Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Walthamstow Bus Station 1992

Here is one for the bus geeks!!

Walthamstow Bus Station 1992

Hackney Marsh Consultation

Hackney Marshes – Public Consultation
I am writing to let you know that the Council is planning to launch a public consultation on a proposal to apply for PINS consent to hold major public events on Hackney Marshes between 1st May and 31st August each year.

The Council is proposing to seek permission for a period of five years to provide the opportunity for a programme of viable events to be delivered, but also enabling regular review and amendments to this programme. The Council is not applying for consent for the events themselves at this stage and recognises and respects that Hackney Marsh is common land and has significant value for the borough’s residents as well as ecological and environmental value, designations and habitats. All of this needs to be balanced and protected as part of the Council’s approach to delivering events on the Marsh. The purpose of the consultation is therefore to gauge public response and note any concerns from stakeholders, which will inform our formal application. Once our application has been received there will be a formal period of statutory consultation.

Our consultation will launch on Tuesday 26th February, when further information will be available, and will run for eight weeks, during which time we will hold meetings with key stakeholders to ensure that all views are captured, as well as drop in events for the general public. We will be in touch shortly to arrange a meeting or conversation with you, should you wish to contribute to the consultation. In the meantime, I am writing to ensure you have proper notification of the consultation.

Tea Party in the Village

Spring Tea Party
Dear Villagers
On Saturday 27 April 2013, the WRVA will be hosting a spring tea party for the Village older residents.  The tea party will be held in St Mary’s Welcome Centre  from 2 – 5 pm and will include music, bingo, dance and chat.
We are seeking volunteers to help on the day: 
  • Help in the kitchen
  • Help with setting up
  • Help with cleaning up
  • People who are happy to engage and chat with older Village residents.
We are also looking for volunteers to contribute some home baking for the party.
Any help and assistance will be most welcome.  Please email Lorna lornajdowning@yahoo.co.uk and/or Tracyt.lindsay700@btinternet.com to let us know what assistance you can offer.
Many thanks and best wishes,
Lorna and Tracy

History of NLLDC

Katy Andrews talk

Big Screen


Big Screen Report

At next week's planning committee the officers will be recommending that the planning permission for the Big Screen in Walthamstow Town Centre should be renewed. I never noticed the planning application, but would have objected if I had, on the grounds that it does nothing to enhance the Town Centre, and is environmentally damaging as it wastes over £4,000 of electricity per year. More to the point no one ever looks at it - it is just background wallpaper!! Hopefully the BBC will withdraw the funding.

The report states:

"No comments/objections were received. It is worth noting that the 
previously approved application was met with a large number of 
objections. "  
No doubt due to the lack of publicity about this application!

"10.5 In addition to the safety aspect, it is considered that the increase in people has helped to sustain and improve the evening and weekend economy of the area. 
10.6 With this in mind, it is considered that the screen has made a positive contribution to the area, from both economic and community aspects, and there is no reason to consider that the screen would not continue to do so. "


Marsh Lane bridge replacement

From Katy Andrews:

PLEASE NOTE: Due to pressure from Katy and NLLDC this item has been moved from the 5th March to the 26th March Planning Committee. Do come along to the committee meeting at 7.30 in the Council Chamber to give support to Katy and her Lea Valley campaigners.

Leyton Jubilee Park

I have just seen the plans to replace the bridge at Marsh Lane over the Dagenham Brook into Marsh Lane Fields (the southern portion of Leyton Marsh which is NOT within the LVRP boundary but is adjacent, and IS still subject to commuted LammasRights applying to ALL Parishioners of Leyton).

Would mean 3 access points for coaches and heavy goods vehicles - others, from Freight Road ("Orient Way") and from Seymour Road, already existing and usable.

Raising again the possibility of the spur road that local residents fought for 12 years to oppose in the 1980s and 1990s (through RATS, STORRM, NLLDC, WFTUG etc.).

Before and after pics heavily digitally altered - a tree has grown and a wall has been rebuilt in v2. The access track looks like an urban road in v2, complete with black tarmac,fresh road markings and pavements.

