I have just received an invitation from a Charitable Trust inviting me to a function at the Town Hall.  This is to HONOUR, among others, the disgraced ex MP Harry Cohen. Can you believe it?

Needless to say I will not be going to honour a person who has falsely claimed thousands of pounds from taxpayers when an MP.  Does Harry Cohen deserve to be honoured?
What do you think?


Looking from Leyton High Road towards Bakers Arms

The  pictures are a computer generated impression of the plans submitted to the Council for the development of 590 – 594 Leyton High Road and 1 Hainault Road.  This is the area on the junction of Leyton High Road and Hainault Road.  The pictures show the view from the High Road and the view looking down Hainault Road to the High Road.

View from Hainault Road towards the High Road

The proposal is to build part 5, part 4 and part 2 storey buildings comprising ground floor commercial/retail space and 24 residential units.  The residential units will comprise 7 x 1 bed, 11 x 2 bed, 2 x 3 bed flats and 4 x 3 bed houses.  There will be no parking spaces except for 3 disability parking bays

It seems that the only developments in Leyton are for more and more flats, when the real need for the area is family houses.  The flats that have been built have little or no parking spaces.  Parking in our streets has become virtually impossible.

Below is an objection sent in by a local resident which highlights the reasons why this development should not go ahead.    

The building would be out of place and character with the surrounding area and much greater in scale than the surrounding buildings.The materials in the area are relating to mixed conventions, Georgian, Edwardian and Post War. The proposed use of materials in this development with one part completely mottled red brick finish and the other part a completely buff brick finish does not strike me as an intelligent employment of said materials. 

The proximity and height of the building will reduce the light filter through from the front windows of properties opposite the proposal. 

The Juliette balconies would greatly overlook existing properties opposite. 

Strict controls would have to be adopted in terms of the retail space as hours of business and type of business is not known and has been ticked as such that any type of business and hours could be adopted. 

A major concern would be that an alcohol related business would establish causing Hainault Road area to become a natural congregation area and thus increasing levels of anti social behaviour and crime. 

Hainault Road and indeed all of the surrounding streets are not in a controlled parking zone. There is no residents parking scheme in place.Hainault Road and the surrounding roads are already under severe pressure in terms of parking space as they already take the overflow parking from the social services building located on Leyton High Road and the new police custody suite.The Proposal has 24 residential units with the provision for three disabled parking spaces. I would think this will again increase parking pressure on Hainault Road and the surrounding streets.The proposal has also unspecified ground floor retail which without a doubt will place more pressure on parking in the area  

The proposal is located at a very busy junction and I feel it will have the impact of increasing traffic and congestion, leading to more pollution and making the area less safe for pedestrians. 

I do not believe there is adequate provision for parking. 

The proposal does not meet the appropriate provision for off street parking in accordance with the Waltham Forest Council car parking standards. The area is not within a controlled parking zone. 

There is not much provision for larger families in this development and of the 24 units 18 are to be one and two bed units.There is already an oversupply of this type of housing in the area, and I feel a lot would go directly onto the rental market thus encouraging a more transient population. 

I would direct your attention to the quite similar Tesco development in South Woodford where there was great difficulty in finding business to take up the retail space. 

Any objections to this development need to be sent to the Council by 21st February.  They need to be sent in writing to :

The Development Manager, Sycamore House, Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JF 


The Council has set up a new department, ‘Residents First’, which is now considering closing the Waltham Forest Direct (WFD) shops in Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford. 

The WFD shops, popular with residents, are where they can get information, advice and get their housing and council tax benefits sorted out without queuing for hours in Poll Tax house in Walthamstow. 

It is ironic that the new department of ‘Residents First’ has already closed down the local Community Councils and is now looking to close down another local community service. Maybe they should rename the department ‘Residents Last’.

Labour hypocrisy over school sports

Waltham Forest’s Labour councillors have been condemned for outrageous hypocrisy for putting down a motion on school sports partnerships at the last council meeting while simultaneously.

  • Slashing funding to the London Youth Games
  • Hiking charges for schools sports days and other sports activities
  • Seeking to concrete over the playing fields at Drapers Field for two years

Liberal Democrat councillor Naheed Qureshi said:

Labour talks the talk but we see their true colours when it comes to the decisions for which they are responsible. Their withdrawal of funding for the London Youth Games, school sport fee increases and closure of Drapers Field shows that Labour’s commitment is all words and no action.

