Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Boroughs of Culture

Waltham Forest and Brent named first London boroughs of culture
Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan said the scheme would ‘give all Londoners, regardless of background, the opportunity to enjoy the capital’s fantastic cultural riches’. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Waltham Forest and Brent have been named as the first London boroughs of culture, each receiving £1.35m of funding.
The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced the two winners on Tuesday morning, which were chosen from the 22 London boroughs that submitted a bid. Ten boroughs did not enter the competition.
The project is inspired by the success of European capital of culture programmes, which have benefited cities including Glasgow and Liverpool, and more recently the UK city of culture, won by Derry and Hull and, in 2021, Coventry.
First up in Khan’s scheme will be Waltham Forest in 2019, followed by Brent in 2020.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Residents Peacefully Protesting about the Town Centre Plans

Organised by the Save Our Square Campaign 1,000 or so residents and groups came out to protest at the plans by the council to destroy the Town Centre with 4 monstrous tower blocks over 30 storeys high and the loss of 32% of the openspace. The 502 flats to be built will not be affordable to residents of the Borough and many of the groups protesting were arguing for housing that is affordable to those on average or below earnings. The 81 trees due to be felled were highlighted with art works created by members of the group.

Full details of what is wrong with the plans

Friday, 23 February 2018

Council Tax Rise

The council tax rise is 5% - that's nothing compared to the 62% rise the Rates went up by in the 1970s under Neil Gerrard, Leader of the Council,  who went on to be MP for Walthamstow from 1992 to 2010.

5% Rise

Reuse of Coop Bank premises

From Stella Creasy MP's Newsletter

The Bank Job: Walthamstow Debt Project  

HSCB (Hoe Street Central Bank) launches in March 2018 in the former CoOp Bank in Walthamstow. This project involves a team of local people, employed as trainee money printmakers, who will work with artist Hilary Powell to create £50,000 worth of limited edition currency to exchange for the pounds needed to buy up £1 million worth of debt and abolish it. The bank will be a hub of everyday economic education, inviting diverse participants and audiences to take part in debate on the urgent need for, and ways towards, a fairer economy and society.
As part of this the team have a series of local talks and events planned. This includes a launch event on Monday 12th March between 7.30pm to 10pm, where you can meet the four local leaders celebrated by HSCB banknotes, battling budget cuts to provide basic services to the people of Waltham Forest. There will also be a trailer screening of ‘Bank Job: People Powered Money’, the documentary feature film by Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell behind ‘Money Talks’.
On Tuesday 13th March between 7.30pm -10pm there will be a talk on "What is money and how can it work for us?" This debate brings together ideas about new and alternative currencies and cashless systems based on moral accounting and exchange. It looks at how and if these work and how to push for a system of money creation working for and not against the people.
To keep upto date with this project and for more details on events please follow them on Facebook

MP and the Town Square

Stella Creasy MP has explained her criteria for scrutinising the Town Centre Plans.

MP's View

Paint Giveaway

Great Paint Place Giveaway - 24 Feb 2018

Forest Recycling Project is hosting a free paint giveaway on February 24th 2018 at their Paint Place warehouse in Leytonstone, East London. With spring just around the corner this is a great chance to get a head start on some early year decorating. Visitors will have the opportunity to take away up to 20 litres of free paint, with various types and colours of paint on offer.  With brands that include Dulux, Leyland, Crown and Johnstones in stock, the chance to source some high quality paint is an occasion not to be missed. With a typical pot of paint on the high street costing £10-£30, each attendee could save up £100 ...read more from Forest Recycling Project

Four Fathers

Four Fathers and Save our Square

Are your policies in place?

If you run a Charity or Voluntary group are your policies in place and up to date?


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Council's Consultation process

Council's Consultation

Hackney Singers Concert


Save Our Square

The protest went very well.....

Three days to go!
And it’s looking good for the Occupation on Saturday

See below the plan for the day and the material for distribution

Here is the Facebook event for the Occupation – let’s do a last blast of everyone and every community page calling for Waltham Forest to unite against this undemocratic land grab.

Last night's organising meeting
Another successful organising meeting of the campaign last night - including some media interest from student reporters.

And the meeting was pleased to celebrate the victory secured by tenants and local campaigners at Fred Wigg and John Walsh towers.

Again we started with the reports and a lot is being done with the response getting warmer, people especially responding to the idea opposing the developers’ land grab and more people indicating they're coming to the occupation. Those who went to see Sadiq Khan reported he has said he will follow up on the letters he’s received. The campaign is pursuing a meeting. He will have the opportunity to refuse this scheme permission so we must keep the pressure up. The campaign also agreed to prepare a submission to the mayor’s consultation. A Labour member reported that council leader Clare Coghill had been asked about the sale of public land to the developers Capital and Regional at a recent meeting and had said she didn’t know but would find out.

