Lib Dem councillors reaction to violence following Town Hall briefing

Liberal Democrat councillors this afternoon attended a briefing by the police and council officers at Waltham Forest Town Hall about the recent disturbances.

Speaking after the briefing at Waltham Forest Town Hall

Liberal Democrat councillor for High Street ward Mahmood Hussain said:

“I have spent much of the last two days talking to local shopkeepers and residents affected by the violence. Over 50 businesses have been affected in central Walthamstow. It is shocking to see so many people’s hard work destroyed. I have been impressed with how people are working together to put things right.”

Cllr Winnie Smith (Leyton ward) has also been talking to and visiting businesses and residents in Leyton.

Cllr Farooq Qureshi (Forest ward) added:

“These people don’t have a political message. Looting a Lidl and smashing restaurant windows is not going to sort out any of the problems that residents face. At the end of the day it is local people who will lose jobs and income as a result of this criminal behaviour.”

Cllr Liz Phillips (Cann Hall) said:

“The police have assured us that there will be more officers on duty tonight. The council has been working to remove debris and potential weapons from the street. It is important that parents know where their children are and that everyone take responsibility for calming the situation.”

Drapers Field – more update

Council's proposal for Drapers Field

We have manged to get a look at what has been planned for Drapers Field. 

The Masterplan (above) shows that the all weather pitch will be re-sited and there is inclusion of some beach volleyball play areas.  Maybe the Council is thinking of re-applying for the £100,000 lottery money that it had to return last year when they made arrangements to give the site to the Olympic Authority for warehousing space for the Olympics.

Below is a closer look at the planned beach volleyball area:

The beach volleyball area

For a closer look click on this link to the Masterplan: Drapers Field – masterplan

Drapers Field and Marsh Lane – post Olympics plans

Drapers Field - lost to the community for at least 16 months

Drapers Field

A planning application has finally been lodged with the Council for the temporary use of Drapers Field as a service centre/store for the Olympic Village.

The application number is: 2011/0623, and comments can be made online at the Waltham Forest website, or by post to the Planning Officers at the Town Hall.

Local residents have been very concerned about what the Labour Council has in mind for the reinstatement of this historic playing field when it is returned in 2013.

Kinnear Landscape Architects were commissioned to develop improvements, and their plans will be subject to a public consultation event to be held at Drapers Field on Tuesday 14 June, between 3 and 7 pm. Council officers and the design team will be present.

Don’t miss this opportunity of seeing what the Council has in mind, and making your views known.

Marsh Lane

Again, Kinnear Landscape Architects were commissioned to develop improvements, and their plans will be subject to a public consultation event to be held at Marsh Lane on Thursday 16 June, between 2 and 8 pm. Council officers and the design team will be present.

Don’t miss this opportunity of seeing what the Council has in mind, and making your views known.

Exhibition at Leyton Library

If you cannot attend either of these events you can see the proposals at Leyton Library from Friday 17 June until Monday 27 June.

A representative of Kinnear Landscape Architects will be present at the following times:

Drapers Field – 4-6pm on Thursday 23 June

Marsh Lane – 4-6pm on Wednesday 22 June

Residents pack the first meeting of Leyton Residents Ward Forum

Residents at the well-attended meetingPresentation by the Council on Olympic preparations

Over 60 Leyton residents packed the meeting room at the Score Complex on Oliver Road to attend our first Leyton Ward Residents’ Forum meeting on 19th May 2011. This was the first of such meetings following the Labour Councils scrapping of the Community Council meetings.

Items on the agenda included presentations from Council Officers regarding works in the area in preparation for the Olympics and from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team; further information on how to elect a representative from the area onto the Leyton Cricket Ground Management Committee; Suggestions on how to spend £10,000 in the area and an open Q & A session where you could ask your local councillors about anything you like! 

Local Councillors Winnie Smith, Bob Sullivan and Naheed Qureshi were delighted by the huge turnout (much higher than in other wards in the borough) and the positive response from Leyton residents.

Residents should note that we are in the process of collecting YOUR ideas on how to spend £10,000 in the area! If you think you have an idea on how the money can be spent to improve the area or the lives of those living in it and would like to let us know – please contact us immediately!! or collect some forms at Leyton Library and Seddon Centre Clyde Place/Beaumont Road.

We will be discussing this matter further and giving you the opportunity to comment on suggestions received at our next meeting in September!

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see on the agenda of our next meeting please let us know. These meetings are for your benefit and any input from you will be welcome!!