Colleague councillor Bob Sullivan added:

Drapers Field will close for two years so the Olympic Delivery Authority can use the playing fields to do its laundry and catering. This will deprive local children and Norlington school of their current playing fields. Labour has consistently failed to set out any clear plans for the future of Drapers Field once the ODA leaves the site.

Labour councillors at London Councils (Waltham Forest representative Cllr Chris Robbins) earlier this week voted to cut funding for the London Youth Games by £130,000. This will lead to a loss of over half-a-million pounds [£650k] of match funding and raises questions about the future of the Games

Labour councillors have proposed the following sports fee increases

  • A 12% increases in the cost of school football and school cricket
  • A 23% increase in the cost of casual Saturday pitch hire
  • A 25% increase in the cost of hiring Leyton County Cricket Ground
  • Increases of 33%  in school sports day fees

Drapers Field – update

Drapers Field - facing destruction

I was interviewed by the BBC last Friday (7 January) about the Lib Dem campaign to save Drapers Field.

Waltham Forest Council intends to rent the playing fields to the Olympic Delivery Authority for nearly two years, to concrete it over and use it for a laundry and storage area. This is despite the fact that Drapers Field is used by over 100,000 people a year and nearby Norlington School uses the playing fields four times a week for sports activity.

The council is so embarrassed about the situation that it stopped any filming in front of the Drapers Field sign. 

“This shows that Labour just wants to sweep this issue under the carpet and avoid scrutiny of their decision. In the run-up to the Olympics we should encourage young people to take part in sport – not take away one of the few playing fields and open spaces in the area”.

Labour has still failed to come clean about their plans for Drapers Field after the Olympics.  They say they will consult residents, although they talk about Drapers Field becoming a ‘super park’ there are also current plans which show housing on part of the grounds.

GOOD NEWS! – A new fire station for Leytonstone

Artist's impression of the new Fire Station

My colleague, Lib Dem Councillor Winnie Smith, has welcomed the news that the government has given the go-ahead for Leytonstone fire station to be rebuilt and improved.

Winnie says: “Local people would be shocked to see the state of the buildings where many of out fire-fighters have to work.  I am really pleased that the Lib Dems in Government have ensured that the money is there to rebuild Leytonstone fire station.  I am still pressing to get our fire engine back in Leyton.  That will be even better news”.

The funding that has been approved will see the existing buildings demolished, and replaced by a modern facility as part of a £60 million scheme to rebuild fire stations under a private finance initiative. The scheme is due to start late next year, with Leytonstone being part of the second phase.  See plan of new fire station above.The fire engines and staff will be relocated to other local stations while the work takes place. A London Fire Brigade spokesperson is reported to have said, “Temporarily transferring fire engines to different stations during construction will not lead to a reduction in our service and allow us to maintain good attendance times.”

New plans for 590-602 Leyton High Road received

New plans have been received by the Council to build part 5, part 4 and part 2 storey buildings on the site 590 to 602 High Road and 1 Hainault Road.  The buildings will comprise ground floor retail space and 24 residential units – 7×1 bed, 11x 2 bed and 2×3 bed duplex flats and 4×3 bed houses.

A previous application to build six storeys with 27 residential units with retail units was withdrawn. 

The Lib Dem Focus Team will be investigating these new plans.

Licence to sell alcohol at 3.30 in the morning refused

The Leyton Supermarket shop at 375 Leyton High Road had their sale of alcohol licence request to extend it from 11.00pm to 3.30am refused by the Councils Licensing Committee.

Councillor Bob Sullivan made representation to the committee to oppose the sale of alcohol at 3.30am in the morning on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and public safety.

I hope I spoke for most residents, as I cannot see that selling of alcohol in the middle of the night would benefit local people and could cause problems. 

What do you think?

Your chance to make Britain a FAIRER PLACE

On the 5th May this year everyone will get an opportunity to make Britain a fairer place.

There will be a referendum in changing our voting system from a ‘First Past the Post’.  Fairer votes will make MPs work harder to earn and keep your support.

That’s because every MP will need to win more than half of the votes to get elected.

Bob Sullivan and the Focus Team say, “This is a small change that will make a big difference.  People are fed up with MPs who think they entitled to a job for life no matter what they do”.

A YES vote on 5th May will change that once and for all.

People from all parties and from all walks of life are backing the campaign to change the voting system.

To add your support, visit www.YesToFairerVotes.org.uk or www.LibDems.org.uk today.

You can also show your support by clicking on the ‘YES to Fairer Votes’ button in the right hand column.