Old Wood Street Library development - live up to your principles!

The planning committee is considering proposals for a residential tower and a "Families and Homes Hub" to replace the old Wood St library. While there's plenty of good things about the development, there are also some places where it really doesn't live up to the Council's promises. In particular, there's unnecessary segregation between residents of affordable homes and market-rate homes. A letter raising those issues that has been submitted to the planning committee by our housing and planning officer, Tom Addenbrooke, is copied below. 


You can see the proposal and make your own comments here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALTHAM/bulletins/2c0427a- 

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London 2021 Elections


London 2021 Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly: three ballots, three electoral systems

The Mayor of London and London Assembly represent the people living in London.

They work with London’s councils, central government and other organisations on different aspects of London life.

The Mayor of London sets a vision for the city, and the budget to put that vision into action. 

The London Assembly is a watchdog for London and holds the Mayor and his advisers to public account. The Mayor must consult the Assembly before producing his statutory strategies and budget, including City Hall’s share of council tax. The London Assembly also investigates issues that are important to London.

There are 25 Assembly Members in total. 14 represent constituencies, and 11 represent all of London.

Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly take place every four years. The Mayor and the London Assembly constitutes the Greater London Authority, also known as City Hall.

On 6 May 2021, you vote for:

  • the Mayor of London
  • your constituency London Assembly Member
  • the London-wide Assembly Members
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Leyton Cricket Pavilion loses bid to become a food hub

We were sorry to hear that the anticipated renovation of the historic Leyton Cricket pavilion, in which part of it was to be turned into a food hub, has been stopped. Despite Waltham Forest Council appointing a project manager and putting in place plans to engage a conservation architect and a community engagement officer, the council failed to obtain any money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The venue was supposed to open in August 2021 but no work has been undertaken yet.

It is not clear when the Council knew this project had failed or how much tax-payers money they have spent on it to date. We have submitted a freedom of information request to the council to find out the answers to these questions. We will report back when we have more information.


Image credit: posted by Leyton59 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyton_Cricket_Ground under a CC BY-SA license. 

Should we boycott the winter Olympics? London Assembly candidate Kate Pothanlingam thinks so

Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for the North East, Kate Pothalingam, has joined leader Ed Davey in calling for Team GB and the British government to boycott the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022, unless the Chinese government “Ends the Genocide” of Uighur Muslims. 

In taking this stance, Liberal Democrats are not attacking the Chinese people as a whole, but only an illiberal ruling regime that has imprisoned more than a million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in a network of detention centres, according to human rights groups working in the area. Sir Ed Davey said: “Our brightest and best athletes should not be forced to be part of a propaganda exercise for the Chinese Communist Party whilst it tries to wipe the Uighur off the face of the planet.” 

A recent legal opinion, published in the UK, has concluded that there is a "very credible case" that the Chinese government's actions amount to genocide. The opinion presents evidence of "enslavement, torture, rape, enforced sterilisation and persecution" of the Uighurs.

Ms Pothalingam, a long-time advocate for international human rights said "The politicisation of sport is not a desired outcome, but the lessons of history are clear. Oppressive regimes use international sporting events to highlight their vision of normality. Holocaust Memorial Day has only recently passed and images from the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 offer a sad reminder of our participation in an event that was used as a propaganda tool by the Nazi regime. The well-documented persecution of the Uighur people by Chinese authorities must be brought to the attention of the world. An international boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing would be a way of achieving the goal of calling Chinese policy-makers to account.” 

Waltham Forest campaigner Arran Angus added “We understand that athletes may be disappointed if they miss attending the winter Olympics but the right to life of the Uighur people must come first.”

Sign up to Spring Conference 2021

Things are starting to take shape for the online Liberal Democrats’ Spring Conference and you can be a part of it for just £50.
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Looking after your mental health during Covid

[Image taken from Liberal Democrat article on World Mental Health day].

This lockdown may feel even harder than previous ones, as nine months of restrictions take their toll on all of us.

Many of us are juggling work, home schooling and the sadness of being away from family and friends. Others are dealing with anxiety after losing their jobs, and of course many people have lost loved ones to the virus.

It is important to seek help if you need it and there are lots of places to find support.


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Long Covid Support

[Image taken from the Liberal Democrat campaign for sufferers of Long Covid].

We know that the after-effects of Covid can be long lasting and very distressing.