Marsh Lane was a footpath until BR built North End Cottage (now Marsh Lane Cottage) at the western end and widened the access track as far as the sidings. The current status is an unadopted Byway Open to All Traffic (ie a private access route following along established customary Right of Way.) 

Replacing the bridge would improve access for vehicular traffic and urbanise the character of the Marsh beyond, but do nothing to improve pedestrian access or make the green space more "attractive" (except to joy riders etc. Perhaps!).
The application does not mention ANY consultation process whatsoever with Marsh Users.

KLA, who carried out the excellent consultations in 2010-11 , have been bounced off the job. No-one seems to know who is now in charge. Ben Frearson who manages the area(X2606) is on leave til 25/02.

The new steps and long ramp replacing the quite recent "safer routes to school" accessroute - which I objected to last year and opposed at Planning Cttee on the grounds it was a waste of public money - would be removed.

The official closing date for objections is tomorrow, 22nd Feb. The application goes to committee on Tues 5th March. The officer's report will be signed ofon Thursday 28th February and is already being written.

Planning Officers are Caron Saunders (who deals with all Olympic Legacy projects) and John Harrison (who deals with the Marshes). 

By Monday morning if at all possible.
Quotes from the WF LDF about green spaces policy would be helpful.
Please get your name down to speak at the PL Cttee mtg. to oppose it on the night too.
If there is no public interest in person it will sail through. Please try to come on the 5th March to stop our fields being ruined by what would be a spur road in all but name.

Residents of Lea Bridge or Leyton wards would be exceptionally helpful. The bridge is in both.
(Two officers have already told me I have no right to object as I live in Walthamstow, as if this was some municipal park rather than part of the Lea ValleMarshes.)

And please try to visit your local councillors' surgeries over the next week and a half and ask for their support.
Please add your own comments!
Please pass this on to LVF, SLM, NLLDC, WFCS etc too!

Lee Valley Park Development Framework

Park Development Framework
Lee Valley Regional Park Act 1966 Section 14 Draft Area Proposals

The Authority is in the process of preparing a suite of documents, the Park Development Framework (PDF), which will establish our aspirations and specific proposals for the future development and management of the Regional Park.  As part of this process the Authority is currently engaged in translating the Thematic Proposals (adopted in Jan 2011) onto area based maps in line with Section 14 of the Lee Valley Regional Park Act 1966 (the Park Act) to provide specific proposals covering the whole Park.

Consultation was carried out between 16th June and 27th July 2012 on draft proposals for the 'Waterlands' Areas 3, 4 and 5 covering the Regional Park between Coppermill Lane and the M25.  This resulted in a range of comments from people and organisations.  These are recorded together with officer responses in the 'Schedule of Comments' which can be found on the following webpagewww.leevalleypark.org.uk/pdfareaproposal  The changes made to the draft proposals for Area 3, 4 and 5 are also available via the same link with changes marked up in red text and a strikethrough indicating text to be deleted.   The revised proposals will be considered for adoption by the Authority Meeting on 25th April 2013 and the Committee report on this matter will be available from the 18th April 2013, also via www.leevalleypark.org.uk/pdfareaproposal        

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Myddelton House, Bulls Cross, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 9HG
Tel: 01992 717711                                                                                             

Learn how to graft an apple tree

Learn how to make a new Apple tree 

- grafting skillshare at the Tree Nursery

An apple pip won't grow into the same variety of tree: you have to graft a bit of the tree to a rooted stump (rootstock). Learn this simple skill which applies to many other fruits.

You can take a tree away or have it adopted by the Tree Nursery. Plants & tools provided but you're welcome to bring a cutting from your own apple tree (contact us for advice on cutting the 'scion').

: Sunday 17 March
Time: 10.30, finishing about 3.30
Place: The Tree Nursery (how to get there)

Booking: 15 places - please email grafting2013mail@hmug.org.uk to book; advance payment secures your place

Charge: £20 to cover materials & refreshments

Clothes: dress for a bit of mess, boots not needed

Food: tea etc provided, please bring lunch to share


For an update on Stella Creasy MP's campaign to get residents of Walthamstow working together to help improve the area.


