Lib Dems freeze Council Tax and keep rents below inflation

Lib Dems put residents first

At a time when residents are feeling the pinch from Labour’s recession, Liberal Democrats have produced a budget that freezes council tax and keeps the rent increase below inflation.

Over the past four years Lib Dem councillors have pledged to keep council tax increases below inflation while maintaining council services. Despite the Labour Government taking millions away from the Council, Lib Dem councillors have kept their pledge and have frozen Council Tax this year. Council rents have been kept to an average rise of less than one percent – well below inflation. 

That’s not all, as well as freezing the council tax; Liberal Democrats have agreed extra money for street cleaning, decreasing parking charges and for protecting children.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Cllr. Farooq Qureshi says: Local pensioners and families are already seeing price rises for food, energy and fares.  The more we can do to keep costs down, the more it helps all our residents – particularly those most in need.   

HAVE YOUR SAY!

Glyn Hopkin Nissan car showrooms corner of Ruckholt Road and Oliver Road to be  re – developed into flats and houses

The owners of the car showroom at the corner of Ruckholt Road and Oliver Road have submitted a plan to re-develop the site with 3 to 5 storey residential development of 107 units – 20 one bed, 32 two bed, 41 three bed and 14 four bed dwellings.

Apart from 10 houses fronting Dunedin Road the rest are flats. Of the 107 units only 54 car parking spaces are planned.  There will be parking for 12 motorbikes and 107 cycles.

The Lib Dem Focus Team and residents know that trying to park a car in this area is virtually impossible and to have a development that does not include a car park space for all the houses and flats is not acceptable.  The Focus Team are also not happy with the planned 5 storey blocks of flats fronting Ruckholt Road.  We believe the plans are an over-development of the site. 

The Planning Department is asking for comments and objections to be notified to them by 19th February.  So if you want to comment or object to the plans then either write to The Development Manager, Sycamore house, Town Hall Complex, Forest Road, London E17 4JF (please copy to the  Focus Team as well). Or telephone the planning officer Ms S Malcolm 020 8496 6708.

The Lib Dem Focus Team will ask that this development goes to the Planning Committee for decision. This will enable up to 3 residents to speak, each for 3 minutes, to the committee. Your Lib Dem councillors will also be able to speak.

If you interested in speaking at the committee, or want to discuss these plans, then contact the Focus Team.

Liberal Democrats Tackle Youth Unemployment

With the recession hitting the youngest the hardest Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have implemented proposals announced by national Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg, to prevent people leaving school, college and university being condemned to long-term unemployment.

Waltham Forest Council has implemented the Lib Dem policy by encouraging 16 to 18-year-olds to apply for a place on its apprenticeship scheme.

Local Lib Dem Leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, Cllr John Macklin, said:

“Making sure our residents are equipped with the skills they need to compete in the workplace and driving down unemployment are two big priorities for the council and taking on apprenticeships shows that we’re putting our money where our mouth is as an organisation. 

“Research has shown that taking on apprentices can be a real boost to the organisation by increasing productivity, increasing competitiveness and providing a committed and well-skilled workforce which makes it a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Cllr. Bob Sullivan councillor for Leyton Ward and Chair of the Scrutiny Management Committee, said:

“School- leavers and older teenagers have been let down by the Labour Government.  Despite Labours big promises, they have not provided the apprenticeships to make sure that every school-leaver who wanted to learn a trade could do so.

“My Lib Dem colleagues on the Council have not sat back, but have acted to help young people gain the skills they need for employment.”

Javell Holden, one of the council’s apprentices, said: “I’ve been working at the WFD call centre while doing a Business and Administration NVQ course since last April.

“I’ve found the course very beneficial and have just been offered a permanent job. I’ve learned many skills and would recommend this to anyone.”

Anyone aged 16-18 and interested in the scheme should email wbl@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 020 8520 9430.

Click here for further details of the Lib Dem policy to tackle youth unemployment.

Lib Dem enforcement pledge to drivers

Picture courtesy of Waltham Forest GuardianLib Dem Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Belam, announced a new scheme telling drivers exactly where CCTV enforcement vehicles will be deployed.

The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in the Country, aims to promote safer driving, reduce road accidents and lower the number of penalty charge notices issued to motorists for transgressions such as stopping in a box junction.

Details of where the boroughs five CCTV enforcement vehicles will be are available for viewing on the Waltham Forest Council website at www.walthamforest.gov.uk.

CCTV vehicles are deployed in the identified areas because residents have complained about congestion, accidents and other issues in their vicinity,

Cllr Bob Belam, said: “The main aim of our traffic enforcement team is to improve safety for all of Waltham Forest’s roads users. It is not about making money at the expense of motorists.

“We hope this scheme will encourage people to drive more carefully, especially at the locations where we issue most of our penalty charge notices, and help us to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents.

Waltham Forest Council’s CCTV vehicles are responsible for recording moving traffic violations, such as stopping in box junctions, driving in bus lanes and making banned turns. They are also used for parking enforcement purposes.

The statutory penalty charge for a moving traffic violation is £120, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

Lib Dems reduce car parking charges

Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have approved a plan to reduce key parking charges following their review of the Councils parking strategy .

