The meeting originally scheduled for (Thursday) 13th January 2011 at Coppermill School has been cancelled.
The Council has decided to abolish Community Councils from the beginning of January 2011. They are to be replaced with "Community Ward Forums", which will cover individual wards, and will provide an opportunity for residents to meet directly with their Ward Councillors in the setting of an open meeting.
Last update: Sunday 9 January 2011
Sorry this website has become so out of date - not enough hours in the day!
This site is wholly unofficial and is maintained (very erratically) by the current Community Chair, Philip Herlihy. Nothing here is endorsed or approved by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, or any Member, or Officer. (Or anyone, really!)
Be sure to visit also the Council's official site for the Walthamstow West Community Council. You may also be interested in the discussions of local affairs that can be found on the Walthamstow Yahoo Group.
Budget dramatically increased from June 2008. More...
Comment: Does censorship affect Community Councils?
Comment: How big a voice should Councillors have in the Community Forum?
Links: A growing collection of external links of interest to local people.
Note that the annual budget spend process will be launched at the next meeting, and both residents and groups should start planning their bids!
« We have a "Help Form" , available (orange). The idea is to make Community Councils more accessible. If there is any reason you prefer not to speak at the meeting you can use this form to ask a question, raise a concern, or make a comment (anonymously if you wish). The form is also useful when you feel the exact wording of your comment or question is important. The Chairs of the meeting will do everything they can to see that you get a reply before the next meeting.
Finally, there are Evaluation Forms available (yellow) - your comments are welcome and are studied carefully. »
These forms can only be accepted at a Community Council meeting
(Last update: 28 June 2009)
Another very lively meeting! Apart from the important presentations from the North London Waste Authority and our local Safer Neighbourhoods police team, it seemed that most of the residents present were keen to hear about (and comment on!) the proposal to convert the former St. James St library building into a drop-in centre providing services including drug treatment. One of our regulars had got wind of this from an obscure reference in a Cabinet document and had alerted the local press. We'd picked this up, and anticipated the interest - we had available a pretty full set of officers and councillors, including the Chair of Waltham Forest NHS (Cllr. Afzal Akram, also our Cabinet Champion), the Director of Safer and Stronger Communities (Robin Tuddenham), the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander (Mark Benbow) and other senior figures too numerous to mention. Strong feelings were expressed, ranging from the closure of the library to the proposed drop-in centre and extending to the status and regeneration of the "West Village" (Cllr O'Rourke's engaging term).
This was one of the best meetings I've had the privilege to be involved in. Resident after resident spoke with clarity and passion about things that clearly mattered to everyone there and (with just a little encouragement from me) listened attentively as officers and councillors made the case for the centre. We had the right people there, and they all spoke well, detailing the various complexities involved in a decision of this type. The best thing about it was that everyone was prepared to listen, and everyone learned something - not least the officers and councillors involved in this proposal.
Did it make a difference? I think it must have. It fell to John Macklin (one of our WWCC ward councillors, and Deputy Leader of the Council) to make the point that sometimes councillors do have to make decisions that are unpopular, but he also said that it's up to councillors to account for these decisions fully. We don't yet know if this proposal will go ahead, but it's clear that if it does then the Council as a whole will have to explain its decision-making carefully to our residents. That's just as it should be, and it's satisfyingly clear that the Community Council has been at the heart of this.
There's one other thing worth touching on (it came up during the wind-down period after the meeting). There's an argument that says where the council feels it has no choice over a decision - perhaps for legal, or financial reasons - then consultation is actually harmful. The reasoning goes that if residents come to believe that their input can't make any difference then they will (reasonably) see the supposed consultation is a sham and a deceit. I think I rather agree with this: if there isn't a practical choice, then don't appear to offer one. However, it's then vital for the Council through its appointed officers and elected councillors to carry residents with them by persuading residents that there really is no alternative. Community Councils have an important role to play in making these issues visible.
Another lively meeting, and we over-ran again - perhaps we need to go back to the earlier start-time. Keith Hanshaw gave a spirited account of how the Council is improving its monitoring of street-cleansing and adapting to a changing situation. Questions were equally spirited!
Lots of people were there to voice opposition to the opening of an access to the recreation ground via Cheshire Close (Chapel End), and one brave soul all in favour, with very eloquent arguments made on both sides, after a detailed presentation by Nick Burton (head of the council's Greenspace department). A difficult job for councillors to resolve, as they couldn't ignore the strength of feeling but they also have to find a solution which meets the needs of the wider area. In the event it was decided to attempt to set up a wider study to look into issues like "designing out crime" while maximising the use that could be made of this land. Meanwhile, the Community Council funding is ring-fenced for this purpose. Similarly, the Higham Hill councillors had found very mixed opinions on developing a play area at Millfield Avenue, and that too was deferred while further enquiries are made. Not much time left over for other issues in the Community Forum - we need to manage this better.
Do see the slides for full details, including the latest statement on the Arcade site (P19).
Venue: Walthamstow Academy, Billet Road.
Lengthy post-meeting reflections, in rueful response to the local Guardian's blunt assessment!
