Highams Park Forum
A group of local people all interested in the betterment of life in their area.

Achievements





Picnicing on the green...

The recreation grounds behind the Focus DIY store

 

September 2007

Introduction

The Highams Park Forum was created following a public meeting held by Waltham Forest Council in September 2000. It works as a "Think Tank", aiming to act as a focus for local community issues, discussing ways of improving the quality of life in Highams Park, seeking answers to Community problems, and steering the implementation of measures which result.

The Forum meets 8 times each year to discuss local issues, initiate action and provide a coordinated response on local developments. It is now particularly important as the boundaries of the Community Councils divide Highams Park into three areas, and it is impractical to take issues of local concern to all three meetings. The Forum is able to give more time to detailed local issues than would be possible for the Community Councils.

Members of the Forum have included a representative number of residents and traders who joined following the public meeting in October 2000, at which the Council invited interested people to put themselves forward, together with other local residents who have joined subsequently. Members are entirely voluntary and in general act as individuals. They represent a variety of backgrounds and a range of opinions on issues, and so give a balanced view of the community. However, the Forum seeks to achieve the involvement of all sections of the local community in local activities and decision making.

The Forum is non political – it gives advice to the Council, but any decisions go through the Council’s approval procedures, and/or will go to a public meeting to which all residents of Highams Park will be invited. The Forum has no decision making powers itself.

Issues

Highams Park is one community and needs a coordinated voice on local issues, to liaise effectively with the Council and other bodies such as the railway and the Forest Conservators.

  • The Forum conducted local consultation on the CPZ on behalf of the Council, organising a public meeting which was well attended with strong feelings on both sides.
  • Following the Tesco planning application, the Forum held a public meeting attended by around 80 local residents, Councillors and Council Officers which showed a narrow majority in favour of a scheme if it were improved. The Forum then led a campaign to seek changes which provided a focus for local opinion and which led to significant improvements in their revised proposals. As the revised proposal remained unacceptable, due to the size of the proposed store and likely traffic generation, the Forum led objections to Tesco at the public inquiry. The Inquiry Inspector decided against Tesco and rejected their plans.
  • The Forum pushed the station/Larkshall Road footpath through a lengthy negotiation between the Council and Network Rail.
  • The Forum worked with a local Councillor to demolish the dilapidated garages in Handsworth Avenue and to replace them with a shoppers’ car park. The Council agreed to demolish them but plans to build housing, to ease the Borough’s housing shortage. This will remove a focus for antisocial behaviour.
  • The Forum successfully pushed for improved lighting in the footpath between Handsworth Avenue Health Centre and The Avenue.
  • The Forum negotiated with the Council for a reduction in the parking charge for Larkshall Rd car park, leading to a major increase in its usage. This has subsequently been increased again as part of Council policy.
  • The Forum initiated planting of a wild flower meadow in the Highams Park with Council support.
  • The Forum was consulted by the Council in its review of the performance of the Community Councils.
  • The Forum has held meetings with the local Police and residents on local crime issues and community safety.
  • The Forum reviews and comments on local planning applications in order to help influence the nature of local shops and businesses.

Other topics we have discussed include:

  • Traffic management, traffic calming, speed limits.
  • Public transport, including the station and Walthamstow station.
  • The road layout at the station and Broadway.
  • The Shopping centre.
  • The Library and other local amenities.
  • Youth activities, evening classes, adult education.
  • The streets in the evenings.
  • The local environment, and
  • Conservation, including the signal box.

Contact

If you'd like to get involved with the work of the Forum, please email us via the "Contact us" link on this page (top-left). New members are always very welcome.

Minutes of Forum meetings are available in the library as well as this web site.

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