Click below if you want to see the minutes of the meeting –

 Leyton Ward Forum Minutes 19-5-11

Evolution Now

I was invited by two local university students, Nathaniel and Ismael, to talk to them about being a Councillor.  Both of them are involved in a youth organisation called Evolution Now.  The organisation website states their aim as Making Politics Fun and Exciting for Young People. I hope that they can succeed.  They interviewed me on camera.  I must say I need a bit of practice, as you can see for yourself, by clicking onto:   2011_04_01_archive.html  This will also introduce you to their website.

Save the Granada (EMD) Cinema

Lib Dem councillors Bob Sullivan and Mahmood Hussain at the Planning meeting

Last week I went along to the Planning Committee as they were due to discuss the UCKG Church’s planning application to turn the old Granada Cinema  in Hoe Street, into a church.  My colleague Councillor Mahmood Khan was due to speak to the committee as his ward includes the cinema.

The Committee normally sits in the Town Hall but was transferred to the nearby Assembly Hall.  A good job too, as hundreds of people from the Church and the local residents turned up and packed the assembly hall.  Hundreds were locked out as there was not any more room inside.

Liberal Democrat councillor Mahmood Hussain told Waltham Forest’s Planning Committee that the council should refuse the planning application submitted by UCKG to turn the EMD Cinema into a religious assembly hall.  He said:

“The key questions can be summarised very simply. Does the proposed development respect the building’s heritage and listed building status? Is the impact on the area and particularly on nearby residents acceptable? Does the proposed development contribute satisfactorily to the regeneration of Walthamstow Town Centre? On all three counts I believe the answer is no.

“This view is shared by an enormous number of local residents. Our borough has hundreds of places of worship of all types and sizes. But it does not have a single cinema. We have clear evidence that the building is potentially viable as a cinema, arts and entertainment venue.

“This would bring new life to the area and stimulate the local economy – unlike the proposal before you. The proposed changes to the building would destroy much of what is special about this unique building, which is one of the oldest, largest and best preserved cinema buildings in the country.

“Residents would suffer from the absence of a proper noise management scheme and from parking problems generated by cars descending on the area from miles away.

“For the sake of Walthamstow please listen to local people, weigh up the planning merits of the case and refuse the application.”

Speaking after the decision to refuse the planning application both I and  Councillor Hussain said we were delighted that the Planning Committee had listened to the arguments put forward by objectors.

“This is good and important news for Walthamstow Town Centre but it is only one step forward. Following two planning refusals and endless discussion we hope UKCG will now abandon their plan. We must allow those who are able to bring the cinema back into use the chance to realise the cinema’s true potential.”


Waltham Forest Council has backed a Liberal Democrat campaign to ‘Save the Cheque’.

At Thursday’s (12 May) council meeting councillors voted for a motion which called on the banking industry’s Payments Council to halt its plans to abolish cheques.

Liberal Democrat Cann Hall councillor Liz Phillips, who proposed the motion said:

“Hundreds of thousands of people write cheques every day. Over a billion cheques are chased every year. Small businesses, charities and many residents – especially older people – rely on cheques to conduct their day-to-day transactions. It is wrong that the banks plan to abolish cheques when it is clear that people want to use them for years to come. I have had a massive response from Leytonstone residents who will be affected if cheques are abolished.”

The Liberal Democrats are particularly concerned about the effect on older people and the housebound. One local resident wrote to Liz Phillips:

“I write as a full time carer. My husband is very disabled and I can only get out four hours a week for shopping and all other things. How can I pay the bills without cheques?”

Internet payments are not an alternative for the nine million people in Britain who have never used the internet or for those who are concerned about internet fraud. The abolition of the cheque will lead to more people carrying and storing large quantities of cash, rendering them more vulnerable to theft.

Charities will also suffer. Lib Dem High Street councillor Mahmood Hussain, who seconded the motion, told councillors:

“As a trustee of a small local charity, 80% of the donations we receive during our fundraising come in by cheque. If cheques are abolished many small charities like mine will struggle.”

Oliver Twist Pub – crumbling wall

The Oliver Pub showing damaged wall

Residents recently contacted me about the crumbling wall at the side of the Oliver Twist pub on the corner of Oliver Road and Church Road.   The pub has been derelict for some years awaiting planning permission to develop it into flats.  The wall and fence at the side by the beer garden has started to crumble (see picture)  and looked in danger of collapsing.  I contacted the Council, who investigated.  In their opinion they agree that it is crumbling, but was not unsafe.  They will continue to monitor the situation and in the meantime have written to the owners.