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

Latest minutes

of last meeting

Please Note:
Minutes of meetings will be placed on this web page when approved by attendees.
This will usually be approximately two weeks after the meeting.

Looking up: An old oak tree putting
on leaf near the lake









Minutes of meeting Monday 14th September 2015 (Approved)




Trevor Calver, Jeff Beaton, Mark Herring, Cllr Tony Bell, Anne Haines, Nicolas Haines, Malcolm Shykles, Mike Payne, Antranik Kasparian


Gordon Turpin, John Kear, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, Cllr Paul Braham, Cllr Sheree Rackham, Cllr Tim James, Richard Owen, Roger Torode, Mary Dunhill, Steve Webb, Danny Hunt, Oliver Shykles


1)         Welcomes & Introductions

Malcolm Shykles chaired the meeting (kindly standing in for Oliver Shykles) and Mike Payne took the minutes.


2)         Matters arising from minutes of meeting 27th July 2015

There were no matters arising.


3)         NO2 pollution in Highams Park

MS tabled a brief document with a map summarising predicted NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) concentrations across the borough.  Attendees noted that the problem areas closely followed the main roads and that it is understood that diesel vehicles are the main culprit.


The meeting briefly discussed National and London based initiatives designed address the problem in the long term before returning to whether there were any changes we could promote in Highams Park that could help.   Two suggestions were put forward:

a)    Some signage at the level crossing asking drivers to turn off their engines while waiting for the barrier to raise.  The area around the level crossing is shown as one of the problem areas on the map and this simple measure could make a significant difference.  Although the signage would only be seen by drivers at the front of the queue, all regular drivers would eventually see the signage over a period of time.

b)    Requesting parents waiting to collect children from school to turn off their engines (left on for air con in summer, and heating in winter).


Attendees wondered whether the any of the road layout changes (inside or outside of Highams Park) for the Mini Holland Cycling project would cause changes in traffic flow in Highams Park.


Cllr TB said he would relate the discussion to Cllr Loakes (Deputy Leader of LBWF).


MP reported that Cllr SR had emailed him with the comment that Zac Goldsmith (one of the candidates for London Mayor) had discussed this with her recently, thus demonstrating the London-wide nature of the problem.


Attendees noted that some pollution is believed to originate from the Edmonton Incinerator plant when the wind is in the "wrong" direction.  Attendees noted that this plant is being replaced with a new plant which developers claim will be "one of the best performing in Europe when it comes to air quality".  Building commences 2019.


4)         Can we expand and publicise the Community Toilet Scheme in Highams Park?

If you Google "LBWF Community Toilet" you will quickly find a list of the businesses participating in the scheme.  Under this scheme businesses receive payment from LBWF to allow their toilets to be used by members of the public who are not otherwise using the services of the business.


This list shows that Highams Park is poorly represented, having only one participant in the scheme, this being Hale End Library.  Even this one participant is a poor example because the Toilets are only accessible when the library is open (closed 3 days a week) and even then access requires assistance from staff to pass through a door locked by a keypad.


Attendees were puzzled as to why there was not more take up of the scheme in Highams Park:

·         Did it need to be publicised more to businesses (it is a potential source of income to them)?

·         Are the payments from LBWF sufficient to encourage businesses to take it up?

·         Do Highams Park businesses actually have accessible toilets that could be used in this way?


The Highams Park Planning Group have a Topic Working Group (TWG) focussing on "Shops, Business and Employment" which has developed a good working relationship with many of the business owners.  Attendees asked MP to ask the chair of this TWG if they could consult some of the businesses to determine whether they are aware of the scheme and whether the payment was sufficient.


5)         CPZ Consultation - Result

This item relates to the recent consultation by the council on a council proposal to introduce Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) in some parts of Highams Park.  This is sometimes referred to as "Residents Parking Permits".  The consultation closed on 10th August 2015.


MP reported the following communication from Cllr Loakes (dated 1st September 2015):


This morning I signed off the report- following the recent consultation- not to progress with a CPZ in the Highams Park Area.


We had a very high response rate for the households consulted- some 44%- and the split was 20% in favour with 80% against. In no single road was there a majority in favour of the proposed scheme.


I see no reason to consult with the residents of Highams Park further on the introduction of CPZ.


