Saturday, 17 August 2019

Walthamstow Cricket Club fell 78 healthy trees

Walthamstow Cricket Club

Walthamstow Cricket Club (in Greenway Avenue) has felled 78 mature healthy trees purely to improve their bank balance! They have done a deal with the developer of the Crownlea site who wanted the trees removed to allow their proposed development to be squeezed as close to the boundary as possible. As far as I can establish a planning application has not been submitted for the site so I hope the Planning Committee reject it when it is submitted. The removal of these trees is environmental vandalism and contrary to the Council's declaration of an environmental emergency.

From Buck Walk

Area Action Plan

Friday, 16 August 2019

St James' Quarter Newsletter

St James' Quarter Newsletter

Draft Local Plan

Draft Local Plan Consultation

Its that time again when, if you are bored and have nothing to do, you can get stuck in to the Draft Local Plan consultation. Don't forget to read up on the London Plan first as the Waltham Forest one has to comply otherwise we won't get money for Min Holland, Borough of Culture to name but two.

Bromley has not met their targets and are being threatened with having their Planning Power taken over by the Planning Inspectors. So be careful what you say about the Draft Local Plan otherwise Mayor Khan will take away any largess he was considering. Oh and don't forget you have to build high and in a much greater density than the the Victorians did to accommodate the extra 3million people the GLA says we have to grow London by!!!

Apparently that means another 27,000 new flats in Waltham Forest in addition to the 20,000 already under construction! When I get a moment I might take a closer look at the Draft Plan but it will only raise my blood pressure even further!!

Save Our Square battles on

1.Save Our Square has decided to review the situation regarding the plans of Capital and Regional PLC, and WF council, to re-develop the Mall and Square, and we hope to draw up an Alternative Plan.
We affirm we would like the Town Square upgraded; and we can see some potential in improving the Mall. However, we reject the current plan and want to offer a positive alternative. 
Please participate in our SOS survey. Pass on the survey to others. Look out for one of our local consultation meetings in the autumn.

2. It now almost 4 years since David and Jean launched a petition and, together with their cardboard model of the proposed 29-storey tower, started collecting 3000 signatures in the Square.
Our campaign has gone wide. An article in the Financial Times recently recognised “community opposition to this 5-year £200 million plan”.
Another journalist commented that we are one of the very few London campaigns to keep developers at bay.

To date not one shovelful of earth has been dug up in the Square. Not one tree felled.

3. The campaign is still very much in existence - and growing! More people are expressing opposition. A number of local artists have hit the headlines, now with their second exhibition “Between the Limes” devoted to saving the lime trees. More recently supporters of Extinction Rebellion have expressed interest from an environmental point of view. Local architects and student architects are keen to play a role in helping design a new plan.

SOS have continued with a series of activities, the highlights being the huge attendance at the Planning Committee 2017, the mass meeting in January 2018, the Square Occupation in February, several lobbies of C&R, tying ribbons around the trees, organising an exhibition of children’s pictures to Save the Square and the Trees, and much more. We have enjoyed the support of thousands of local residents, and particularly WF Trades Union Council, campaigning organisations, the Civil Society, Socialist Party activists, and several Labour Party branches.

4. From the developers’ side we are aware of several inter-related problems -
  • The retail landscape is dismal
  • There are questions over a plateau in house prices
  • Political paralysis has affected many businesses
  • The share price of Capital and Regional PLC this year has plummeted from 50p down to 17p.
  • The tower-block building company Mount Anvil seem to have gone quiet, or even disappeared
  • There are concerns over the thousands of flats for sale at largely unaffordable prices; in fact developers rely heavily on selling off their flats through the government’s help-to-buy scheme.
  • There are serious questions for transport with the vast increase in demand these flats will bring

5. WF Labour council, like all others, have had their grant cut; the Tory government aims to cut off the grant altogether, forcing councils to rely on rates to raise revenue to finance all services (unless Corbyn comes to power and takes strong measures). They need income from domestic rates - the more flats the more revenue. They are also tied into the private developers to build homes; their power to build masses of council houses has been curtailed by successive governments, and most councillors, unfortunately, don’t have a fighting spirit to challenge this situation. They were hoping more big chain stores in the Mall would bring in badly-needed high business rates.

6. Campaigners want to start a new dialogue. Previous consultations were a sham; thousands of signatures and hundreds of letters of opposition were all arrogantly dismissed. We are laying out here some ideas and hope they could be the basis for a new consultation that involves local residents as widely as possible.

We put these ideas forward to improve the Square and the Mall, for discussion in local organisations, local parties, trade unions, local Forums, in the local press, through social media; and aim to hold at least one consultation event in the libraries in Walthamstow, Chingford, and Leyton/Leytonstone.
Lastly, if you would like to go on our Tree Defenders alert list, be an “eyes and ears volunteer” (keeping a lookout on the Square), or if you would like to help raise funds, or participate in our activities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

email:      ;     07786 857673

Join in
we need you Get in contact and donate via details below.

