 

Saturday 8th September 2018
I Ain't F***ing Doing That!  Working with People No One Wants to Work With    Speaker: Charlie Weinberg  
Charlie is Executive Director of Safe Ground, the award winning national charity using arts education & therapeutic group work to challenge people in prison, professionals & policy makers to do relationships differently. She will talk about how working with people who struggle to trust is a life time's mission. She has performed as a poet, holding a 2009 residency at Iniva, has been part of a film-making programme for the Equalities & Human Rights Commission, worked on an award winning social soap opera in Nicaragua for 6 years & has been designing & delivering therapeutic group work for 25 years. As well as bringing extraordinary wit & dazzling social commentary, she is likely to involve the audience in a conversation about social change.

Saturday 13th October 2018
Paupers, Priests & Progressives:  A Personal History of the Salvation Army     Speaker: Captain Josh Selfe
Josh, Captain of the Leytonstone Salvation Army, reflects on 150 years of his family’s links with the movement.  From Auxiliary-Captain John Strong ‘The Cornish Devil Driver’, one of the Army’s first officers in the 1870s, to the alcoholic coal miners & tanners of the Selfe family raised from poverty by the charity’s work in Bristol’s slums.  From Commissioner Cooper, a progressive reformer of the organisation in the 1960s through to the modern day work of Salvationists throughout the world.  The talk will
finish by contemplating how the principles & aims of the Salvation Army, its DNA so to speak, should manifest themselves in the 21st century, especially in Leytonstone.

Saturday 10th November 2018
Lest We Forget: Cycling the Iron Curtain – The Borders of a Divided Europe   Speakers: Katherine and Tom Marshall
The 20th century was dominated by the divisiveness of two world wars, culminating in the East/West division of the Iron Curtain. To keep the memory alive, the German Green MEP, Michael Cramer, created a cycle trail that follows the path of the Iron Curtain for nearly 8,000kms through 20 countries from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea. Tom and Katherine Marshall have been riding sections of this route each year since 2014 and will share their experience of the pain the wall caused, how different countries contributed to its fall and the museums, art and monuments erected to keep the memory alive. They will show many vivid slides of their remarkable journeys. 

Saturday 8th December 2018

How Far Away Are We from a World Free of Nuclear Weapons?  Speaker: Stephanie Clark
The world has lived with the threat of nuclear war for over 70 years. A historic breakthrough was achieved in 2017 with the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Confronted, meanwhile, by global instability and nuclear-armed superpowers vying for control, where does our common security lie? Do our nuclear weapons keep us safe? Do those of other countries keep them safe? Or do they risk Armageddon for all on our planet? And what should we do about them? But it’s coming up to Christmas so Stephanie will be approaching this most serious of subjects, opening up discussion & challenging our thinking through a festive quiz. An opportunity to have some fun together and also consider the prospects for a world free of nuclear weapons. Stephanie is secretary of Tower Hamlets CND and a volunteer school speaker for CND’s Peace Education programme.

Whipps New Maternity Unit

New maternity unit coming - probably not in 9 months!

Whipps Maternity Unit

Redevelopment of Whipps Hospital

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Mini Holland - Wood Street Junction

Mini Holland

Work started last year on the junction of Wood Street and Lea Bridge Road only a few years after the junction had been altered, when for a time, one lane was removed, but it was re-instated once residents complained about the tail backs to Wood Street Station. This time the two lanes have been maintained but why is it taking nearly 6 months to get it finished? More unnecessary waste of public money.





Mini Holland - Whipps Cross Roundabout

Mini Holland

Whipps Cross  - Forest buffer land being destroyed and now it is not possible to cross from the Forest to Upper Walthamstow via Foresters Drive. How many years will this work take and what will be achieved except the spoiling of pleasant views and more waste of public money to say nothing of the damaged ecology.

As it was in 2015