The Highams Park Planning Group was not consulted by council officers prior to sending out the consultation.  The Planning Group had recently conducted its own detailed survey on parking to assess residents' views with the intention of coming up with an approach which would be less divisive than previously.  Some options which were polled in The Planning Group's survey (and were popular) were not included in the council's survey.


6)         Brief Updates:

·         HP Plan update

MP, on behalf of GT who was unable to attend, summarised just some of the large number of activities in progress by The Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG):

o   5 questionnaires available online asking residents their opinions on a number of topics to ensure that the Planning Group is properly representing their views.  These will start to close from 21st September.  More details about the Planning group can be found on its website: highamsparkplan.org.  From there, if you'd like to fill in the questionnaires, follow the link on the left hand side of the home page

o   Development of The Plan for Highams Park continues and is expected to go to public consultation, professional examination, and public referendum during 2016.

o   The organisation has resubmitted its application to become a Charity (to more easily facilitate bidding for grants for local projects).  If approved, the organisation will become a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

o   Is exploring with the council whether a residents based organisation can be established to organise use of the Library facilities (primarily the meeting rooms) during the periods where it is currently closed.  It is hoped to offer a variety of educational, craft, arts, science & technology based activities.

o   Progressing the proposal for a café and toilets in the Park.  See item below for more detail.

o   Xmas Fayre organised for Sunday 20th December.  27 stalls already booked.

o   Exploring a monthly clothes, arts, & craft market in Signal Walk.

o   Putting together a bid to restock plant life in the lake to increase biodiversity.

o   LOROL (the operator of the railway) have offered a community notice board at the station.  The group is giving feedback regarding its location and operation.

o   "Welcome to Highams Park" signage will be installed as part of the Winchester Road works.  This will be based on the HPPG branding for the area and it is hoped to roll this out further.

o   Led the consultation on the works to improve the playpark in the park beside the lake.  Proposals have had widespread support and installation commences 15th September.

o   HP Portal development is progressing.  This is will be a website for the area to link together all the existing sites and to provide new information.

o   Bid to restore All Saints church organ is nearing completion.

o   Bid for a community recycling facility has been submitted.

·         Cllr TB has been working closely with the council on the following projects and he updated attendees regarding progress:

o   The redevelopment of the old Regal cinema building

The behind the scenes negotiations between owner, developer, operator, and council are continuing and unofficial reports suggest things are nearing a positive conclusion.

o   The Elephant & Tortoise Artwork

This project had stalled for a number of reasons, but we understand that the problems are now largely resolved and the project should soon be moving forward.

o   Café in the Park

This item was mentioned briefly under the HP Plan update above.

The Planning Group is attempting to drive a project to create a café in The Highams Park (the park adjacent to Highams Park Lake).  The proposal is to take over and refurbish the disused building (owned by the council) in the park.

Outline discussions have been held with the council and the project has been given what could be described as an "amber light" by the council (but not a "green light").  The council are viewing the idea with some caution and want to see more detailed proposals and business plans.

A core group of residents with relevant skills and experience has been established to pursue the idea and they are currently putting together a business plan and seeking resident's views on proposals.

·         New connections from/to Chingford to Liverpool Street line

MP alerted attendees to benefits of the (relatively) new interchanges from the Chingford to Liverpool Street line to two other "Overground" lines.  Walthamstow Central station now has a pedestrian link to Walthamstow Queens Road station and Hackney Downs station now has a pedestrian link to Hackney Central station.  These now give much speedier access to some parts of London.  For example, Highams Park to Stratford (via Hackney Downs) is less than 30mins.  Likewise, you can go from Highams Park to inside the Olympic Park in less than 30mins (by alighting at Hackney Wick).


MP recommended exploring the "new opportunities".  The latest tube map shows the new interchanges and can be seen here: www.tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube

·         Residents' use of Library on closed days - proposal

This item was mentioned briefly under the HP Plan update above.


The Planning Group is currently exploring an idea to make better use of the library in Highams Park on days when it is closed.  The library is currently closed on three days a week (Monday, Thursday and Sunday).  The idea is that The Planning Group will set up a volunteer organisation to organise and run events in the library facilities on the closed days.  This would not be to operate the book lending service but rather to make use of the community rooms and the car park/open space for a programme of educational and cultural activities.  A group known as "The Bridge" operate a similar scheme in Lea Bridge Library.