Leyton Marsh - one year on

Save Lea Marshes

Latest about SLM

Clean up the Lea

River Lea Pollution

SLM and the Lea Pollution

Monday, 25 February 2013

Lea Bridge History site

Here is a site providing a valuable comprehensive history of the Lea Bridge area.

Lea Bridge History 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Electrification of Barking to Gospel Oak Line

Electrification meets the real world
Electrification of the Gospel Oak-Barking route has to be an absolute no-brainer, especially when its strategic importance in allowing electric traction to service the new London Gateway container terminal is taken into account.  So why isn’t happening?

Well, as Transport Minister Simon Burns pointed out just before Christmas, at approximately £90 million for 12 miles of railway electrification through suburban London the cost is ‘very high’.  Since several readers have expressed astonishment at this figure, I have done some delving.  And it does add up.

First the core section includes 3.8 miles on viaduct, requiring special foundations for the overhead line equipment support masts.  A further 1.24 milers is in cutting with a low retaining wall, similarly complicating support structures.

On top of that, there are 15 low bridges requiring clearance work many of which are used to carry utilities such as water, gas and electricity across the railway.  So it is going to be expensive. One informed estimate puts the cost at around £45 million. 

Then you add the extras: a contingency allowance plus compensation to operators for disruption to services.  Say another £30 million.

Despite the contingency allowance, we now have to add the Treasury’s optimism bias.  This is nominally 60%.
So this tiny scheme is now looking like £120 million.  But as the scheme progresses the contingency allowance should shrink so the £90 million quoted by the minister is probably about right.

Whitefield School

Whitefield School

Planning Explorer

When we met the Head of Development Control last year to complain about the rotten service provided by the Planning Explorer web site he admitted there were some problems and some too expensive to fix. Months later they admit they have a problem but so far none of the issues we raised have been fixed.

Some of the issues:

Why are plans not put on the site when the plans are registered - it is often weeks later before the plans appear on the site cutting into the objection time.

Some plans are duplicated onto another application so the wrong plans are made available.

Why is the weekly list of planning applications not e-mailed out instead of snail mail post - would save on postage and still provide a satisfactory service.

I have raised these issues over a number of years but still nothing is done to resolve them, but at last a formal apology on their web site!! Begs the question of why they now admit to the problems that have existed for years!

Council Apology

Monday, 18 February 2013

Leyton Conservation Area

The council is proposing to set up a Leyton Conservation area which would include Coronation Gardens and part of the High Road.

Your views are required by Monday 18th March.

An exhibition in the foyer of Leyton Library 
of the plans will be held on

Tuesday 19th February between 4pm and 7pm 

Thursday 28th February 11am to 2pm.

Your comments should be sent to the 
Conservation Officer  Jacinta Fisher


New School for Walthamstow?

New School

BBC and Free Schools

Free Schools

So where will it be sited?

Blackhorse Lane Consultation event

Blackhorse Lane Development

Consultation Event on Major Redevelopment of Blackhorse Lane Site

Planning Application expected to be submitted in March 2013.

A large area of industrial buildings and warehouses at the southern end of Blackhorse Lane is due to be redeveloped in a proposal by developers MacDonald Egan that will provide 500 new homes, student accommodation, retail units, cafes and a new linear public park, as part of major redevelopment plans for the area.

Exhibitions of outline plans for the scheme were held in November and the developers are now holding further meetings to give local residents the chance to see the latest proposals, find out more information about the plans and give their feedback before the plans are submitted to the Council in early March.   

The Waltham Forest Civic Society has arranged a consultaton meeting with the developers on Saturday 23rd February at The Mill, 7-11 Coppermill Lane E17 7HA from 2.00-4.00pm in the Garden Room to which all members of the society and other interested residents are invited.

This is one of several major developments which will have a big impact on the borough so please come to find out more about the plans, suggest changes or improvements and have your say before the plans are finalised.

Jane Sterland

Tesco the new High Street saviour!

