Saturday, 28 September 2013

Warner Estates Exhibition

There is a free exhibition at the Walthamstow Central Library on the history of the Warner Estates. This runs until Sunday 29th September 2013.


William Morris's pub for sale

Pub for sale

Kelmscott Manor visit by Friends of William Morris Gallery



Olympic venues value

Olympic venues value

see P84 They've been doing some interesting writedowns of the Olympic park asset base and the main Stadium is now worth £1.5m while the entire saleable value of all the development plots in the park is stated as £85m .

The entire park, ie all the development land and the venues, is now valued at £142m !

Cost just of acquiring & remediating the land was > £1.1 billion 

 Charlie

Hackney History

Hackney History

Save Lea Marshes Newsletter September

This is the weekly digest of Save Lea Marshes (SLM) a round-up of email discussions, issues, events and news concerning keeping our marshes and green spaces in the Lea Valley area, green, open and free for all.  This week's topics are:
 
LEYTON MARSH - we've caught site of an interim report from the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) into the state of biodiversity on our beloved marsh after the rampages of the Basketball Training Facility atrocity.  It appears that there was no control over the contractors regarding the mowers but the LVRPA has admitted concerns over the mowing in certain periods, that is closer to SLM's general view on this.  If that's reasonably good news then what follows is not.  Salient points include (1) the seeded area has no wildflowers on it save a bit of clover because it has been seeded so heavily with standard grass mix, which hinders wildflowers from growing. (2) sections of the grass that form the SINC designated areas, which have not been reinstated as agreed.  For those who are new supporters of the SLM campaign - the Olympic Delivery Authority's contractor for the turf provision and laying - the Sports Turf Research Institute - told us verbally and in writing about the diverse range of seed they had planted on Leyton Marsh.  The full report will be due later in the year.
 
MILLFIELDS PARK/STRIMMING - complaints have been made to Hackney Councillor Mc Shane and other people responsible for Hackney's Biodiversity Plan, about recent strimming of the paths (the south side in July) and this week on the side.  This and the fact that mowing has also been carried out on a wet cover area, specifically mentioned in the Biodiversity Plan, are in contravention of that plan.
 
EAST  MARSH - some of us took a bracing walk to East Marsh to examine the area over there.  East Marsh pre.ODA consisted of football pitches and general green space.  Post ODA - leaving aside the issue of the car park space for the moment - most of the grass has been replaced.  However, the turf is not entirely even and there will be a bit of an advantage/disadvantage of a slight hill to teams playing there in future.  Otherwise, the area has a plethora of pathways that seem to anticipate "herds of wildebeests" walking to and from the Olympic park.  There is a wide central pathway, where fairly mature trees have been planted along the edges in some sort of artificially covered material.  At present this comes to an abrupt end, which doesn't seem to correspond (at least yet), to linking with the bridge, which has many steps up to it.  There area other pathways, with many seats - some of which will allow you to lie down (so good news at least for people forced to sleep out ..), there are also humpy, winding paths that could be for cycling and landscaping not exactly wonderful for small toddling persons.  There also seems to be some non-native, non-wild species of plants dotted about, that may or may not be planned.  Access is possible from the roadside but there are still fences from the Hackney Marsh side.  As an added extra, there are also terraces built into a bank for people to watch the football.
 
Talking of football and car parks ..  Chairman of the Hackney and Leyton Football League, has another long, meandering and confused letter in this week's "Hackney Gazette's" letters page, concerning this topic.  We can appreciate his post ODA trauma but he seems to think we are against football on the marshes (No, Johnny, no Johnny no).  We are as one on this matter and want to see good football changing rooms etc., for the sportsfolk, what we are against is the building of unnecessary car parks that will not only reduce green space making it easier for developers but also make it easier for the big events that L.B.Hackney would like to stage on the marshes similar to the Radio 1 event that so wrecked the hallowed fields.  Furthermore if these sports-folk are so unfit that they cannot walk the required 500 metres they shouldn't be playing anyway.  Referencing Elizabeth the 1st. - if I as "weak and feeble woman" can carry an amount of shopping equivalent to a sports kit that distance, then ...  There is also a leader report on East Marsh and the Car parks in this week's "Hackney Citizen".
 
BUTTERFLY COUNT - after the previous item let's cheer ourselves up with some good news.  Our friends at the annual Butterfly Count say that 15 of the 21 Big Butterfly Count species have increased this year from 2012 and 12 species are up by 50 per cent, these include Tortoiseshells and Peacocks.  This is mostly due to better weather for them this year.
 
