Don’t miss the next Residents’ Ward Forum

Following on from the very successful Resident Ward Forums your Liberal Democrat ward councillors, Bob, Naheed and Winnie, have arranged for the next meeting to be held on:

Tuesday 17 April

7.00pm to 9.00pm

Leyton Orient F.C. Stadium

Olympic Suite on the third floor

 On the agenda will be a report back on the locally agreed projects, Olympic traffic management and parking, local police and any other local issues.

Ive Farm Playing Field

Ive Farm Sports Ground - left derelict by the Council

The Council is negotiating turning Ive Farm Playing Field, which they have left derelict, into a campsite for the Olympics.

Is the Council keeping local residents in the dark about this, hoping that they can sneak it through without proper consultation?

Oliver Close, Villiers Close and Ive Farm Close residents whose homes back onto the site will certainly have objections particularly if, like the site in Walthamstow, it has live entertainment and bars serving alcohol.

The Liberal Democrat Group Leader and Leyton Ward Councillor Bob Sullivan says:

“There must be proper consultation with local residents, If the Council forces this through all proceeds should go towards bringing the playing field back into use.”

The Council’s New Year Resolution should be to pay local businesses on time!

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that Waltham Forest Council have failed to meet their own targets for paying local businesses within 10 days for 7 out of the last 8 months. And they have only once met their targets for paying small businesses on time since last April 2011.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses the Government estimates that in 2008, 4,000 businesses failed as a direct result of late payment and it costs UK businesses £180 million in debt interest charges. The problem of late payment is not just a commercial one, but it is also ethically wrong. When large businesses or the public sector pay late, it can put small firms out of business.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Finance Spokesperson, Councillor Bob Sullivan said:

 “This is a tough time for small businesses and these targets were set to try and help cash flow for local businesses in Waltham Forest.

“For some small businesses, being paid promptly can mean the difference between growing or standing still; between creating jobs or cutting them; between keeping the doors open or closing them for good.”

“It is unacceptable that the council is failing local businesses in this way. Officers and Cabinet members should use the new year to turn over a new leaf and pay local businesses on time in 2012.”

Leyton Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ)

The Council’s consultation on a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Leyton has finished and we are waiting for the results.

We now hear that there will be an Olympic CPZ from June to September next year, covering Leyton and Leytonstone, running from Lea Bridge Road down to the Olympic Park.

There will be no charge to residents and businesses and those roads that already have a CPZ will get a one month free extension to their permits when they renew.

Rubbish – collection fiasco!

Many residents’ rubbish and recycling has remained uncollected for weeks.

The Council says it is caused by teething troubles experienced by their new waste contractor – Kier. Residents have been complaining to Focus that they have had to wait three or four weeks to get their bins emptied, but even when the rubbish bins have been emptied the recycling has been left. Many residents say that they have phoned the Council but have been fobbed off with excuses.

Focus says: The Council’s contractor is being paid millions to collect our rubbish and recycling. The Council should make sure rubbish and re4cycling  is collected regularly and on time. There should be no excuse for such abysmal service.

Labour Council ignore residents and close Harrow Green Library

Harrow Green Library axed by Labour CouncilLast Thursday the Labour Council voted to close down Harrow Green Library. Residents had raised a petition of over 5,000 signatures and local Lib Dems had also raised a petition of over 1,1000 signatures to save the library.

Despite these petitions, fierce local residents’ opposition to the proposal and impassioned speeches, Labour Councillors voted to close the Library. The Tories abstained and the Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote against the closure. Even local Labour Councillors, whose residents had campaigned to stop the closure, voted to shut down Harrow Green Library.

Local Lib Dem Cann Hall Ward Councillor Liz Phillips, who has been leading the campaign in the council said:

“Local residents worked hard on this issue and took time out of their day to come and speak in the debate in good faith, only to find that the Labour Party had stitched up the result in advance.

“I’m not surprised that some residents walked out in disgust. Labour has refused to listen to local residents all along and this council meeting was no different.

“The Labour councillors can’t use a cut in the budget to hide the fact that it is them who are closing down our local library.”

The closure was based on the widely criticised libraries’ review and despite the consultation process, two petitions and recommendations from the council’s own scrutiny panel that no libraries needed to close, the Labour leadership refused to change course.

Lib Dem Leader Councillor Bob Sullivan said:

“The Libraries’ Review has been widely criticised and appears to have been a foregone conclusion from the start.

“The questions asked in the consultation were clearly misleading. For example, residents were asked if they would like their library to start opening on Sundays, but weren’t asked if they minded other libraries closing for this to be achieved.

“Of course residents suggest improved services, but if they knew that the council were robbing Harrow Green to pay for those services I believe they would think again.

Another packed residents meeting at the Cricket Ground!

We held the second Ward Residents Forum meeting at the Cricket Ground last week.  This meeting continues to be popular with local residents, as a lot of them turned up.  We had to book the large hall for health and safety reasons as there is a limit as to how many people the Pavillion can hold. 

I chaired the meeting and Cllr. Naheed Qureshi took the minutes.  Unfortunately Cllr. Winnie Smith was on holiday so missed out.  There was a presentation on the Councils Library Review by Lorna Lee, the libraries officer.  In contrast we did have a table with a ‘Save the Harrow Green Library’ petition.  A bit cheeky, but we felt that a lot of people who were campaigning in the Harrow Green area needed our support.

We then had the local Police report back as to what has been going on locally.  We now have one sergeant in charge of both Leyton and Grove Green wards.  The police did hand out a complicated chart of incidences in the area.  I will try and get a summary of the major crime figures and report back. 

There were 4 applicants for a place on the Cricket Ground Committee.  Three addressed the meeting as one of them did not turn up.  Each resident had one vote and by a large show of hands local resident Peter Towler was elected.  Well done Peter.

I updated everyone on the applications for betting offices in the area, as there had been a big upsurge of bookmakers turning shops and pubs into betting offices.    This was followed by list of suggestions as to what we can spend the £10,000 grant money on.  These will be worked up and reported back for decision, probably in November.  If anyone has further suggestion, then they need to contact me, Naheed or Winnie.

The open forum where any resident can bring up any query, problem or explanation of what is going on in our area ended the meeting.  Any questions that could not be answered would be investigated and reported back through the minutes of the meeting.  The minutes will be available on the Councils website.

The next meeting will be probably be in November.  We will notify the actual date in our FOCUS newsletter and  on our websites.

If you would like to help and get involved in local issues then do not hesitate to contact me.

The Monster awakens!

Many of you will have noticed the building in the picture gradually being built.  It dominates the High Road like some monster overlooking the road.  Some of you may know it as the ‘Outlook’ building.  The estate agents Outlook were the previous users.  Some of you would know of it as ‘Stuffs’  – the material shop used it for many years.

This monster of steel and glass is to become a large block of mainly 1 bed flats.  It is totally out of character with the area and has no parking spaces for its residents, apart from a couple of spaces for people with disabilities. The original plans were thrown out by the Council but was agreed later on appeal.

If we are to regenerate our area, this is not the way to go.  There is a crying need for family houses, not 1 or 2 bed flats.  Long term residents of Leyton have seen family houses continually turned into flats.  This has caused overcrowding, lack of maintenance of front gardens a disregard for the local environment and along with the lack of parking spaces and the increase of traffic, it has changed the area dramatically.

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.”