Tag Archives: Politics

Consultation on regenerating Walthamstow

Waltham Forest Council are currently consulting residents on ideas for how to improve three areas: Walthamstow Town Centre, Wood Street and Blackhorse Lane.

The council has something called a Local Development Framework (LDF) and consulted on this in February. An LDF is basically a plan which is supposed to set out the regeneration and planning strategy for an area over the next 20 years. So, quite important.

Within an LDF, areas which are likely to experience major changes also need an Area Action Plan (AAP). AAPs are now being prepared for Walthamstow Town Centre, Wood Street and Blackhorse Lane. There are separate consultations for each area, and the questions are things like “What do you like about this area?” and “What are your top 3 priorities for the area?”.

All three consultations close on Friday 25 March. The Walthamstow Town Centre form is here, the Wood Street one is here and the Blackhorse Road one is here. As an alternative, you can also email planning.policy@walthamforest.gov.uk with your views, but I’d structure your email along the same lines as the questions in the leaflet.

Planning policy can be quite dry but these might be a good way to influence future council thinking. More detailed technical information on the Waltham Forest LDF can be found on the council website here.

Round-up of events at the EMD cinema

EMD cinema posterAs many of you may know, the EMD cinema was at the centre of an eventful weekend this weekend. News of it has been reported elsewhere and so, rather than add to the commentary, I thought I’d do a round up of the stories.

A first-hand account of the night from someone who was there can be found on Fb here.

The Waltham Forest Guardian has covered the story here.

Stella Creasy was on the scene on Saturday night and posted pictures of the internal damage here, here, and here. She has also put pictures on her Flickr stream here.

Tonight, the Save Walthamstow Cinema campaign was handing out flyers at Walthamstow Central publicising the petition about the cinema. You can sign it by going here. One of their new campaign posters is above, it’s awesome, the campaign is awesome and having a cinema would be awesome (in my opinion – and it’s my blog!).

Finally, if you want the latest updates direct from the people involved, I’d recommend following Save E17 Cinema and Stella Creasy on Twitter.

Protest march being held this Saturday

Demonstration leafletThe Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union are holding a protest march and demonstration in Walthamstow this Saturday, 19 February. The demonstration is to protest against cuts to jobs and services in Waltham Forest, and is supported by local Trade Unions.

The march begins in Abbots Park, Leyton at 12pm and marches to Walthamstow Town Centre, ending at around 3pm. Full details can be found on the Facebook page here.

Council petition on future of EMD cinema

Picture of EMD cinemaWaltham Forest council have an electronic petition on their website on the future of the EMD cinema on Hoe Street. It is the first electronic petition run by Waltham Forest council, and has been added by Save Walthamstow Cinema.

The petition refers to a planning application on the site. It puts the following statement:

We the undersigned petition the council to reject the pending planning application to turn the EMD/Granada cinema into a church. We want the building to remain an entertainment venue available to the whole community.

The petition runs until 2 March 2011 and can be found here. You have to register to sign the petition – presumably to ensure that only people living in the borough can sign it.

More information on the campaign to save the EMD cinema can be found on the McGuffin Society website.

Electronic petitions are a new innovation from Waltham Forest council, and this is the only one running at the moment. According to the website, anyone can submit a petition. There are a variety of actions which the council may take in response to a petition, ranging from a rather vague “considering the petition” or “undertaking research” to a full council debate.

Local councils have been required to offer electronic petitions since April 2010 following the Local Government, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. It will be interesting to see if this petition is successful in influencing the council’s decision.  If so, we are likely to see many more of them in Waltham Forest in the future.

Waltham Forest council spending data published

Waltham Forest council is one of eighteen London councils to have published information on council spending on items costing over £500. In August 2010, councils were told to publish this information by the end of January 2011, yet the BBC reports that some have yet to do so.

The information available from Waltham Forest council dates back to April 2010 and is published on a monthly basis here. There is a lot of information – Waltham Forest spending in November 2010, for example, contains information on 4,047 items. The objective of the exercise is to increase transparency about council spending. This is a laudable aim, considering it is taxpayers money which is being spent. Yet there is a balance between availability of data and usefulness of data.

It is hard to interpret these figures without context. 1,359 items cost less than £1,000. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest payments are to Ascham Homes Ltd, contractors, PFI payments, agency staff and computer network services. A lot of spending is described as “payments to public landlords” or other rent-related expenditure. It is interesting reading up to a point but there is no comparison with other London councils so it is hard to judge whether these costs are disproportionate or not.