Contact: WF Trades Council: or 07952283558


Facebook: @savewalthamstowtowncentre
Twitter: @SaveSquareE17

Bauhaus crowdfunding campaign

William Morris Gallery Bauhaus Funding

SLM News

Months fly by pretty quickly and it is now time to do the second issue of our re-launched monthly Save Lea Marshes Newsletter.. There’s been quite a lot going on across our marshy and surrounding landscape.


SLM and other local groups have been following the proposals for the new Lee Valley Ice Centre for some time, including through the consultation process in 2016. Now actual plans have been drawn up for a new twin-pad ice centre at Leyton Marsh, adjacent to the current “temporary” building built 34 years ago. In addition to the plans which have now gone up on the LVRPA website at, where you can read up on such headings as “Why is a new ice centre needed?” “How would the new ice centre support local communities to be more active?” “How would the new ice centre be sustainable and create more green space for local communities to enjoy?”, you can also find out how you can become involved, attend one of the drop-in events across Waltham Forest and Hackney over the summer (dates and venues are listed), and have your say by contributing your views electronically.
However, there has already been some controversy over the LVRPA’s consultation plans. SLM were invited to a meeting to discuss the plans on Wednesday 26 June in the afternoon, but somehow the wrong information, about an all-day consultation that day, were publicised, causing some consternation by other local-interest parties.


We are pleased to report that SLM has been successful in heading off the staging of the “Molecules on the Marshes” art project that would have seen 50,000 plus solar light bulbs being placed on Walthamstow Marshes, as part of the Borough of Culture project. The organisers have confirmed it will not take place there. SLM is generally supportive of the Borough of Culture. We just thought that this was one project that had not been thought through in terms of effect on the local wildlife.


This was held on Sunday 26 May. We started off with a little rain shower but after that the weather was fine. About 25 people came along holding decorated willow sticks. Sadly, there were no children to do the traditional “upturning”. SLM like to use the occasion to remember Katie Andrews, observe an ancient tradition and inform people of the latest issues concerning the marshes. We also used the event to finalise the winner of our first-ever “Green Blots Awards”. The winner was Pollution in the River Lea, helped by the fact that there was a pollution alert on that day resulting in the deaths of fishes. (See for the full poll results.) We were joined by Emma-Jane and Sarah, Mexican healing practitioners in the blessing of the land (which needs all the blessings it can get) and with music and song by Allegra, a Hackney-based singing sensation.


Last month’s newsletter was a bit Hackney-focused, so in keeping with SLM’s remit to bring people together across the marshes, we are giving a thumbs-up to one of our allied groups – Love Lea Bridge. The group has been active recently in concentrating on the Orient Way Pocket Park, on the corner of Orient Way and the Lea Bridge Road. It is a little oasis on an ex-brownfield site, established by Waltham Forest Council thirteen years ago, and is now under threat from the very same council that has declared a Climate Emergency and has won government funding for new pocket parks in the borough. Love Lea Bridge has been active in planting new bushes and a tree on the site – which faces the dour, omnipresent and Green Blots Awards runner-up development of 92 Lea Bridge Road. In the spirit of making the serious business of protesting fun, the group are regularly organising games such as Boules on Sundays. For more information and to get involved go to and they will update you with the activities planned.


Those journeying along the Lea towards Tottenham cannot have failed to see the new “blot on the landscape” at Tottenham Lock – a giant concrete lift shaft – marking another new housing development...

After the fire ..

The Environmental Agency (EA) have finally confirmed that the water run-off from a warehouse fire in Tottenham did kill hundreds of fish in the River Lea, according to experts who initially denied it was the cause. As reported in the Hackney Gazette, p.2, 27 July.


Following up on some the other recent events that have happened:
  • Laurie Elks delivered a cracking talk on the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. It is hoped that there will be another opportunity for more people to hear it and eventually something in print.
  • Hackney Marshes Users Group (HMUG), organised a walk and talk to what was the East Marsh Car Park. This was the temporary Olympic car park that has been left to provide a habitat for insects and reptiles. For a while it looked like nothing much was happening but gradually it is greening and providing a gravel base for a growing number of species that are less common elsewhere. This was the positive part of the outcome of the Planning Inspectorate Inquiry into East Marsh and the Cricket Pavilion on North Marsh, which both HMUG and SLM had concerns about.
  • The Hackney Society organised a wonderful and informative evening walk on 24 June, from Hackney Wick to the Princess of Wales, guided by Tree Musketeer Russell Miller and LVRPA ranger Dominic. This included: a detailed overview of the Wick Woodland, a stop-off for refreshments at the Tree Nursery, a look at the progress of the tree plantings around the Hackney Marshes, and a tour of the Middlesex Filter Beds, and finished up at the Princess of Wales.
  • Hackney Swifts Walk – organised by Hackney Swifts group – a street walk from the Elderfield pub in Elderfield Road E5 to the Crooked Billet pub in Upper Clapton, looking at the regular migrating swifts that still (fingers crossed) visit Hackney each year. People divided into groups allocated to different streets to note Swift activity and natural nests and Swift boxes to contribute to national monitoring of this declining species. For further information or to inform them of Swifts in your neighbourhood contact or


