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

News (2009)



 


08DEC: New landmark for Highams Park

 

News (2009)

For more recent news, click here: News in 2010
For news archive, click here: News archive
You can also find more news by reading the latest minutes here: Minutes
 

8th December 2009
New landmark for Highams Park

Network Rail are to erect an 18m tall communication mast at Highams Park Station. It will be sited in the greenspace next to the footpath from the Chingford bound platform. We understand it will be a thin open lattice structure. The mast will be part of a national network of masts to provide communications between train drivers and signallers. The planning rules for such structures are unusual in that Network Rail are not required to go through the normal planning process.

Despite this the Forum contacted both Network Rail and MP Iain Duncan Smith to see if the mast could be reduced in size. This is not as silly as it sounds since in some parts of the country smaller masts have been used (but more of them). But to no avail. The mast is going ahead as planned. Hopefully we will learn to love it over time (like the signal box) ......

You can read the replies we received below:
Letter to Forum from Network Rail
Letter to Forum from Iain Duncan Smith
Letter to Iain Duncan Smith from Network Rail (Page 1)
Letter to Iain Duncan Smith from Network Rail (Page 2)
Letter to Iain Duncan Smith from Network Rail (Map showing mast location)

 


03DEC: Car Park application rejected

 

3rd December 2009 (Updated 12th December 2009 - link to doc added)
Larkshall Road Car Park - Planning application rejected

The planning application to develop the Larkshall Road car park went before LBWF planning committee on 1st December 2009 as planned (see item 19th November 2009 below). The Councillors resolved to reject the application by 6 votes to 3.

A full account is given in the Waltham Forest Guardian article which is available via this link:
WF Article

The rejection letter from planning committee to the applicant (giving reasons) is available here:
Rejection Letter

 

 


30Nov: Tesco - Forum Statement following GoL decision

 

30th November 2009
Tesco - Forum Statement following GoL decision

Following the GoL decision (see item 27th Nov below) the Forum has issued the following statement to the Waltham Forest Guardian newspaper:

Statement from Highams Park Forum

The Highams Park Forum regrets the decision of the Secretary of State. The Forum welcomes development which is appropriate to Highams Park and which will genuinely regenerate the area, and we have always said that we would welcome a smaller store. But we believe that this store is far too large, that it will damage local shops and businesses, and that it will bring unacceptable traffic congestion and pollution.

We will hold the Council and its Officers accountable for the effects of this scheme which we believe is based on poor advice and flawed assessments.

This is the third application by Tesco. The previous applications were far worse, would have laid a large part of Highams Park waste to a vast car park, and would have diverted northbound buses through the traffic jam created by the store. The first scheme also involved a long walk to the store entrance for anyone on foot. Nevertheless those schemes were supported by Waltham Forest Council who have shown a lack of initiative throughout. It is only because the Highams Park Forum successfully challenged the previous applications that the layout of the site is now greatly improved, with access direct to the existing shops, bus stops and station, and with a new Health Centre and community facilities.

Roger Torode
Chair
Highams Park Forum

 

 


27Nov: Tesco - GoL decision

 

27th November 2009
Tesco - Government Office for London (Secretary of State) Decision

The Government Office for London has written to Waltham Forest Council in a letter dated 25th November 2009 stating that the Secretary of State will not be "calling in" the Tesco Planning Application. This means that there will not be a public inquiry and that the council planning decision in favour of the development will stand.

The full text of the letter is available from the link below:
GoL decision letter (0.99MB)

It now looks likely that the Tesco development will go ahead. The Forum will try to work with the Council and Tesco to minimise the adverse effects of the development and try to maximise the benefits for Highams Park residents.

 

 


19Nov: Larkshall Road Car Park
- Free time at Xmas then developed?

 

19th November 2009
Larkshall Road Car Park - Free time at Xmas then developed?
[Planning Committee Meeting 1st December 2009]

The car park in Larkshall Road is in the news for two reasons. The first is that (in a move to assist local traders) parking will be free for up to two hours on Saturdays from 21st November 2009 until 2nd January 2010. The following link points to an article in the Waltham Forest Guardian which explains the background: Free Xmas Saturdays

The second reason is that we understand that the planning application to develop the car park goes before planning committee on 1st December 2009. This application covers the car park and some adjacent land. It involves some dense housing, loss of green space, and loss of some parking spaces. Some public parking will be retained and the footpath to the station will be preserved. The Forum has objected to the development on the following grounds:

- Loss of car parking spaces. The car park is needed, as there is considerable commuter traffic to Highams Park station. The car park could be run more effectively if daily fees were reduced so that commuters use it rather than residential streets in the area. It is possible that total income for the car park would increase if carefully managed.