MARSHROOTS ART EXHIBITION - this exhibition of community art created for the "Reclaim Leyton Marsh Celebration" a year ago is now on until 4 November at the Spark CafĂ© in Springfield Park E5 9EF.  Also featured in this week's "Hackney Citizen".
 
ABNEY PARK CAMPAIGN - our friends, Stokey Local, over in Stoke Newington have put in for a Judicial Review but are still appealing for funds to help over-turn the recently agreed Sainsbury's store/apartment development that, if not stopped, with overshadow  the important wildlife reserve of Abney Park.  Any pence and pounds you can spare welcomed.
 
AND FINALLY ... one year on - you can get close to nature and the countryside at the "Lee Valley Countryside Live" event on Saturday 28 and 29 September on Leyton Marsh - what a shame that there is generally a lot less wildlife there to see now and after a year when people were fenced off from the land ...

Marshroots Art

Marshroots

On-Line Planning Improvements

Mr Stannard

I refer to your email to Shifa Mustafa concerning the issue of the Planning Explorer and viewing of plans.

I note the fact that you spoke to myself and Mr Boyes last year. The service has struggled with the ICT software in relation to the Planning Explorer.

I can advise that the Council has now procured a new ICT operating system for Development Management which will be installed over the next few months. I  have asked the provider to prioritise any aspects of the system which interface withe customer. Priority will be given to the new Planning Explorer which should be up and running in the first couple of months of 2014.

With regard to consultation dates you will be aware that we take replies up to the date a decision is made.

With regard to South Grove there is a separate web page giving the plan details on this which can be accessed via the planning application page on the Council's web site.

I know you will be disappointed that there has not been a fix but there is one in the pipeline.

regards

David

David Scourfield
Head of Development Management and Building Control
G06 Sycamore House
Waltham Forest Town Hall Complex
E17 4JF

Direct Line: 020 8496 6701
Duty Administration: 020 8496 6876


>>> Pam Holder <Pam.Holder@walthamforest.gov.uk> 09/09/2013 17:39 >>>
Hi Dave

Can you please arrange for a response to be sent to Mr Stannard on the issues he has raised and send a copy of your response to this office.

Kind regards

Pam


Pam Holder
P A to Shifa Mustafa|
Deputy Chief Executive
Environment and Regeneration|
London Borough of Waltham Forest|
Sycamore House|Waltham Forest Town Hall Complex|
Forest Road|Walthamstow|London|E17 4JF

Direct line: 020 8496 6826
Email: Pam.holder@walthamforest.gov.uk<mailto:Pam.holder@walthamforest.gov.uk>



From: Pam Holder
Sent: 09 September 2013 17:14
To: wfcivicsociety@gmail.com
Cc: Holly Welsh
Subject: RE: On-line Planning issues
Dear Mr Stannard

Your email to the Chief Executive has been passed to Shifa Mustafa, Deputy Chief Executive Environment and Regeneration, and the contents have been noted.

A response will be sent to you in due course.

Please do not hesitate to contact this office if you require any further assistance.

Kind Regards


Pam Holder
P A to Shifa Mustafa|
Deputy Chief Executive
Environment and Regeneration|
London Borough of Waltham Forest|
Sycamore House|Waltham Forest Town Hall Complex|
Forest Road|Walthamstow|London|E17 4JF

Direct line: 020 8496 6826
Email: Pam.holder@walthamforest.gov.uk<mailto:Pam.holder@walthamforest.gov.uk>



From: Karen Honeyball
Sent: 09 September 2013 16:43
To: wfcivicsociety@gmail.com
Cc: Shifa Mustafa; Pam Holder; Holly Welsh
Subject: RE: On-line Planning issues
Mr. Stannard,

Thank you for your e-mail of the 7th of September 2013 to Martin Esom, Chief Executive.

By copy of this e-mail we have asked Shifa Mustafa, Deputy Chief Executive for Environment and Regeneration Services, to look into the issues that you have raised, and to respond to you direct. Ms. Mustafa will be in touch with you shortly with a full response.

Kind regards.