Last week’s Hackney Gazette (News, p.8, 20 June), “Council opposes giant advertising ball”, about plans by U.S. Madison Square Garden chiefs to display giant illuminated adverts on a proposed domed venue in Stratford, which are quite rightly being opposed by Hackney Council, as the dome will be in a residential area and be visible from numerous locations on Hackney Marshes and along the River Lea Valley. Some 50 people attended a consultation event hosted by the LLDC earlier this month and a “Stop MSG” campaign has been started.
This week’s Hackney Gazette Olympic story is “Show us the 40,000 jobs, say young people as they march on Olympic Park’s Here East”, (News, p.6, 27 June).
Both stories can be seen via the website


  • London Wildlife Festival, 9-11 August at the Walthamstow Wetlands – a two-day event to be held at Europe’s largest urban wetlands. Cost £10.00 adults and £6.00 children. Further details from
  • The latest Bat Conservation Trust Bat e-Bulletin is out for June and among the latest stories and an important new annual report on the National Bat Monitoring Programme 2018, there is also news of the next 2-day National Bat Conference to be held on 7-8 September at Nottingham University Jubilee Campus. For details go to
  • There is the next planning meeting for the litter-picking group on Tuesday 2 July at Second Home, 125-127 Mare Street, E8 3SJ. Further details from

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Pocket Park under threat

Council to flatten mature Pocket Park and 100 trees regardless of Climate Emergency Declaration

Pocket Park to become builders’ depot
A deputation from ‘Love Lea Bridge’ group gasped when they heard from WF Cabinet Member Cllr Simon Miller last Friday that the first phase of the Council’s Lea Bridge Station Sites development will be the conversion of the existing Orient Way Pocket Park into a construction depot and heavy delivery vehicle stand. The Cabinet is expected to engage developers in April 2020, only two months after the expected completion of the massive ‘Motion’ estate now being built opposite the Pocket Park.
Medical and community facilities bereft at the new Lea Bridge Town Centre
When questioned about infrastructure facilities for the ‘Motion’ estate and the subsequent development at Lea Bridge Town Centre, Cllr Miller further told ‘Love Lea Bridge’ that health commissioners have declined to site a primary health care resource on the Pocket Park site owing to the difficulty of vehicular access. Although 1,000 new residents are due to move into the Motion estate from October this year, and while the numbers of trains calling at Lea bridge station is being increased, the Council have so far been unable to secure any agreement from TfL to extend the W19 bus route from Argall Way along Orient Way. TfL’s decision to cut the 48 bus route from the same date will reduce the public transport access from Lea Bridge to Walthamstow and central London by one-third.
There is currently no pharmacy, post office or GP surgery for this newly-specified urban area which has already been subject to three years of construction disturbance, noise and pollution. The Lea Bridge Station sites project will add five more years of similar disruption.
Pocket Park’s function as pollution-buster and flood-preventer ignored by Council
The ‘Love Lea Bridge’ deputation, which included local residents as well as individual members of the Green Party, the Labour Party, Waltham Forest Extinction Rebellion and Waltham Forest Animal Protection, were dismayed that Cllr Miller refused to review the need for the Pocket Park as part of protecting this part of the borough from the effects of climate change. The ‘Love Lea Bridge’ deputation pointed to the Pocket Park’s essential local role in improving air quality, providing flood defence and as a rich natural habitat for birds, insects and wildlife.                               /ends.

Left: ‘Love Lea Bridge’ group with the pop-up photo display they showed to Cllr Miller. Right: tall mature trees in the Orient Way Pocket Park destined to be felled.

Update on the thousands of flats under construction

Just as you think it can't get any worse the Draft Local Plan is looking to provide a further 27,000 flats. The 20,000 already under construction have not yet been completed and it is obvious the Central Line ,Victoria Line and the Borough's roads have no more capacity so what the Borough will be like in a year or so is too frightening to contemplate! Here is a selection from Tottenham Hale to South Grove.

Lea Bridge Road

Tottenham Hale

Near Blackhorse Road Station

South Grove

The Improvements to St James Street ready for the influx

The Mall to reopen after fire

The Mall on fire

The marketing guys at C&R are putting on a brave face and reckon the shopping centre re-opens on 4th September - looking a the hoardings going up that seems a tad over optimistic!

The Mall to reopen

Grants for Staff affected

Closed after the fire

Today (16th August 2019)