- Protection of the 'green corridor' and wildlife.

- Excessive density of the proposed homes.

 

 


12Nov: Tesco - Mayor Boris Johnson's decision

 

12th November 2009 (Updated 12th December 2009 - link to doc added)
Tesco - Mayor Boris Johnson's Decision

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has given his decision on the Tesco Development proposal in a letter to LBWF dated 10th November 2009. The key part of the letter reads as follows:

**** Start Quote ****
Having now considered a report on these cases (our references PCU/2162/02 and 2162a/02, copy enclosed), I am content to allow Waltham Forest Council to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take, and do not therefore wish to direct refusal or to take over the application for my own determination

I have taken the environmental information made available to date into consideration in formulating my decision.
**** End Quote ****

The full text of the Mayor's letter and accompanying report is available from the link below (but be warned that the file size is large - approaching 2 MB). You might want to right-click the link below and select "Save Target As..." to download the file and save it to your PC for viewing locally.
Mayor's decision letter and report (1.84MB)

The Mayor explains his thinking further in a letter to GLA member Jennette Arnold here:
Mayor's letter to Jennette Arnold (09DEC09)

The proposal now has to go to the Government Office of London (GOL) for their approval. This is the Secretary of State's approval referred to in the letter from Boris Johnson. The Forum continues to lobby GOL with the serious concerns of local residents.

 

 


09Nov: Highams Park chosen for super fast broadband trial

 

9th November 2009
Highams Park chosen for Super Fast Broadband Trial

We understand that British Telecom has chosen Highams Park as the first location in the UK to trial the roll out of its super fast broadband service into an established community (rather than a new town). This service uses "Fibre To The Premises" technology, where fibre optic cables are run all the way into homes and businesses instead of using traditional copper cables. This approach removes the technical limitations associated with providing fast broadband over copper.

There is an interesting article about the trial here: Highams Park Fibre Trial

 

 


13Oct: Tesco - Result of the reconvened Council Planning Committee Meeting

 

13th October 2009
Tesco - Result of the reconvened Council Planning Committee Meeting

The Council Planning Committee Meeting to decide on the Tesco Proposal reconvened as planned this evening (13th October). The committee comprises 9 councillors in total (8 members plus the chair). The vote was 5 votes for and 4 against. As a result the committee decided narrowly in favour of the Tesco development.

The proposal now has to go to the Government Office of London (GOL) and to the Mayor of London for their approval. The Forum will express its views to these bodies. The previous Tesco proposal was approved by LBWF planning committee but was "called in" by the GOL and a Public Inquiry was held. It was as a result of this Public Inquiry that the Secretary of State turned down the previous application.

The 8th Sept meeting of the planning committee had deferred a decision pending more detail from officers on a number of issues including traffic. The Forum took this opportunity to prepare a detailed presentation, including diagrams and statistics, spelling out the traffic problems which it believes Tesco and Council traffic consultants have not properly taken account of. A paper copy of the presentation was given to all planning committee members on 29th Sept. An electronic version was emailed to these committee members, and to councillors in the nearby wards, on 5th Oct.

The Forum's Traffic Presentation is here: Traffic Presentation (525KB)
The file size of the document is quite large so you might want to right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download the file and save it to your PC for viewing locally.

A number of planning committee members expressed concern about potential traffic problems but it is possible that a council officer's statement at the meeting that there would be an "acceptable level of congestion" swayed some of the committee members.

 

 


09Sep: Tesco - Result of the Council Planning Committee Meeting

 

9th September 2009 (Updated 30th September 2009)
Tesco - Result of the Council Planning Committee Meeting

The Council Planning Committee Meeting to decide on the Tesco Proposal took place as planned last night (8th September). The result is slightly confusing for those expecting a straight yes/no answer.