Karen Honeyball
Executive Assistant to Martin Esom, Chief Executive
Waltham Forest Council
Room 112, Waltham Forest Town Hall
Forest Road, Walthamstow
London E17 4JF

Tel: 020 8496 4201
Mobile: 078 96 477331
Email: karen.honeyball@walthamforest.gov.uk<mailto:karen.honeyball@walthamforest.gov.uk>

Alternative contact: Rosie Tulloch - 020 8496 4918 - rosie.tulloch@walthamforest.gov.uk<mailto:rosie.tulloch@walthamforest.gov.uk>

www.walthamforest.gov.uk<http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/>


From: Waltham Forest Civic Society [mailto:wfcivicsociety@gmail.com]<mailto:[mailto:wfcivicsociety@gmail.com]>
Sent: 07 September 2013 22:08
To: Martin Esom
Cc: Cllr Chris Robbins; Adrian Stannard; Bill Measure; Jane Sterland; Judy Allen; Madeleine Munday; Patricia Gough; Yvonne Cross; Caramel Quin; Jonathon Crossley
Subject: On-line Planning issues

WALTHAM FOREST CIVIC SOCIETY

Martin

On the 12th July 2012 we sent this email to Steven Boyes and David Scourfield - see below. We then held a meeting with them and they explained the issues they had with the on-line planning system and that some aspects of it would be expensive to fix. Now a year on nothing has changed. We strongly believe we should have access to the planning applications on-line but David says it is not a statutory requirement.

Today I received by post the planning application lists for 19th August and 25th August which means the 21 day objection period is seriously reduced. We said we were happy to receive notification of them by email but that has never been implemented so the council is wasting money on unnecessary postage.

None of the plans for these dates that I have checked have the plans loaded which includes the Morrisons development in South Grove (2013/1252) and the online details show the closing date for objections is 24th September.

It really is time the council made sure its online planning system works. For years we have been complaining and nothing happens. A short term fix is to ensure the registration of the plans is delayed until the plans are loaded and we can see them.

We hope you can provide the resources to enable the public proper access to the plans. If you check other London Boroughs most of them provide a far superior service to Waltham Forest.

Adrian

Adrian Stannard



To: Steven Boyes - Interim Head of Regeneration and Planning
      Davd Scourfield - Head of Development Control

I am writing on behalf of various groups (list below). We have been concerned for some time at the poor service provided by the on-line Planning Application system and since the upgrade to the Council's web site it has become even worse. We would like to meet you and David to discuss this and see how it can be improved. With the sophisticated technology available to everyone these days it seems very old fashioned having to go to Sycamore House to view printed plans.

Our main concerns are:
1. Time wasted in visiting Sycamore House - our travelling time and your staff having to find the plans.
2. Sycamore House only operates normal office hours so it is impossible for those with full time jobs to get to the office to see the plans.
3. In the past plans were available at libraries, but as far as we know that service is no longer available, so people coming from Leyton or Chingford have a long journey on top of the time waiting for the plans.
4. Planning Applications are registered and the details appear on the Weekly List and the on-line system. The information that is provided is adequate for us to decide if the plans need to be examined. But rarely do the plans appear on-line and last week I checked 17 applications and not one of them had the plans on line. The result of this is we have to ask the Planners when the plans will go on-line. Sometimes they appear a few days later and others never do. The consequence of this is we lose vital time in submitting our objections and as there are only 21 days allowed for objections this date can easily be missed.
5. The Weekly List usually goes on-line on Thursday or Friday and posted out, but the start date is Monday so further days are lost.
6. All we are asking for is the plans to be loaded on-line at the same time as the application is registered.

In this day and age of more open Government and Localism we feel the council needs to upgrade its service to meet the aspirations of it residents.
Interestingly about a year a go I carried out a survey of all 32 London Boroughs by trying to access information on their planning web sites and Waltham Forest was one of the worst. Many of them linked planning applications to Google maps and their UDP/LDF so all the information needed to assess an application was held in one place.