Tesco the saviour

Lea Valley Meeting

Members of the various groups with an interest in the Lower Lea Valley held their second meeting and heard from Theo Thomas from Thames 21 about the Love the Lea campaign. The Lea is very badly polluted and one of the main reasons is the pollution from Deephams Sewage works at Tottenham. This is due to be upgraded by 2021 but this is too long to wait. Residents have to be taught how to manage their waste more ecologically.

Work has started on a report to say how we want to see the Lower Lea Valley develop now the LVRPA is seriously considering the future of the Ice Rink.

Love the Lea                                                             Thames 21

Thames Water's Plan                                                Deepham's Consultation

Civic Voice Newsletter

Civic Voice newsletter

Time for a bit of fun!


Epping Forest Guided Walks

Epping Forest Guided Walks

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Branching Out

The City of London's web site contains a vast amount of info including stuff about Epping Forest.

Branching Out

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lea Valley Marshes meeting

Dear all

This is just a quick reminder about the next cross-marshes meeting that we are holding at the Rose & Crown on Sunday 17 February.

Save Lea Marshes invite you to our second cross-marshes meeting, organised in order to pool knowledge and environmental expertise from local individuals and groups in order to protect our marshes.
The meeting will be at the Rose & Crown Theatre Pub’s Red Room on Sunday 17th February from 2-4pm. Donations welcome.
The first hour will be a presentation from Theo Thomas from Thames 21 on the ‘Love the Lea’ project and a discussion of how groups can work together locally to protect the Lea from pollution.
The second half will be devoted to composing a rival feasibility study to that being undertaken by LVRPA; instead of considering green/Metropolitan Open Land in the Lea Valley for a new ice centre, we will be putting forward a document demonstrating how this area could be managed for the benefit of biodiversity and wildlife.
All welcome! Please bring along any useful documentation for composing the feasibility study if you have any.
I look forward to meeting many of you, as I wasn't able to make the last meeting.

Best wishes

Walthamstow Wetlands walk

Olympic Park today

Olympic Park

St James Street Improvements

St James Street meeting

South Chingford Community Library

 NEWSLETTER Number 1 January 2013
Welcome to the first newsletter of the South Chingford Community Library (SCCL). We will begin by briefly outlining what we have to offer, so that you will be able to see what we can do for you. Regular Interest Groups On Wednesdays, we have, the Job Club, supported by a grant from Waltham Forest Council, to fund volunteer recruitment and training. Members of the Job Club are allowed free access to the internet, and also printing of CVs at no charge. The club is run in partnership with the Government’s JobCentre Plus scheme. East Tenders, a local organisation professionally qualified to give advice on employment and job seeking, is also providing support. Also meeting on Wednesdays is the “Little Stars” Mother and Toddler Group which has a series of themed meetings in January. Thursdays sees the regular meeting of Jean Cobb’s “Knit and Natter” club, which is supported by the new HobbyCraft store in Chingford. If you are interested in starting a new group based on your own special interest, then we are keen to hear from you.

We are open every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm
the job club in operation

Summary of Services and Hours of Opening
Subscription membership allowing borrowing of fiction and non-fiction books
Reference book section (books may not be borrowed from library)
Printing, scanning, and photocopying facilities
PC room with internet access – free public wifi access
Rooms for hire on a one-off or regular basis
Meetings of regular interest groups

For more extensive details, visit our website: southchingfordlibrary.org.uk
WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS! In order to be able extend our opening hours, we need more volunteers, able to devote several hours on a monthly or weekly basis to the various tasks associated with running a community library. Volunteering is very rewarding (except financially!). If you are interested, come in and see us, or download an application form from the website.

Where to return library books and where to use your library membership cards People frequently wish to use a Waltham Forest Library membership card to borrow our books, or try to return a Waltham Forest library book, to us. We are an independent, community library, totally separate from the council library system, and we issue our own membership cards, which can be used to borrow books from us (and only from us). So please remember to return (by the due date) your Waltham Forest library books to any Waltham Forest Library, and your SCCL library books to us. (thank you)
International promotion As you may know, SCCL uses fliers as one means of promoting its services, and making the local community aware of its presence. We make our standard flier available to anyone to download from the website, expecting it to be displayed in front windows of houses and shops. You may have seen a copy displayed in a local supermarket or shop (for which we are most grateful). However, the flier also has international travel experience. Shoppers at the Walmart store in Durham, North Carolina, may have been surprised to see one of our supporters displaying the SCCL flier in the car park outside. There is much more on this story on the website. If you read the full story, we need to point out that our rules do not permit bears to be brought into the community library. 