An attendee reported the events as follows: "It was a fairly heated meeting with virtually all the public against. Before the Committee had a chance to discuss the proposals in detail, a motion to defer a decision was passed 5 to 4. They were asking for more details of the traffic, need and retail assessments to be provided in the officers report."

We are not sure what this will mean in practice. We don't know when it will go back to Committee and after all the delays Tesco might decide to Appeal against non-determination, taking it out of the Council's hands. When we understand the situation better we will post an update here.

11th Sept: We now understand that the decision when to reconvene the meeting is likely to be taken at the 29th September meeting and that a possible date to reconvene would be 13th October.

30th Sept: We understand that it has been confirmed that the Tesco application is going back to committee at the next ordinary meeting of the planning committee i.e. 13th October.

 

 


04Sep: Tesco - Run up to Council Planning Meeting

 

4th September 2009
Tesco - Run up to Council Planning Meeting - Officers recommend approval

The council planning committee meeting to decide on the Tesco proposal will take place on Tuesday 8th September at 7:30pm in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall in Forest Road.

The agenda and all the paperwork can be seen on the council website by following the link below. If you click on the heading for item 41 (a typo for "4.1") it will display the 78 page report from council officers giving their considered analysis of the proposal and the feedback they have received from residents. The report recommends that the planning committee grant approval (with some conditions). The actual decision will be taken by the councillors on the planning committee.
Planning Committee details and documents

The Waltham Forest Guardian reported on the 2nd Sept public meeting here:
WF Guardian report on Public Meeting

 

 


31Aug: Tesco - IDS Public Meeting planned for 02SEP09

 

31st August 2009
Tesco -
Public Meeting with Iain Duncan-Smith arranged for Wednesday 2nd September

A public meeting, chaired by MP Iain Duncan Smith, has been organised to debate the Tesco proposal. The meeting will be held on Wednesday 2nd September at 7pm for 7:30 start at Highams Park School in Handsworth Avenue. All are welcome.

 

 


14Aug: Tesco - Groups encourage residents to express their views

 

14th August 2009
Tesco - Residents' groups encourage residents to express their views

Residents' groups are encouraging all residents to make sure that the council knows their views on the Tesco proposal to build a large store and housing on the site of the former C&A warehouse in Larkshall Road by the junction with The Broadway. The council Planning Committee meeting to decide on this proposal is set for 8th September 2009, and the council take every response into account, so every single view counts.

The residents groups have prepared posters and leaflets setting out what they believe are the main issues and they also give the necessary council contact details. The "Tesco Page" of this website has a full set of the materials produced by the groups. There are also artists' impressions and a diagram illustrating the height and shadows of the new building compared to existing buildings. All these documents can be found here: The Tesco page.

 

 


26Jul: Tesco site mulberry tree damaged by wind

 

26th July 2009
Tesco site mulberry tree damaged by wind

It is now confirmed that the council planning meeting to decide on the latest Tesco plans is scheduled to take place on 8th September 2009. Those plans include the relocation of a mulberry tree from one part of the site to a new square named after it ("Mulberry Green"). Unfortunately, the tree, laden with fruit, has recently suffered some wind damage.
See pictures on the "Seen locally" page here: Seen locally).

 

 


28Jun: Tesco - Confusion over likely date of planning meeting

 

28th June 2009 (Updated 5th July 2009)
Confusion over likely date of Tesco planning meeting

The latest set of plans for the proposed Tesco development on the old C&A site in Larkshall Road are expected to be presented to LBWF planning committee soon. The exact date is unclear however. A recent report in the Waltham Forest Guardian suggested that Tesco were hoping the proposal would be considered at a meeting on 21st July, but council officers have said that there are still important matters outstanding and that 18th August is more realistic. This revelation has generated some concern since many parties want to speak at the meeting and the August date is in the middle of the holiday season. As a result, residents and councillors are requesting the meeting should not take place until September at the earliest.

Update (5th July): We are advised that the meeting is likely to take place on 8th September.

 

 


15Jun: Shoppers' parking

 

15th June 2009
Shoppers' parking - New arrangements at Station Car Park

The Forum understands that NCP, who run the small station car park next to The Avenue, have agreed to make the car park available to shoppers at weekends (when commuters are not using it). They will be charging £1 an hour and will be installing ticket machines shortly. The idea of using this car park for shoppers is clearly a good idea but only time will tell if the proposed charge will put people off.