Highams Park's Library (official name "Hale End Library") has two excellent, well equipped, community rooms upstairs (accessible by a lift) and an attractive car park at the rear for external events.  The Planning Group want to maximise the use of these valuable community assets.


The proposal has been well received informally and The Planning Group now await a formal response from library management in order to take the idea further forward.  The proposal is currently being considered by the "Asset Management" department of the council.

·         Protecting Rights of Way in Highams Park

The parties pursuing this were unable to be present so it is hoped an update will be possible at the next meeting.

·         Forum Finances

The Forum has now received £300 of its £600 grant from the Community Ward Forums (Hatch Lane and Highams Park & Hale End).  The second £300 is expected to be received before the end of the financial year.

·         Rubbish bags in Winchester Road

The parties pursuing this were unable to be present so it is hoped an update will be possible at the next meeting.

·         Paper Parking vouchers

At the last meeting attendees requested clarification on the status of paper parking vouchers now that "pay by phone" was being promoted for the parking bays near the shops.


GT followed this up and received this positive response from council officer Iain King:


I can confirm that I have spoken to our Parking Team and can confirm that the current arrangement whereby parking vouchers are accepted in all Pay by Phone parking bays across the borough are still in place and will continue to do so.


However, TC pointed out that it was not totally clear whether retail outlets can easily purchase new stocks of vouchers or whether Iain's comments only refer to using up existing stocks.  MP agreed to seek further clarification.

·         Shop Front Improvements

Cllr TB reported that a Project Manager had now been appointed to oversee the spending of £100k to improve the appearance of key shop fronts and flanks in the Highams Park shopping area.  The HPPG is liaising with the project team to ensure residents views are fed into the plans.  The money originates from Central Government and is part of that passed to the council to help improve shopping areas.


7)         Next Community Ward Forum Meeting(s)

The centre of Highams Park is split across two wards (i.e. Hatch Lane and Hale End & Highams Park).  To date, the two wards had held a joint meeting to simplify dealing with central Highams Park matters.  The Forum has learned that the two wards have decided to hold their Community Ward Forums separately from now on because some residents felt that there was insufficient time to deal with matters impacting the single wards.


Attendees expressed some concerns regarding this new approach and discussed the pros and cons.  They could see arguments for both, but in conclusion it was suggested that it would be best if the "separate" arrangement were considered to be an experiment and if it does not show benefits that "joint" meetings should be reinstated.


Meeting dates for the four wards that cover the whole of Highams Park are as follows:

Chapel End Ward

Date: Monday 21st September 2015
Time: 7pm-9pm

Venue: Chapel End Infant School, 3 Beresford Road, Walthamstow, E17 4LN


Larkswood Ward

Date: Monday 12th October 2015

Time: 7pm-9pm (6.30pm: informal talk with councillors)

Venue: South Chingford Community Library, 265 Chingford Mount Road, E4 8LP


Hale End & Highams Park Ward

Date: Wednesday 14th October 2015
Time: 6:30pm-9pm

Venue: Thorpe Hall Primary School, Hale End Road, E17 4DP


Hatch Lane Ward

Date: Thursday 26th November 2015
Time: 7pm for 7:30pm

Venue: Longshaw Primary School, Longshaw Rd, E4 6LH


8)         Action List: Review of outstanding items

Due to time pressure at the meeting, the Action List was not reviewed.  MP will review and update the list outside of the meeting based on his knowledge of progress.


9)         Any other business

·         Playpark closed during major upgrade

Work on the play area in The Highams Park (by the lake) will commence Tuesday 15th September and is due to be complete by mid-October.  As a result, the play area will not be available for use during this period.  The nearest alternative play area is at Vincent Road, (off Hale End Road).

·         Proposed turning restrictions (Haldan & Cavendish roads)?

MH had heard that there were plans to introduce turning restrictions (e.g. no right turn or left turn) out of Haldan and Cavendish Roads but details were unclear.  MH agreed to find out more and report back at the next meeting.


10)     Items for next agenda

·      Set dates for Highams Park Forum meetings in 2016

·      Protecting Rights of Way in Highams Park - update

·      Rubbish bags in the shopping area - update

·      Proposed turning restrictions (Haldan & Cavendish roads)?  Clarification.


11)     Confirm date, time for next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 26th October 2015 at 7:30pm in the Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.

Back to top