Looking forward to your reply,

Signed on behalf of
Waltham Forest Civic Society
Bushwood Area Residents Association
Walthamstow Village Residents Association
Ferndale Residents Assocaiton
Cleveland Park Residents Association
Fight the Height
Blackhorse Action Group

--
Adrian Stannard
07508429678
www.wfoc.blogspot.co.uk<http://www.wfoc.blogspot.co.uk/>

www.wfcs.org.uk<http://www.wfcs.org.uk/>

www.friendsoflloydpark.org.uk<http://www.friendsoflloydpark.org.uk/>

--
Adrian Stannard
07508429678

Forest School building update

Forest school


Civic Voice and Town Centres

Civic Voice - talking civic sense

PRESS RELEASE

Immediate release25th September 2013

Civic Voice launch campaign to stop developments in our town centres without planning permission

Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement with 75,000 members – is today urging individuals and communities across England to contact their local MP to oppose a Government proposal to allow developers to change buildings on our high streets from retail to residential use without requiring planning permission.
The proposal, introduced in the consultation “Greater flexibilities for change of use - Consultation” means developers could, for example, convert a shop unit into a residential use without the local community having an opportunity to voice their concerns.
Paula Ridley, Chair of Civic Voice said “MPs of all parties must surely see how odd it would be for communities to lose the right to be heard on issues affecting their local high street while the Government champions localism and people having their say. This policy simply rips up all local input, removing people’s right to object to developments that threaten the vitality and character of their local town centre.”
Paula Ridley finished by saying, “Everyone wants to see common sense reforms to planning policy so that uncontentious developments get a green light, and planning officers are able to focus on the cases that really matter; but these proposals put everyday England at risk. Please support this civic movement campaign. Numbers count on an issue such as this.”
Civic Voice wants community groups to contact their local MP and ask them to oppose this change to the planning system before the consultation closes on October 15. If you support the idea that local people should determine local issues, visit the Civic Voice website today and tell your MP. 
You can inform your MP of your opposition to this proposal by contacting them on this specially designed letter http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/campaigns/ecampaigns.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement. We work to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive and to promote civic pride. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We believe everyone should live somewhere they can be proud of and we know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system. Since its launch in April 2010 Civic Voice has been joined by over 290 civic societies with 75,000 members. Further information is available at http://www.civicvoice.org.uk including how to join Civic Voice (£10 individuals) and contact details for local civic societies.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Ian Harvey
E: info@civicvoice.org.uk T: 07877096968

Latest on the the Granada (EMD)


Save Walthamstow Cinema



Tales of the East End

This will be of interest to those of you who enjoy the history of east London.

East End History

Monday, 23 September 2013

Leyton Jubilee Park - Marsh Lane update

Leyton Jubilee Park

Our plans for creating a better leisure facilities have come a very long way.  Improvements to Ive Farm and Marsh Lane Playing Fields have been brought  together to create Leyton Jubilee Park, named to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  The new bridge over Dagenham Brook which will improve access to the park from Marsh Lane, is nearly complete and we will soon be repainting the Cottage used by Eton Manor Running Club.
An outdoor gym has now been installed in the park offering free fitness facilities to residents. We will be offering users free instructor led sessions two evenings and two mornings a week to help keep people active.
To complement the works already complete a team of 35 volunteers from Barclays in Canary Wharf painted bridges, walls and railings blighted by graffiti, pruned and removed shrubs and cut away huge amounts of foliage, succeeding their aim to make the park an even more pleasant place for family and friends to spend time together.
Find out more about Leyton Jubilee Park.

South Grove update



South Grove

Save our Community Schools

Dear friend,

Our Community, Our Schools: We need your help

I am writing to you with an appeal for your help.

Our community, Our Schools has achieved a lot in the last few months. But if we’re going to give our community schools the best support they can have, we need to do a bit more.

We have a public meeting coming up on 8 October, with brilliant speakers, including Zoe Williams from the Guardian and Christine Blower, the General Secretary of the NUT. Full details are here.
This will be a great opportunity to discuss the issues around education in our borough in their national context.

But now we need to make sure this meeting is as big as possible.

We have built a petition with almost 650 signatures on it, in support of our community schools. You can see how we’re doing here:
But we need more signatures.

We will be leafleting and petitioning again in the next few weeks.

Can you help us?

Specifically, can you help us by:
1.       Leafleting your school gates or your neighbours houses with our new leaflet, which includes details of the meeting
2.       Collecting petition signatures using our petition form here
3.       Or is there anything else you can do to help us collect more signatures and promote the meeting?

If there is anything you think you can do to help or even a small bit of time you can give in one morning or evening, please email me back and let me know. 