 

 


26Apr: Replacement of gas mains - Extensive road works planned

 

26th April 2009
Replacement of gas mains - Extensive road works planned

The Waltham Forest Guardian website reported (on 16th April 2009) that a major project will commence very shortly in our area to replace all the existing iron gas pipes with modern plastic ones. This will involve major road works to all roads in our area from now until May 2010.

The timetable for the works attempts to minimise disruption by not excavating adjacent roads at the same time. The Guardian website published a list of roads and the scheduled start and end dates for the works. Unfortunately the data is hard to read on that website. We have reproduced the data here, in three sequences. First in the order shown in the Guardian website (showing adjacent roads together), then in street name order, and then in order of start date. We hope you will find this useful. Please click the links below.

Original Order
Street Name Order
Start Date Order

 

 


10Mar: Proposal details available

 

10th March 2009
Controversial road humps proposal - The Details

The news item below regarding road humps was an early notification of the proposal. Full details are now available on the LBWF website and also in Hale End Library in Castle Ave (where a comments box is provided). This is the start of the public consultation period which ends Friday 27th March 2009. Residents in the area concerned should have received a questionnaire through their letterbox. It is important that impacted residents express their views to the council officers since every comment counts. The officers will tally up votes for and against and will use this to justify whether to proceed with the scheme or not and whether to alter the scheme.

As stated below, the scheme contains a large number of proposals but probably the most controversial is the creation of a total of 20 bump-up bump-down obstacles in just 5 roads: Castle Ave, Handsworth Ave, Church Ave, Gordon Ave and Falmouth Ave.

Details of the scheme on the LBWF website are here: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/traffic-schemes

If you have not received a questionnaire contact Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000 or
email: traffic.scheme@walthamforest.gov.uk quoting the "Falmouth Avenue/The Charter Road Area" scheme.

 

 


28Feb: Controversial proposal

 

28th February 2009
Controversial proposal for large number of road humps in NE Highams Park

The news item dated 17th October 2008 (below) reported on an initial proposal by council officers to create a 20MPH speed limit zone in the North East corner of Highams Park. This proposal has now been developed further and in the new version a large number of physical traffic calming measures have been added. More details will be given here when available but the most controversial part of the proposal is likely to be the inclusion of 16 humps, 3 tables and one raised crossing. This is a total of 20 bump-up bump-down obstacles in a very small area. All these obstacles are concentrated in just 5 roads: Castle Ave, Handsworth Ave, Church Ave, Gordon Ave and Falmouth Ave. We understand that the proposals will go for public consultation in the near future.

 

 


20Jan: The Avenue Car Club proposal

 

20th January 2009
Pay-as-you-drive Car Club proposal - Car based in The Avenue

LBWF is seeking views on the Council's proposals to provide a car club parking place on The Avenue outside number 38a. The proposal explains:

"Car clubs are a pay-as-you-drive alternative to owning a car. The scheme gives members the benefit of clean, modern and reliable cars without the full costs of car ownership. Car clubs provide a cheaper alternative to owning a vehicle, particularly if your mileage is less than around 7,000 miles a year. A car club vehicle can replace a second car or delay the purchase of a new or replacement vehicle. Providing car clubs in your street can help to reduce parking pressure; studies have shown that one car club vehicle can replace between four and eight privately owned cars."

Further details of the council's proposal can be found here:
www.walthamforest.gov.uk/the-avenue.pdf [Update: Sorry, this link is now dead]

Further information on car clubs can be found on the websites:
http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/pages/servicechild/car-clubs.aspx
and www.carclubs.org.uk

 

 


19Jan: River Walk tidy-up

 

19th January 2009
River Walk tidy up - Years of accumulated rubbish removed

Yesterday, members of the Highams Park Forum and Highams Park Society performed a tidy-up of the footpath known as River Walk which runs between Winchester Road and Beech Hall Road, beside the Ching and under the railway.

Although the footpath is swept regularly, the greenery to the sides of the path has accumulated a large amount of rubbish over the years. The volunteers removed 13 bags of rubbish and this has made a huge difference. A small amount remains (which was out of reach) but we'll try to arrange its removal too. Users of the path commented appreciatively on the transformation.
 

 

 

 


For older news, click here: News in 2008
For news archive, click here: News archive
 

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