Support the William Morris Gallery

Museums + Heritage Awards 2013 Culture Pros Pick – have your say

Guardian Cultural Professionals Network are inviting your nominations for the UK's most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction of the past year
The Guardian Cultural Professionals Network has teamed up with the annual Museums + Heritage Awards to launch a search for the UK's most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction of the past 12 months.

This is your opportunity to nominate the UK institution you think is a shining example within the sector for its ground-breaking approach to engaging with audiences and visitors in 2012-13. The winning attraction will gain the recognition of its peers and visiting public alike.

Who should win? To have your say, nominate using the form below, telling us in no more than 50 words why you feel your choice is deserving of this accolade. The five attractions with the most nominations will then be shortlisted and opened to the public vote – you are welcome to nominate your own organisation for the award but you will need to encourage your supporters to do so too. So good luck and get nominating!

• Monday 17 December – Nominations open
• Monday 11 February – Nominations close
• Monday 18 March – Shortlist opened for public vote
• Friday 12 April – Voting closes
• Wednesday 15 May – Winner announced at M+H Awards 2013

St Andrew’s Girl Guides Neighbourhood Map

Walthamstow Map

123 Acres and No Cow

Dear friends,

I am giving a talk next Thursday 14th February at 7.30pm at the Trinity URC in 58 Orford Road for the Walthamstow Historical Society.  The topic is “The Struggle for the People’s Marshes” and I will endeavour to tell the story – and contextualise – the events that led up to the formation of the Lammas Lands Defence Committee in the Parish of Leyton in 1892, and what it – and others less well known – achieved.

This is very much research in progress, and I have not yet drawn any firm conclusions about it, so it will be more a presentation of what I have found out rather than an interpretation, but I think some of you may find some of my findings rather surprising!

A flyer advertising the talk is attached.

Please do pass this on to any others whom you think may be interested.
Many thanks,

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Marsh Lane Bridge

Planning Application 2013/0085

Why does the council want to replace the bridge leading into Marsh Lane or now the Jubilee Park?

Katy has  some questions:

Not content with removing the bridge that was put in there, to encourage pupils to cycle to the Lammas School, as part of the Safer Routes to School scheme (I was assured by Mr Prud'homme of LBWF that there was nothing wrong with it) , it now seems our mad Borough wish to make this bridge even more dangerous by replacing it with one access for both pedestrians and motor vehicles.

My warning antennae are vibrating and flashing red!
This looks to me to be quite simply a road-widening exercise!
Those of us who remember the great RATs (Residents Against Traffic) and STORRM (Stop This 'Orrible Relief Road Madness) 11-year campaign against the Leyton Freight Road (sanitised as "relief road" and now named Orient Way) will recall that the spark that lit the fuse of revolt in Clementina Road was the threat of connecting Marsh Lane (an unadopted road classified as a bridlepath and customary right of way) to the freight road across Marsh Lane Fields.

This new planning application serms to be the first step towards realising Cllr Terry Wheeler's dream - unveiled at a meeting between borough officers and NLLDC representatives to discuss the Northern Olympic Fringe in August 2010 - of building new three-storey flats on Seymour Fields, which are subject to the Lammas Rights commutation legislation covenant of 1905. In 2010 Wheeler said this was necessary to get Lea Bridge Station re-opened - not an argument that would wash now, and which NLLDC unequivocally rejected then.

This application needs to be strenuously opposed. If there is a reason for replacing the bridge/s then so be it, but no shared use and no more road-building by stealth across our Marshes!!


Sustainable Communities Act Meeting

Sustainable Communities Act East London Public Meeting - Thursday 7th March

Local Works are organising an East London public meeting on the Sustainable Communities Act.