Thank you for your support

Jonathan White
Our Community, Our Schools

Hyde Park

Adrian
We have had some fantastic news that the Royal Parks have removed all the charges for the Old Football pitches in Hyde Park. For the next three months nobody will have to pay of the want to use the space to play sport!
Although the charges have only been removed temporarily, it's a massive achievement to have got them to back down. And it's all thanks to your support!
So for the moment we have won this battle, but the fight goes on as we need to ensure that they don't try bring them back. The Royal Parks have said that they will now hold a wider consultation with the public to help them to decide what to do with the area in Hyde Park.
We need to send them a message, loud and clear, that charges to play sport in Hyde Park are wrong and unfair. That's why shortly we will be in touch explaining how you can respond directly to their consultation.
But for now, we wanted to let you know the fantastic news and once again say thank you. With your help we have showed that when people stand up for something they believe in they really can have an impact.
Thank you for all the support.
Leo and the Save our Softball team
@saveoursoftball


Marshroots Art


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network

Meeting of the London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network (LFN)
This meeting brings together the Friends of Parks groups across London. It is a difficult meeting to minute as so much information is shared. So the following is a brief summary of this meeting which focused on wildlife in our green spaces.

20 different groups were represented and the first topic was the demise of the national Greenspace charity last year and the attempt by other groups to fill their space.

LOVE PARKS ALLIANCE – has been set up by City Farms, Groundwork and TCV and will be launched in October.

PARKS ALLIANCE – national coalition to be a single unified voice for the UK's green-space organisations and stakeholders.

LOVE PARKS WEEK – now run by the Keep Britain Tidy Group.

LONDON WILDLIFE TRUST – pointed out wildlife meadows are the latest trend but expensive to maintain. They use volunteers to install bird and bat boxes and plant bulbs.

GREENSPACE INFORMATION FOR GREATER LONDON (GiGL)  and iGIGL is the capital’s environmental records centre – they collate, manage and make available detailed information on London’s wildlife, parks, nature reserves, gardens and other open space.

LONDON INVASIVE SPECIES GROUP - Links to other groups to update users on Japanese Knot weed, Giant hogweed etc.

GREATER LONDON NATIVE SPECIES SECRETARIAT - has responsibility for helping to coordinate the approach to invasive non-native species in Great Britain.  They are responsible to a Programme Board which represents the relevant governments and agencies of England, Scotland and Wales.

WOODLAND TRUST – Park management plans should be accredited to a national standard and monitored to ensure they meet the standard.

FRESH WATER HABITATS TRUST - aim is to protect and increase the freshwater biodiversity of landscapes, using ponds as a major focus.

FROG LIFE - is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles - frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards - and saving the habitats they depend on.

In Haringey the LORDSHIP LANE RECREATION GROUND has been refurbished and now has meadows and other interesting features including the original loop bike track first built in 1938.

Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets can have 20,000 visitors a day and is heavily used and its Friends’ Group has 600 members. The manager, who used to manage Mile End Park has been made redundant and the Arts and Leisure department have taken over.

Meadows have been created in Camden funded by the ButterflyGroup.

A meadow has been created in the grounds of a Victorian house in Palace Road , Streatham Hill.


Richmond Council gives its 70  friends groups tasks to do and is encouraging their Friends’ Groups to take over the parks.

An inspiring meeting but exhausting!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Make Your Opinion Count

Survey

Make Your Opinion Count
The council has "appointed a commission of experts to plot an economic course for the Borough for the next five years. Led by Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics" . It will be interesting to see what this comes up with seeing as the council is already spending vast amounts of money on the existing shopping centres - another example of the cart before the horse - surely you plan what you are going to do and then spend the money - not the other way round i.e. Wood Street, Bakers Arms, Leyton High Road etc.

Professor Tony Travers has been wheeled out by the TV channels for decades as the expert on London's economy so he should be able to identify the issues in Waltham Forest but what chance of the council taking any notice or action? More to the point what chance of them having any money left to take any action with!


Friday, 13 September 2013

Travelodge delayed

The latest information from the council about the footpath between Queens Road and Walthamstow Central stations which is years over due! It looks as if the Travelodge will also be overdue seeing as it should have opened by now and is still being constructed.

Dear Bryn

Work is proceeding on the 3 issues set out in my earlier e-mail:
-        Oyster readers have been ordered and we are waiting for them to be installed.  As identified by Glenn below, LOROL have taken the decision to provide a ticket machine on the Exeter Road side.  The location for this has been agreed on site and it should be installed at the same time as the Oyster facilities.

-        CCTV will be installed along the new pedestrian route and connected into the Council’s central CCTV control room.  Two of the new cameras (one fixed and the other a 360 degree panning unit) will be able to view the new ticket machine and station entrance.  LOROL do not wish to open the new entrance until the CCTV is in place and connected to the network.

