Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have written to the Secretary of State for Energy Kwasi Kwarteng demanding that he backs the party’s call for a “Robin Hood” tax on the super-profits of oil and gas firms, to raise money to support local families facing soaring energy costs.
Former Council leader Clare Coghill broke Waltham Forest Borough’s Code of Conduct by not declaring her work for Labour MP Barry Sheerman, an investigation has found. Coghill worked as office manager for Sheerman from 2014-18, but failed to declare this despite a clear requirement to do so.
Yet Waltham Forest’s Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, who carried out the investigation and branded Coghill’s omission a ‘failure’, will not be taking any disciplinary action. Local Liberal Democrat spokesperson Naomi McCarthy said: ‘It seems that Clare Coghill thinks she is above the rules – it’s extremely disappointing that there are no consequences for this kind of behaviour.’
The response of Grace Williams, the Labour Leader of Waltham Forest Council, to the raising of the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus outside the Town Hall on 15 November was as reactionary as it was inflammatory.
While Greek Cypriots would have been understandably upset at seeing the flag of this disputed territory raised, the Turkish Cypriot community had received prior approval from the Council, in accordance with Waltham Forest’s diversity and inclusivity policies.
Yet the Council Leader decided to intervene, singling out the Turkish Cypriot community for humiliating treatment by ordering the removal of their flag ahead of the agreed time, and issuing a racially charged statement announcing its permanent ban.
In its chaotic attempt to justify its knee-jerk response to this issue, the Council has gone on to ban flying the flags of Tibet, Kashmir, and the Pride flag. All of this has been done in an attempt to cover up the original decision that discriminated against Turkish Cypriots.
The response of these elected Labour councillors lacked the sensitivity and consideration required in a Borough as richly diverse as Waltham Forest. It has polarised the two Cypriot communities and damaged community cohesion.
Grace Williams must take immediate steps to rectify this, and the Council must hold a full and transparent investigation into the incident. Action must also be taken to repair the trust with the two Cypriot communities in the Borough. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and remain equal before the law.
Mayor Sadiq Khan opposes controversial incinerator but refuses to put pressure on his own party to halt the project
The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has reiterated his opposition to the Edmonton Incinerator, a project which is being championed by Labour-led Waltham Forest Council.
Local residents are horrified about the Council Planning Committee’s decision to approve the development of the old gas works site in Perth Road, Leyton.
The gas works land is full of dangerous toxic chemicals, which not only get into the air but can contaminate the ground water. The developers, Berkeley Group, were previously responsible for the controversial gas works development in Southall, which caused many local residents to report serious health problems.
Roll up, roll up for the Local Legends Lottery, a great way to support both your local party and local businesses!
Every 3 months, people who have set up a regular donation of £1 or more using this page will be entered into a draw. The prize will be a choice of goodies produced by businesses in Waltham Forest, and the total prize pot will have a value of 20% of the money collected. Draws will take place on the 22nd of October, January, April and July, and each person will have a number of tickets proportional to their contribution. Our inaugural draw will be on the 22nd October 2021, at our AGM.
Why are we raising this money?
We're aiming to disrupt Labour's hegemony at the next council elections in May 2022. Our campaign is led by three excellent candidates, Naomi, Meera and Arran, who are well-known, hard working and very popular in the area. Indeed, Arran only needed to flip 300 more Labour votes to take a council seat in 2018.
We'd like to get our message out to 10,000 people each month. Using everything from social media to good old-fashioned leaflets, we'll show our neighbours how hard we've already been working for them, voicing their concerns and holding the council to account. We'll also lay out our ambitious ideas for the future of Waltham Forest.
We've run the numbers and this would cost us £200 per month. If you are able to set up a direct debit to help us cover these costs, you'll be an important part of our campaign to get Liberal Democrats back on Waltham Forest Council. Thank you for anything you can spare.
Follow the instructions on this page to enter.
[Image credit: Julian Osley, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltham_Forest_Town_Hall].
Local campaigner Meera Chadha has been working with residents on Grove Green Road affected by changes to the road layout.
Pavements and parking bays have been narrowed, limiting access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and residents’ driveways have been blocked. The work has dragged on for over a year and residents’ concerns have been largely dismissed.
“Encouraging cycling in the area is a priority,” Meera said, “but we demand that the council listens to concerns so we can find solutions that work for cyclists, pedestrians and residents.”
Pushing through changes, causing significant disruption for residents and not taking issues like accessibility into consideration is a common pattern from the council. We want residents’ concerns listened to.
Residents have a petition which you can sign here: https://www.change.org/p/waltham-forest-council-grove-green-concerns-make-waltham-forest-council-listen
The Labour-run council has taken a secret decision to give Taylor Wimpey a discount for its development on Oliver Road.
The Coronation Square project, opposite Leyton Orient football grounds, is the largest development in the borough. The council at first tried to keep residents in the dark about the size of the discount. It has now emerged that they have agreed to give Taylor Wimpey a £6.9 million discount on the purchase of the land and promised to buy all the commercial space, after the developer claimed that “unforeseen costs” plus the Covid pandemic and Brexit meant that its expected profits have been reduced.
This is despite the fact that Taylor Wimpey made an operating profit of about £300 million in 2020. In addition, of the 750 housing units being built, almost none are low-cost rental ones.
Lib Dem campaigner Arran Angus said, “The council recently voted to cut funding for special educational needs children. Meanwhile, they are using taxpayers’ money to bankroll a company that makes hundreds of millions of pounds in profit.”