Since the meeting we have had this report via Linda Taaffe:
Great news. It was reported from the Growth Scrutiny Committee held on Tuesday evening, that Labour Cllr Gerry Lyons asked a question, referring to the escalated costs of the Fred Wigg John Walsh Towers regeneration, about the possible repetition of this regarding the Mall development. It was expected that there would almost certainly be new building regulations brought in for high rise towers arising out of the Hackett Review about Grenfell. The Mall plans include high rise flats.
The portfolio holder was not present, but a senior council officer responded by committing to give the information as soon as possible.
Labour Councillor Saima Mahmood was also there. She made an impassioned contribution at the Planning Committee Hearing opposing the Mall application back in December.
We hope all Labour members and councillors who oppose the Mall regeneration plan will join the Occupation on Saturday 24th in the Square.

Plan for the day

We agreed a plan for the day (weather forecast is for a dry day btw –but fingers crossed) which will start with some piped music, go on to the speeches, then we occupy the area they plan to build on.

This will be followed by a march around the square and then we have all the festival activities that are planned, including music (but no amp) and children’s activities. A very impressive list of speakers has been drawn up including campaigners from Luton who are fighting the same developer, from Haringey where they are fighting a massive development that will destroy £2bn of council homes, and representatives from the street markets and many more.

The artists will meet at 12 to mark out the trees for the chop and the part of the square under threat.
We are still in need of volunteers to steward so please get in touch if you’re up for that. There will be a meeting for stewards at 12.30am

Leafleting sessions were agreed as follows:
  • Leyton College: 8.15am Thursday
  • Leytonstone tube: 8am Friday
  • James Street station: 8am Friday
  • This morning Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Road and the bus station were done and some schools will be done in the afternoon.

Campaign material for the day (click to view image):

  • We have a new banner!
  • We will also have some campaign placards and signs
  • We have the leaflet produced as per last week’s discussion
  • And a petition
  • We also have a letter for distribution calling on Labour councils to oppose this development in words and deeds

Save Our Square campaign activities and updates

Press coverage
You can read some of the news reports – including in the national Guardian - about and pertaining to the campaign here

Please donate to help cover costs - leaflets, etc
To donate to our Fighting Fund please go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adrian-stannard

Social media links
Please visit us @SaveSquareE17 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/savewalthamstowtowncentre/

Material depots
You can pick up leaflets (now updated with JustGiving and Facebook links) from:
  • David and Jean's place55 Elmsdale Rd, E17 6PN in the porch
  • Rose and Crown Pub53 Hoe St, E17 4SA on leaflet table
  • Today Bread, 6-10 Central Parade, Hoe St E17 4RT in leaflets corner
  • Star of India, 875. Leytonstone High Road, E11 1HR

Campaign resources:

You can also sign the petition to Clare Coghill

You could also display this prettier poster

Please bring this model motion to your trade union, trades council, Labour meeting or other labour movement bodies

Model letters:
  • Letter to Sadiq Khan: this is to request he uses his power to call in the planning application on the basis that it does not meet the affordable housing threshold but people should keep sending it
  • Letter to John McDonnell: to request his support for the campaign was handed to him at the Trades Council meeting. Rachel from Momentum will follow up on this
  • Letter to Stella Creasy: this was hand-delivered on Friday. This is here response.
  • Letter to Labour councillors to request they oppose the development with a pledge to reverse the decision and push for an emergency meeting to reverse the decision.
Read More

Tuesdays - open planning meetings

Every week there is an open planning meeting where the campaigns decisions are taken. Join us at the William Morris Community Centre

Join us on social media

There is a constant flow of reports, updates and more on the campaign's Facebook page and here's the Twitter

Reaching out to young people

Campaigners balloted students at Leyton Sixth Form - and guess what? 95% want to see the council use its powers to build council homes not handing land to private developers!

Gastronomic Pimping

Lobbying Councillors

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Wood Street Library

Apparently Countryside will no longer be providing space in the Marlowe Road development for a new library as the council has decided to keep the existing one because of pressure from the public!! Do I detect an election in the offing!!

Wood Street Library

Image result for wood street library


Sign up to London Friends of Greenspaces Network to help preserve our parks and open spaces

London Plan

Just Space

Protests Groups in London

Tower Block battle continues

Tower Block battle

General Data Protection Regulations


Flats not Selling

Can these both be correct?