-        We are chasing Solum regarding the construction of the access road through the Walthamstow Central car park site and will be able to provide a programme for opening the link once this is received
Regards

Neil



Urban Village Plans

Urban Village

Car Park plans withdrawn

Car Park Plans

Baking Workshops

Baking Workshops

Apple Day

We're gearing up for Apple Day 
Apple Day is the Village’s biggest event of the year with well over 1,200 visitors, and profits will be shared equally between 4 local good causes: Carefree Kids, The Limes, Sprout There, and Vestry House Museum Gardeners. It relies upon the efforts of dozens of volunteers who offer their time and skills to make it such a great day out for local people.
Could you donate a cake, assist in the kitchen, support equipment set up, or help out on a stall to make this as successful as ever?

This year it is being held on on 12th October 2013, and Teresa and Paul are seeking volunteers for the following activities:

  • Cooking & baking. donations of home-made cakes, (not necessarily apple-themed), apple pies, puddings, jams and chutneys. Contact Teresa
  • Kitchen support. 10.30 am to 4.30pm Sat 12th : serving refreshments, taking payment. If you can only spare an hour or two, that’s fine. Contact Teresa
  • Site set up. 2pm – 5pm Friday 11th, or 9.30am – 11am Saturday 12th: unloading & unpacking crates, setting up stalls, helping with displays. Contact Paul
  • Event support. 11 am to 4pm Sat 12th: front desk welcome/donations, litter picking, helping stall holders, assisting visitors. Contact Paul
  • Site take down. 4-5.30pm Sat 12th: packing & loading crates, stall storage, litter picking. Contact Paul
Teresa: 07742 679768 teresadeacon@btinternet.com
Paul: 07979767274 paul.gasson@gmail.com

Click here for more information about this year's Apple day.

Planning Guidance

National Planning Guidance

On Line Campaigns


 
 
An Open Letter From Stella Creasy MP: Responding to Online Campaigns in a Time of Limited Resources

Hello!

I’m writing to you as a Walthamstow resident who has contacted me as your MP in the last eight months regarding an online campaign.

I want to apologise for the lack of response you have received and explain why this has been the case and to offer you details as to the way in which I intend to manage responding to these campaigns. As the Walthamstow MP I have a team of five staff who work with me on everything from responding to emails and letters, to helping lead community action on issues like legal loan sharking and violence against women and working with residents who are requesting assistance.

The parliamentary authority has refused my request for additional resources to manage the requests made by residents in Walthamstow- a matter I raised in parliament and you can read this debate here.  If you wish to express your concerns about the impact of this on my capacity to represent Walthamstow you can contact IPSA via email on info@parliamentarystandards.org.uk.
 
As I will not exploit the many offers I get for unpaid interns I am not currently able to offer the level and speed of response to residents required given the correspondence I receive. I therefore wanted to be transparent about the difficult decisions I have had to make about priorities for the limited resources we have. With increases in destitution and deprivation in our area and cuts to other services reducing alternative sources of assistance, I have decided to focus our efforts primarily on these cases and the parliamentary work I have undertaken for policy proposals to address the root causes of matters such as tackling legal loan sharking.

To give you some idea of the scale of challenge we face, currently there are around 4,500 people out of work in Walthamstow and a further 4,500 people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance. Since the introduction of some changes to our welfare system in 2012, we have seen an increase in the numbers of residents seeking advice or wishing to complain about the impact of these changes on them and their families. Following discussions with Revenue Services Officers at Waltham Forest Council we anticipate there are 13,000 new council tax payers in Waltham Forest, 1,300 affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ and a further 700 by the housing benefit cap. Whilst I have tried over the course of the last nine months to introduce policies and partnerships to address the impact of these changes on local residents, it is clear these changes have caused substantial distress.

In addition to this, my office is experiencing an increase in requests from those who are struggling in the current economic climate in general.  Personal debt in Walthamstow is rising, and our local Citizens Advice Bureau has reported helping over 3,200 people in the last year to write off around £3 million worth of debt. As well as contacting professional debt advice services, we are seeing an rise in people coming to seek advice on both debt and the causes of debt- e.g. loss of work, leaseholder issues, rental increases, consumer rights- as part of coping with these problems. These requests for assistance are in addition to the requests for information on matters such as  local  health  and  education  services,  parking,  bin  collection,  social  services,  immigration services and legal cases or more general enquiries about a number of sometimes obscure and complex issues.  In total last year we dealt with over 3,200 such pieces of personal casework.