For residents living in controlled parking zones (CPZ’s) visitor permits have been reduced by up to 14.5%, business permits reduced by 5% and for the fourth year in a row car park charges and on-street parking vouchers have been frozen. Refund and administration fees have also been slashed by up to 61%.

Referring to Labour’s Council motion in December last year Cabinet Member for Environment Cllr Bob Belam said:

“While others produce reports Liberal Democrats have again led the way by reducing key parking charges for the next financial year.”

“In the current economic climate it is right that we listen to our residents and businesses and help them where we can.”

  • A 12 month business permit is reduced from £410 to £390
  • CPZ visitors permits will reduce from
    • £21 to £18 for books of 5 hrs tickets
    • £18 to £16 for books of 2 hr tickets
    • £15 to £14 for books of 1 hr tickets
  • 15 Minute School permits stay at £15 for low emission vehicles

George Mitchell School and the Cricket Ground

George Mitchell school will not be re-built on the cricket ground.  This was a statement read out by Cllr. Chris Robins to the councillors at the Council meeting on Thursday.  He said that the George Mitchell governors had rejected forming a trust with Norlington School and that this decision had been accepted by the Council.  He went on to say that there will not be a development of a secondary school on the cricket ground and Norlington will remain a boys school. 

The new plans for George Mitchell, Norlington and of course Beaumont primary school will no doubt come out over the next few weeks.  I hope to be able to report on this in the New Year.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope to see you all in the New Year.

Protecting our open spaces and sports facilities

Liberal Democrat councillors got the Council to agree to a motion agreeing to protecting our playing fields, green spaces and sports facilities.  In speaking to many people across the borough we found that residents felt that their open spaces and sports facilities were under threat.  They felt that the Council did not represent their concerns in protecting their open spaces, leisure and sports facilities.  Therefore Lib Dems last Thursday presented a motion to full council.  There was a poor amendment from the Labour councillors which said there was not a ‘threat’ to our green spaces.  This was thrown out and the original motion (see below) was agreed by all councillors.

PROTECTING OUR PLAYING FIELDS AND GREEN SPACES

 This Council: 

  • Notes resident concern about threats to green spaces, playing fields and associated amenities such as sports facilities within our borough.

  • Understands the vital importance of green spaces and playing fields as areas for recreation and sport in both informal and organised capacities.

  • Recognises the importance of local playing fields for local schools.

  • Believes that actively protecting our green spaces and strengthening sports facilities will be a key part of Waltham Forest’s Olympic legacy.

 Therefore, this Council requests that relevant senior officers  

  • Examine current Council policy and practice to ensure that a commitment to green spaces and playing fields is properly reflected in our current framework.

  Report back to councillors highlighting any areas where our policy on the protection of green spaces and playing fields can be strengthened

You can read further about this motion and the debate by following the link below:-

http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/4804772.WALTHAM_FOREST__Debate_rages_over

__threats__to_green_space/

FOCUS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

Why shouldnt you park outside Leyton Underground Station? Whats happening on Leyton High Rd? What can new mums get upto?

The latest copy of the FOCUS NEWSLETTER is available HERE.

Download a copy and find out what is happening in your neighbourhood.

Dedicated volunteers will also begin delivering copies to you – if you know someone who does not receive a copy – please contact me immediately.

MORE FLATS IN OLIVER CLOSE………

Both myself and Cllr Naheed Qureshi attended the Planning Committee meeting Last night to speak on behalf of residents of Oliver Close against the plans from London and Quadrant to build 18 houses and 16 flats on the Edith Pearson Lodge site in Oliver Close.  Despite a call from residents of Oliver Close, particularly those from Robinia Crescent, Magnolia Close and me to reject the planning application as an over-development of the area:  Labour Councillors used their majority to vote against residents wishes and voted in FAVOUR of the development being built in Oliver Close, Leyton.

London & Quadrant (L&Q) have acquired the former Edith Pearson Lodge site in Oliver Close and submitted an application to build 18 three and four bedroom houses as well as 16 one and two bedroom flats.

All three Liberal Democrat Councillors on the Planning Committee listened to local residents concerns about over-crowding the possible increase in crime and lack of parking and in particular the over-development in this small area of Oliver Close.  They all voted AGAINST the application by L&Q.  One Conservative Councillor voted against the application and the second abstained.  The four Labour councillors on the committee voted for the developement.  This meant the Labour Chairman Cllr Masood Ahmad – Labour Councillor for Lea Bridge Wards casting vote pushed the plans through.

After the meeting, the L&Q representative who attended the meeting became very abusive towards residents and Cllr  Naheed Qureshi and I – stating that he had not attended a residents meeting called a few weeks ago by myself as he did not believe such meetings were ever effective and were an excuse for so called ‘mud-slinging’!

The Lib Dem FOCUS Team appreciate that there is a dire need for more HOUSES to be built in Leyton and welcome new houses –  as there are far too many families living in overcrowded and appalling conditions.  However in a small area in Oliver Close do we need to cram in 18 large houses and 16 1 and 2 bed flats as well.  With minimal parking space?  The site once completed will potentially accommodate 34 more families!!!! In such a small space? This could be a recipe for disaster…………….