Flats not Selling

Housing Boom


Air Pollution in Tube

Air Pollution

Buildings of Walthamstow

Buildings of Walthamstow

Lea Bridge Station Plans

Lea Bridge

Pocket Park

Lea Bridge Station Sites is at a design consultation stage. It comprises three odd and scattered plots of land around the recently-re-opened Lea Bridge station (Network Rail) that belong to the Council. The Council wants to turn these disparate plots, together with the adjacent already under-construction tower block estate of 97 Lea Bridge Road, into a "Lea Bridge Town Centre". This town centre would have as its focus the lethal crossroads of Lea Bridge Road with Orient Way/ Argall Way these latter built specifically in the 1990s to carry heavy industrial traffic from the industrial estates and north London to and from the A12 and M11. These fast-traffic roads have no public transport or residential development because of their industrial/commercial nature hitherto.

The current proposals combined with 97 LB Road estate would result in five tower blocks squeezed into a restricted space and the destruction of our Pocket Park and 91 trees, all producing disastrous environmental and social results on the existing community of two-storey Victorian/ Edwardian housing of west Leyton. Such results include increased flood risk, excess pressure on already poor drainage and sewage, increased pollution, wind tunnel effect, insurmountable pressure on LB Road bus routes and public facilities etc.

Our group (Peoples Plan) has offered to the Council that we should work with them to improve these designs while they are at this stage, as yet still belonging to the Council. The Council agreed to this at the recent Lea Bridge Community Ward Forum. Their timescale stretches to summer 2019. During this period they intend to come up with a revised design for the Station Sites on the basis of the consultation results just ending now and, we intend, on the basis of our working with them, that there will be changes especially regarding the height of the towers and the retention of the Pocket Park. We are also highly concerned that there is no intention by the Council to build social housing on these plots of Council land, and that the high cost of deep piling through the Lea Valley river silt will prevent the so-called 'affordable' housing percentage to be achieved (because of financial viability). We will shortly be asking the Regeneration officer for an initial meeting. The resulting revised design would then be put out to developers who would be invited to put in planning applications in 2019.

So this is at quite a different stage from the Walthamstow Town Centre project, where the Planning Committee has already made a decision. We hope the Council just might have learned a little from its Walthamstow debacle. But who knows.

And the western end of Lea Bridge Road generally is under huge development threats. In answer to the Council's Call for Sites (re Local Plan), the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) have offered up for residential development consideration the Waterworks Nature Reserve Visitor Centre land (opposite the old Greyhound pub) and/or the Ice Centre car park adjacent to Essex Wharf flats on the River Lea. They are doing this because they want to lease the land for the sole purpose of making money. At the same time the Education Funding Agency is preparing to put in a planning application for two academy schools to be built at 150 Lea Bridge Rd (the former Thames Water site). All of these mentioned three sites are Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) status and so should not be enclosed or built on - the Council would have to get the land re-designated in order to allow development.

As you can see, the prospect is of the Lea Bridge Road west of the station becoming a built-up area. There is some liaison with Hackney residents about all this.

Sorry for the long detail, but hope that this gives an idea of the context we are in over here in the south-west of the borough.


Friday, 9 February 2018

PPI - Shadow Chancellor comes to town

John McDonnell MP Shadow Chancellor came to Harmony Hall to support the Trades Council campaign to stop PPI. The event was very well attended and the huge problems PPI is causing were highlighted.

Council becomes a property developer

Commercial Developer

Epping Forest's Future

Epping Forest

Lea Bridge Road Developments

No Social Housing


BGORUG Newsletter

Latest News 16 January 2018

Barking - Gospel Oak rail passenger services resumed operation on Monday 15 January, running to a timetable with an improved late evening service. http://content.tfl.gov.uk/gospel-oak-to-barking-timetable-january-2018.pdf

All the overhead wires along the line should now be assumed to be live and carrying 25,000 volts AC. An electric test train was operated between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham on 11 January.

The following line closures are planned:
Sunday 28 January Barking - South Tottenham until 12:45
Saturday 3 February Barking - South Tottenham until 08:30
Sunday 25 March Barking - South Tottenham until 12:45
Saturday 7 April - Sunday 8 April Barking - Gospel Oak whole weekend
Sunday 6 May Barking - South Tottenham until 12:30
Sunday 10 June Barking - Gospel Oak all day
Sunday 24 June Barking - South Tottenham all day

This gives the latest news on the electrification work, the delivery of our new electric trains, the lifting of Crouch Hill road bridge and advice on how to claim refunds and compensation from TfL for all the disruption passengers have suffered over the last two years.

Network Rail issued a new press release for the reopening of the line.   Gospel Oak to Barking electrification

Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers

Redevelopment of the tower blocks

Anvil preferred partner

Capital & Regional have selected Anvil as their partner to build the tower blocks in the Town Centre.

Developer for the flats

Walthamstow Manor ?


Not affordable homes