The reduction in alternative sources of support for residents is also creating an increase in requests for my help. For example, the loss of legal aid funding has led to the closure of one of our local Citizens Advice Bureau offices,  meaning  an  increase  in  waiting  times  for  residents  to  secure  an  appointment  at  the remaining office. There is also no independent housing advice service for residents here. During the last year we have been contacted by over 250 people who had concerns about their housing provision- this is an increase of 50% on the previous year.

It is within this context that I have received around 4,500 campaign emails or postcards. To give some idea of the scale of this, recent examples of this include over 600 post cards and emails regarding the proposal to introduce same sex marriage, 370 emails in one week about the ‘fair tax on flying’ and 200 emails about changes to the NHS in two days. To address the challenges this volume of contact with parliamentarians creates for the effectiveness of such campaigns for which I am supportive I recently organised a round table to ask how we can better support their involvement in the political process. You can read a blog about this here from one of the attendees. 

To date, my team have counted up 113 different campaigns which we are now seeking to share with the relevant government departments collectively so that your concerns have been included in their considerations. You will therefore over the coming months begin to receive the responses we secure from the Government departments. This process will continue throughout the rest of the year, subject to the alternative demands placed on my team by personal casework and campaigns activities which I have decided to prioritise. This therefore means there will continue to be substantial delays on my ability to process these requests and I want to be as open and transparent about this for those who wish to raise concerns in this way. I would also encourage residents to sign up to my weekly e-newsletter which sets out the debates and campaigns in which I am involved and where you can find me in person to raise issues.

If you would like to assist in helping Walthamstow address the difficulties it is facing, please do consider joining our #7days4stow project which is seeking to address the impact of austerity on our community. You can find further details on my website- if you would like to volunteer please do get in touch.

Whilst I know this email may providing disappointing news I hope it is of interest in explaining how I have decided to manage the resources I have to serve Walthamstow,
 
With kind regards
 


Stella Creasy
Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow 
Shadow Home Affairs Minister 
 
 
Stella Creasy: Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow
Shadow Home Affairs Spokesperson 
Distributed by Your Mailing List Provider, Ieperstraat 85, B-8970 Poperinge, Belgium Promoted by Steve Terry on behalf of Stella Creasy, both at 23 Orford Road London E17 9N

LETS Forage


Give or Take Days

NLWA give or take days  

LCRN is working in partnership with the North London Waste Authority to deliver re-use events.
Residents of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Islington, Haringey, Hackney and Waltham Forest can donate unwanted goods and collect them for reuse for free.
Next events will be taking place on:
- Saturday September 7 at the KORI HUB, Milton Road Community Centre, Milton Road, N15 3DS;
- Saturday September 14 at the St Augustine’s Church,  Grahame Park, Burnt Oak, NW9 5SY;
- Saturday September 21 in Enfield (venue TBC);
- Saturday September  28 at the Whitmore Community Centre, 2-4 Phillipp Street, N1 5NU;
- and Sunday September 29 at the The Mill 7-11 Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow, E17 7HA.
You can GIVE away your unwanted items from 10.30am to 12.30pm and/or TAKE things you can  use from 1 to 3pm.
Please note that you can give: books, DVDs/CDs, garden ware, IT, tools, clothes/shoes, small furniture, small electrical items and toys. WE cannot accept: large furniture, white goods and broken/dirty items.
For more information please contact Manuela on 020 7324 4701 or manuela@lcrn.org.uk 

London's Urban Food Scene

London’s urban food scene explodes across the capital!
This September, London will feast on the fabulous local food being grown, produced and cooked on its doorstep. The second Urban Food Fortnight, September 14 - 29, has a packed schedule of exciting events across the capital at a host of different venues and settings to highlight the amazing food being grown, produced and eaten in the city.
Special ultra-local menus at some of London’s top restaurants, pop -ups on rooftops, supper clubs in allotments, botanical cocktail nights, foraging walks and urban cookery classes are just a few of the planned activities. Check out full listings atwww.urbanfoodfortnight.org, get involved and get connected.

Save Lea Marshes Newsletter 6 Sept

Welcome to the Weekly Digest of SLM - aimed at keeping everyone interested and active in what's happening in the Lea Valley area and particularly in keeping the marshes "open, green and free for all".
 