Even those who haven’t experienced the distress and trauma of hospitalisation can suffer chest complaints, headaches, fatigue and insomnia months after getting the virus. Lib Dem MP Layla Moran recently described Long Covid as ‘the hidden health crisis within this growing coronavirus pandemic,’ with an estimated 300,000 affected in the UK. 

If you or a family member have had Covid and are struggling to recover, the following resources might be helpful. The experience can be traumatic and it is ok to seek help.


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Stay Safe in Lockdown

From 4 January, people across the whole country must now stay at home apart from the following exceptions:

  • for work if people cannot work from home
  • to shop for necessities such as food or medicines
  • to exercise once per day at a local location. This can be with your household or support bubble or with one person from outside your household/bubble.
  • to provide care or help to vulnerable people
  • to attend medical appointments, get medical care or a coronavirus test, or to flee the threat of harm or violence


  • All schools and colleges will move to online learning
  • Schools will remain closed for all pupils, apart from the children of key workers or those who are vulnerable, until the February half-term
  • However, nurseries can remain open while childcare and support bubbles will stay in place

If you need help

The Government Guidance on the new National Lockdown restrictions can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

If you are in an at-risk group and need help or support do get in touch with your nearest mutual aid group. They have been doing fantastic work throughout the pandemic and are deserving of our gratitude. You can find your nearest group at https://walthamforestmutualaid.org.uk

Waltham Forest Council can also help vulnerable residents to access priority delivery slots at Tesco and Iceland or to access a local food bank. You can access this help by calling the Council Resolution Centre on 020 8496 3000 from 7am to 7pm seven days a week.

Age UK Advice

Looking After Your Mental Health

Advice to renters

If you need support to stop domestic abuse please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247.

If you are worried about your own behaviour and think you might be at risk of hurting your partner or family you can also call the Respect help line. It is confidential and free to call: 0808 802 4040.

Going to donate blood is considered essential travel and not affected by the lockdown. Please consider donating to help vulnerable people at this time. https://www.blood.co.uk/news-and-campaigns/news-and-statements/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/

Unpaid carers – now added to priority 6 vaccination group

On 31 December, the government updated its priority vaccination list to include:

  • adults who provide regular care for an elderly or disabled person
  • younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential settings

They will be offered the vaccine at the same time as the adults under 65 years with long term conditions. You can see the updated guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait/why-you-have-to-wait-for-your-covid-19-vaccine

This is something that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for, for a number of weeks and we are pleased that this omission has been rectified - it is now in line with standard priority vaccination guidance and will be a relief to a number of people.


Waltham Forest Secret Santa

Help victims of domestic violence with a Secret Santa gift.
During this second lockdown, the unhappy truth is that incidents of domestic violence are likely to increase.
This festive season, the Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats are supporting the Waltham Forest Secret Santa providing gifts to women and families in the borough through Solace and Ashiana Network.
For the women, being treated to something as simple as a luxury beauty set can have a massive impact on their self-worth; and for the children, this might be the only Christmas present they receive, as escaping abuse can take a huge financial toll on their mothers. 
If you would like to donate a gift, please see below for details:
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Local Superheroes

Celebrating the local businesses that helped to feed children during half-term.

In October the Conservative government voted against extending the ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’ to feed children eligible for free school meals during half-term. Although several Liberal Democrat councils opted to feed these children themselves, Waltham Forest Council was slow to respond. 

Instead, many local businesses, schools and charities stepped in to support families in Waltham Forest. Throughout half-term they offered food parcels and hot meals for free, despite the fact that many have suffered from the financial impact of Covid-19 themselves.

We want to celebrate these local heroes including:

  • Firezza in Olympic Park 
  • Marmelo Kitchen on Francis Road
  • Deeney’s on Leyton High Road
  • The Wild Goose Bakery on Leytonstone High Road
  • Craftworks on Hoe Street
  • The Farm Community Kitchen on Cann Hall Road  

Plus of course the various food banks that support Waltham Forest residents, including: 

While we welcome the government’s recent U-turn, which means that children will now be fed during the Christmas holidays, this is not a new problem. Every year, vulnerable families worry about the school holidays, when they will need to find an extra £30–40 per week to buy the meals usually provided at school. It is an absolute travesty for children to go hungry, on any day of the year. 

That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for free school meals for every child in primary and secondary school whose family is receiving universal credit, or are low-income with no recourse to public funds, and also meal vouchers for all of these pupils covering school holidays and lockdown period. 

Please let us know of any local heroes we may have missed so that we can add them in. Email us at [email protected].

Also see our post on how to get support locally this winter.

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