Ultimately, giving people information about how their taxes are spent has some merit. It is also good to see that Waltham Forest council is being prompt with meeting its requirements. It will be interesting to see whether this leads to more public interrogation of council spending, or whether the data simply hovers out there, waiting to be looked at.

Looking ahead to 2011 in the ‘Stow

As it’s nearly New Year’s Eve, we thought we would look ahead to what 2011 might hold for Walthamstow.

Politics

2010 saw both a local and general election in Walthamstow. Political representation will remain relatively unchanged in 2011 unless there is an unexpected general election, or local by-elections for individual council seats.

The most significant political development in 2011 is likely to be the impact of Waltham Forest council budget cuts. The 2011/12 budget will be finalised in February and implemented from March. The Waltham Forest council consultation on the budget cuts had 1,238 responses, and the initial summary of the results can be found here. All residents will await with interest the council’s final spending decisions.

Community and regeneration

It’s fair to say that Walthamstow’s regeneration has been characterised by a lack of progress in 2010. There are decisions to be made on the future of Walthamstow Central station, Walthamstow Stadium, the Arcade site on Hoe Street and the future of the EMD Cinema. Developments on these sites will shape what the area looks and feels like in the future. As of today it would seem that the development of the station is closest to going ahead in some form, but nothing is set in stone.

Local media have also reported uncertainty over the future of the Standard music venue and the Plough Inn, and we hope 2011 can bring some good news for the E17 music scene.

Also looming is of course the Olympics in 2012. Waltham Forest is an Olympic borough and 2011 will see major developments in and around the borough near completion, not least the Olympic Stadium and Westfield: Stratford City.

Music

2011 is shaping up to be a good year for Walthamstow bands, with a host of new releases and tours lined up. Here are just a flavour of what to expect:

Walthamstow Scene faves The Stow are kicking off 2011 with a gig at the Old Queen’s Head in Islington on 12 January. Their Twitter feed suggests The Stow have got big plans for 2011, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Lethal Bizzle is set to drop POW 2011, featuring the great and the good from the grime scene, including Wiley and Chipmunk. The track recently got a spin on Tim Westwood’s 1Xtra show, and all we can say is, “choooon”.

The Rifles are ready to support Paul Weller on some rescheduled dates in February. The indie/punk chaps are likely to bring forth a new album and refreshed line-up in 2011 following the recent departure of Rob and Grant.

We will of course keep you in touch with fresh music talent from E17 throughout the year!

Arts

The biggest event of the year is likely to be the E17 Art Trail. Last year the art trail achieved its highest ever profile, and in November 2010 it was announced that council funding was secured for 2011 and 2012. The 2011 E17 Art Trail is likely to be held in early September.

There are always lots of arts and craft events around the borough. We try and feature as many as we can, and we’d recommend the excellent Art East17 magazine if you want listings dedicated to arts and craft.

…and lastly, of course, Walthamstow Scene hope to get bigger and better in 2011, so keep your browser pointed our way and you wont be disappointed.

Waltham Forest council funding cut by 5.22%

Today Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced this year’s local government finance settlement. This sets out the budget that local councils have to spend.

According to the Local Government Information Unit blog, the Waltham Forest council budget has been cut by 5.22%. This equates to a cut of £13.4 million. Waltham Forest council recently consulted people in the borough about what services could be cut. No details are available about where the 5.22% savings will come from, so keep an eye on the Waltham Forest council website for further details.

Walthamstow Stadium plans out for consultation

This week, development firm L&Q published their plans for the proposed redevelopment of Walthamstow Stadium. The Stadium has been closed since August 2008.

The planned new development would provide around 300 new homes, some parking and some public and community spaces. The plans do not include retaining a dog track on the site.

L&Q had planned to run three public consultation events, but the ones on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th December were postponed. There are no confirmed dates for these rearranged events as yet.

The planning application for the site will be submitted in early 2011, according to L&Q’s website. The plans are available to view here.

If you want to share your views on the redevelopment, Walthamstow Scene recommends that you contact your local MP. Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) can be contacted here and Iain Duncan-Smith (Chingford) can be contacted here. Let them know what you think of the plans.

We’ll post the dates of the rearranged consultation events when they are announced.

Consultation on Waltham Forest council spending closing soon

Consultation on Waltham Forest council spending closing soon

Got a view on council spending? The consultation closes this Friday, 3 December. Click above to have your say.