Firstly, thank you to everyone who turned up for a "Walk on the Wildside" around the marshes on Sunday the 1st September, and especially to the new people who signed up to be kept informed and we hope, involved in the aims of SLM.  We were really pleased with the turnout - and the great weather!  Those of you who enjoy a group walk might also be interested to know that new friends at Hackney Hedge will be organising an autumnal nature walk looking at sloes, berries and what can be harvested.  There are two speakers - Phil from Urban Harvests and Rasheeqa from Hackney Hedges.  Meet:  2 pm at the Lee Valley Ice Centre on SUNDAY 15 SEPTEMBER.  Walk goes on until about 4.00.  Further information from rasheeqa@hedgeherbs.org
 
EAST MARSH - those of you who were going to turn up at Hackney Council Town Hall this coming Monday for the Planning Committee, with your pitchforks please note:  THE REPORT ON THE CAR PARK HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO ANOTHER MEETING.  Members of SLM had been saying that the Council had not followed proper timing procedures on this, but we don't know if this is the reason it has been withdrawn or not ...
 
MARSH LANE BRIDGE - this "contraversial" bridge which was put in at huge expense and not really necessary - over in Leyton, was completed last week.  One of our intrepid campaigners has received a late reply from a planning officer in the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF), that the proper approvals for flood prevention work, were not applied for to the Environment Agency  (EA).  If the EA find that the breach of works does not meet the proper criteria, this will have to be remedied.  However, if the EA are satisfied it may be quietly dropped.  Any bets?  Watch this space.
 
LEA BRIDGE ROAD BICYCLE LANES -  This Wednesday's Evening Standard featured a story on "Eight Boroughs", being considered for funding for improvement of cycling facilities by the Mayor of London.  LBWF has a plan under consideration for the stretch along the Lea Bridge Road and a "Dutch-Style" cycling roundabout at Whipps Cross.  According to our sources, the Cycling Liaison Officer for LBWF wants to avoid one of the blue superhighways in favour of a more segregated scheme - which it seems the new Mayor's Cycling Czar Andrew Gilligan also doesn't favour in view of the European position on this.  Although, SLM would like to see improvements for cycling (and pedestrians), we are mindful of the threat of road-widening though the area and don't want to see this done in order to push through further development.
 
DEFRA - as if murdering badgers was not enough, the Environment Minister Owen Patterson, now wants to give building developers another helping hand at the expense of our wildlife.  A consultation paper was launched on 5 September.  This is an open call for people to write and make their views known: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/biodiversity_offsetting.  If the proposals go ahead it means that developers will be able to develop any piece of land, as long as they choose to offset another piece of land for biodiversity.  This really demonstrates utter contempt for the environment.  As anyone with the slightest knowledge of biodiversity knows, it takes a great deal of time to develop proper habitats and further more, those of us who have witnessed the shocking work of the Sports Turf Research Institute, employed by the ODA, quite frankly have little faith in in being done properly.  Consultation ends on 7 November and a paper is expected by the end of the year.  People of Britain our wildlife needs you to protest!
 
"LOSING THE MARSHES FILM" - anyone who needs a quick reminder of the need to keep our marshes open and green can view this film on Monday 9 September at 7.30 at the Kenton Arms, 38 Kenton Road, E9 or on Wednesday 20th November at the Red Gallery, 3 Rivington Street, EC2.  See the website www.losingthemarshes.com and screenerwww.youtube.com/watch?v=sq5gB94D5sM 
 
LEE VALLEY REGIONAL PARK AUTHORITY "COUNTRYSIDE LIVE" EVENT - this event is being put back on Leyton Marsh again, as strangely enough the area could not be used last year, due to an unsightly and unnecessary development, authorised by the very body which is now promoting its version of "countryside".  Funny that!  Anyone who does want to go it is on the weekend of 28-29th September.  Those with better taste can enjoy the third CLAPTON FESTIVAL, which is also on 28th September, where there shouldn't be any stalls supporting the Countryside Alliance.
 
TRAINING - Voluntary Action Waltham Forest - are organising some useful and practical courses for people involved in running voluntary organisations in the area.  Contact: Sarah.kitson@voluntary-action-wf.org.uk for further information.  VAWF give very good support to local charities and campaigns.
 
NEXT SLM MEETING - this will be on Tuesday 10 September at 7.30 in the Princess of Wales pub, Lea Bridge Road - all welcome.