If you were one of the 128 people there, you'll know that this meeting did not go smoothly! You may be interested to know that intense discussions followed within the Community Council teams, and the many lessons learned at this meeting were quickly applied to the next. I'm pleased to report that the Leytonstone meeting on the 20th October went entirely smoothly, with residents applauding as each award was settled. Further reviews will take place when this cycle of meetings is complete.
Venue:Lloyd Park Theatre
This meeting was the first since the Review of Community Councils, in which views and suggestions from a wide range of contributors were sought. You can read the summary proposals. (19 Kb )
There was much discussion about the Library Service and other topics concerning the Arts, Leisure and Culture portfolio. Responses now available here...
We also voted on:
Venue:Lloyd Park Theatre
Venue:Mission Grove Primary School
Venue:Hillyfield Primary School
Venue:Lloyd Park Theatre
Among other things we voted on suggestions made at the previous meeting for projects for our Community Council's £10.000 budget. This handout (37 kb ) has more information. Here is a summary (12 Kb) of the options on which residents voted at the meeting. More detailed information (everything we have) can be found here (30 Kb) ,
We're also inviting volunteers to become our "Observer" on the Police-Community Consultative Group. You can find an application form and more information about these lively and interesting meetings here (18 Kb) . Note that anyone can attend these meetings, but it would be helpful to have a specific observer from the Community Council who could alert us at future meetings to issues affecting this area.
You can download the presentation from the Primary Care Trust "Fit for the Future" (220 Kb) .
Cllr Afzal Akram (Cabinet Portfolio holder for Community Safety) with Chief Inspector Mark Benbow (Met Police Borough Commander) presented this brief statement (23Kb ) on the recent arrests in connection with an alleged terrorist conspiracy. To allow more time for discussion of this and other "hot" topics, it was decided to defer item 7 (on Youth Activities) to a later meeting.
We asked residents for new suggestions for projects for our Community Council's £10.000 budget. You can still submit suggestions by ringing the Community Council team (020 8496 3000) until Monday 11 September - after that the existing suggestions will be costed and evaluated before the next meeting. This handout (37k ) has more information.
Consultation: Mark Yeadon, Consultation Manager for LBWF, gave a presentation on "Consultation: Past, Present & Future", explaining how the consultation process is expected to work in the future. Download (81 Kb)
This meeting gave residents an opportunity to vote on our £10,000 budget. Residents had already narrowed spending down to three themes, and this time they voted on specific proposals for the benefit of our area.
|Mobile Youth Club||
|Street Warden Patrols||
|Mobile Youth Club||
Only Councillors have the legal authority to make binding decisions at CC meetings - that's why the Chair changes over near the end of the meeting as the meeting enters a "formal" stage. In practice, Residents vote on priorities and then, as Residents watch and listen, the team of ward Councillors convert those priorities into practical decisions ready to be implemented. I believe this process works well, as Councillors are used to "haggling" and can usually tidy up any loose ends quickly and efficiently. We haven't yet had a situation where Councillors vota against the priorities of residents - when/if that happens I think we'll be in for an interesting night!
This meeting included a workshop in which residents combined in small groups to discuss new ideas for how to use our £10,000 budget for 2005/6. After discussion, residents voted for the following three themes as priorities:
There was also the chance to elect a new Community Chair and Vice-Chair. (In the absence of alternative candidates, both will carry on as before.) If you'd like to consider standing in the future, contact the Community Council team via 020 8496 3000. They are very supportive, and will be happy to explain what's involved and answer any questions you may have. Volunteers will be invited to introduce themselves briefly to the relevant meeting, after which residents vote for their preferred candidate.
In the second half of the meeting, there was a presentation on the latest plans for the redevelopment of the Blackhorse Lane area.
Note that presentations from the September meeting are also available for download. See below...
There were presentations/discussions (available for download as PDF ) covering:
... plus the Community Forum in which residents raise (more or less) any issue they choose.
Greenleaf Road Adult Education Centre: During the Community Forum residents expressed very strong feelings about the imminent closure of this popular facility. From the Chair, I asked the head of CLaSS, Dr. Maureen Green, if she'd be prepared to give a written statement of current changes and developments. Dr. Green was quick to respond - you can read her summary here, or download as PDF .
Cinema: Officers from the Regeneration Team were on hand before the meeting to consult with residents about the future of the Granada Cinema on Hoe Street.
Consultation Strategy for Waltham Forest: Officers working on a draft "Consultation Strategy" for the Borough were on hand before the meeting asking for residents' views. Comment...
(Documents are in PDF format - Adobe Reader available here)
Meeting cancelled : As the General Election has now been announced, and the 11th April falls within the pre-election period, it has been necessary to cancel this meeting for legal reasons.
As I understand it, the Council's Legal team believe there is a significant risk that an individual or party may claim that they have been "disadvantaged" in some way, and mount an action for damages. In order to protect the public purse (and the whole electoral process) they believe the only thing to do is to cancel all events where this risk may exist until the whole thing is over.
It's unclear how many other councils take the same view. PH.