Please come along and hear how to use the Act to protect and promote local services, shops, trade and the environment in East London’s communities and create a thriving place to live and work. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions and make comments - we want to involve you. Food and drink will also be provided. Details for the meeting are:

Date:          Thursday 7th March 2012, 7pm to 9pm
Venue:       The Crypt, Christ Church Spitalfields, Commercial Street, London, E1 6LY
Chair:         Mervyn Kohler - Age UK Special Advisor
Speakers:  Cllr Luftur Rahman - Mayor of Tower Hamlets
                        Ruhana Ali - London Citizens Tower Hamlets Community Organiser
                        Khadiru Mahdi - Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service
                        Stephen Shaw - Local Works National Co-ordinator

The Sustainable Communities Act has produced some great results for communities across the country, from protecting Post Offices in Sheffield to seeing money earned from renewable energy spent locally. However many still do not know about it’s potential - government ministers have even described it as ‘Britain’s best kept secret’. We must change this! Please get involved by coming along.

ACTION - please do the following

  1. Please come along to the meeting and please bring others: friends, neighbours, colleagues etc - the more the better!

  1. Please spread the word locally, contact me for copies of the meeting flyer (view it here) to distribute locally. You can reach me on steve@localworks.org or 020 7239 9053.

This is a free, public event and no booking is required. I look forward to seeing you there!

Yours sincerely

Stephen Shaw
National Co-ordinator
Local Works - promoting the Sustainable Communities Act
office: 020 7278 4443 direct: 020 7239 9053 mobile: 07788 646 933
website: www.localworks.org
address: Local Works, c/o Unlock Democracy, 37 Gray's Inn Rd, London WC1X 8PQ

London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network

Hi all

I went to the London Green Spaces Friends Group Network meeting last night at City Hall. The room was packed, with representatives from Friends Groups across London.

The meeting started with a talk from a representative from the Open Spaces Society on campaigning to protect green spaces from development and threat of sell-off. She identified two key threats:

* The pro development approach of central Government and cuts to council budgets put the pressure on green spaces. Councils see a sell-off as a way to generate much needed cash and a way to save on the cost of maintenance.
* The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will stop people registering land as a village green if it is earmarked for development in any way (regardless of whether or not there has been a formal planning application). It will also erode the requirement for Compulsory Purchase Orders to be scrutinised by Special Parliamentary Procedure. Instead, Eric Pickles or his successor will have the power to decide whether a CPO goes ahead or not.

This means that if we want to register any land in Waltham Forest or Hackney as a village green then we need to do so quickly. The bill is now in committee stage in the House of Lords, so it's not far from Royal Assent unless it is derailed and it looks unlikely that this will happen. I think it is areas that don't have any other form of protection that we need to look at, so not Leyton Marsh but is there anywhere else? And, if we do identify anywhere, it might be sensible to join the Open Spaces Society (£45 per year) so that we can call on their help. Perhaps an item for discussion at the next meeting on 11 Feb?

The rest of her talk focused what makes a good campaign. Things that jumped out were:

* Get councillors out in the green space for positive photo opportunities. I wonder if this is something we could factor in to our discussions about the pledge, to try and co-opt the councillors and show they why they should care?
* Try to stop it ever getting as far as the planning committee, because they you have to contend with a potential appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if you do manage to get it thrown out at the planning committee stage. This is obviously what we're doing with the ice rink plans, so hurrah everyone :-)
* Never be sucked into a process of a dialogue with the other side that they manage. Perhaps a salient reminder before our meeting with Sean Dawson on Thursday? We need to stay in control of our conversation.
* There is a new designation, 'local green space', for places that haven't got any other form of protection.

Next, Laurie Elks spoke about the LVRPA and the precept (the money that all the councils in London pay to the LVRPA). I think the general feeling was that we need to find another way to fund the LVRPA but that there isn't an easy option on the table. Should the national government pay? Should the GLA pay (which is really the councils paying but in a slightly less direct way)? Interesting points made included:

* It seems as if the London Councils will get together to discuss the precept at some point in the future.
* Would tidying up the seeming duplication of functions in the executive save money?
* Are the LVRPA trying to bundle up as much as possible into a trust to save on business rates? And what would this mean for the future of the park?
* The LVRPA have been poor at grabbing pots of funding for landscaping initiatives because they don't have a landscaping team any more. It therefore shows more interest in biodiversity than landscaping, and possibly because biodiversity is cheaper. Personally I think the park should focus on biodiversity over landscaping. I prefer the concept of re-wilding over connecting spaces.
* The Royal Parks are currently funded by central Government and they are mainly in the south west of London. Perhaps it is only fair for the north east of London to have centrally funded green spaces too. There is a discussion about the funding for the Royal Parks moving to the GLA. It was also pointed out that the LVRP costs much less to run that the Royal Parks and it is much bigger, so perhaps offers much better value for money.
* There was mention of the idea of splitting the venues and the green space management into two distinct areas of jurisdiction, so the lines don't get so blurred.
* Melanie from a Lambeth group wanted the meeting to state that we are against money going to the LVRPA in these austere times when the boroughs need the money themselves. I offered that I thought a strong statement like that might split the meeting and pit friends groups against each other.
* There was a suggestion that the LVRPA hold pop concerts to raise money and there was loud discontent.
* Laurie proposed 'highly conditional love' as the best solution. He will put it more eloquently than me, but something along the lines of, 'If you don't do your job well - focus on  then we will campaign for the removal of the precept'.
The conclusion, from the Chairman, was that the LVRP is an important green space and it needs to be funded, so the first thing we can say is that we object to the current funding mechanisms. Secondly, any money that individual councils don't have to spend on the LVRP should be ring-fenced for green spaces in their boroughs, and local people can campaign for this to happen in their own boroughs. And, thirdly, that we should campaign for the LVRP to be better managed.

Finally, there was a round-up of other business:

* Love Parks Week is 27 July to 4 August and there is a website to register all events taking place. Should we plan something? Perhaps the project Jo has been working on?
* A National Parks Petition will be coming our way in due course and we are encourage to spread far and wide.
* A picnic near Parliament was proposed for Love Parks Week, but many felt that they would be focusing on events in their own boroughs so I don't know if it will go ahead.
* The date of the next meeting will probably by 15 April 2013.

Love to you all.


Cows on Walthamstow Marsh

Cows on Walthamstow Marsh

Civic Voice and High Streets

Civic Voice responds to comments from Sir Terry Leahy about decline of the High Street

Responding to former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy who has described the rise of supermarkets and the closure of small shops as "part of progress", Civic Voice Chair, Paula Ridley, said:
“Our collective sense of community and wellbeing is intimately connected to the health of our high streets which play an important social role in bringing people together. The rise of supermarkets, with the infrastructure needed to sustain them and their purchasing power has helped to crowd out competition. As a result, small independent shops are increasingly missing from the high street. This is not progress, but it is change.”
“Vacancy rates of UK shops have risen from 2.8 per cent (2008) to 14.2 per cent at the end of December 2012 and are likely to continue to rise, leaving towns with only large national chains surviving.
Steve Graham, Director, Civic Voice added “A diverse range of local shops, services and other activities in our town centres is one of the most important contributors to what makes places enjoyable and people proud to live there. They become destinations, not clones, like Totnes, where 8 out of every 10 shops are independent. There are many reasons for the decline of the high street and our towns are facing difficult choices, Civic Voice currently sits on the Government’s High Street X Fund which is looking to reward innovative projects underway now across the country to rejuvenate high streets. We look forward to visiting these schemes and helping to promote the lessons learned”.
Civic Voice once again calls for the following measures to better protect our high streets (in priority order):
  • transfer business rates from out-of-town development to reduce rates in town centres
  • block retail development which close local shops and bring empty shops back into use
  • provide free parking and more reduced parking fees
  • allow planning authorities to control the mix of shops
  • free up councils to offer rate relief
  • introduce community right to protect valued local shops and services
  • tackle landlords who leave property vacant.