At a local event, a puzzled visitor spoke to me and expressed confusion over the different residents' organisations (all with similar names) in Highams Park. I tried to explain, but as I did so it struck me too how confusing it was. The visitor laughed and said it was a bit like Monty Python's Life of Brian where there are numerous organisations based on rearranging the words "The People's Liberation Front of Judea" (or is it "The Judean People's Liberation Front").......[you need to have seen it to think this is funny !]
So here is our attempt at an explanation (no laughing at the back !):
There are six key residents' organisations in Highams Park. Each has a different origin and a different focus. Some people are members of more than one, and the organisations work closely on common issues. The organisations are listed below with a brief explanation and they all welcome new members.
The Highams Park Forum
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. Meetings are relatively informal committee style affairs with about 10 - 20 attendees from across the whole of Highams Park and are structured so there is a chance for everyone to have their say. The Forum has a number of projects in progress as described on this website.
The Highams Park Society
The Highams Park Society sets its goal as "Helping Promote Community Life". It organises social events, lectures, exhibitions, working parties and also campaigns on issues affecting life in Highams Park. New members are always welcome.
It organises the very successful Highams Park Day each year.
The Society has is own website which can be found here:
On that site will be found a copy of its regular newsletter "The Park" giving details of details and a description of current and future activities of the Society.
The Highams Park Planning Group
The Highams Park Planning Group is a large group of residents (1000+ members) creating a plan for the future of all aspects of Highams Park. Highams Park was successful in a bid to central government for £20k of funding to assist residents in creating the plan. A small group of residents from the HP Forum & HP Society organised initial events to garner support for the idea and to sign up residents to take part.
Following the launch events, work formally started in January 2014, and the large group has been working on the task of creating the plan and bringing its proposals to life. The group operates independently from the HP Forum & HP Society but liaises closely with both. It is also establishing contacts with other relevant organisations in the area.
As at May 2017, the draft plan has been completed and has been submitted to LBWF for review and formal consultation. This is the first step in getting the plan formally adopted into planning law.
The Planning Group has its own website, here: www.highamsparkplan.org
Please follow that link for more information. New members wishing to get involved are always welcome. Please get in touch with the group via the "Contact" and "Join us" links on their site.
Higham's Residents' Association
Higham's Residents' Association was founded in 1955 to represent residents' from the estate on the East side of Highams Park - originally the Highams Warner Estate. It represents residents' interests in general but also focuses particularly upon planning matters affecting the estate. The association has its own website here: www.highamsra.org.uk
Membership is open to all residents in:
Crealock Grove, Henry's Avenue, Keynsham Avenue, Lichfield Road, Marion Grove, Mason Road, Montalt Road, Nesta Road, Tamworth Avenue, and The Charter Road,
together with other residents in the neighbourhood who have interests in common with the Association. Almost 100% of the households in the designated area are members.
The Highams Park Residents Association
The Highams Park Residents Association was initially formed to address problems relating to the operation of the Bar, Night Club and Snooker Club in the old Regal Cinema building. As a result, its membership is focused on residents in the vicinity of that building (viz, Beach Hall Road and Hale End Road). The organisation has branched out to tackle other issues in Highams Park and has recently been responsible for the installation of the hanging baskets around the centre.
The organisation operates with a core committee and larger gatherings of the full membership.
Friends of The Highams Park
"The Highams Park" is the confusingly named area of open parkland to the east of Highams Park lake.
Friends of The Highams Park is a group of local volunteers who work with the Council's Greenspace team. Through this partnership, park users get a greater say in what goes on in The Highams Park and can help in improving different aspects of the park. This may take place in the form of promoting the park, helping with conservation tasks, organising local community events, fundraising and much more. The Friends group also help to care for the park and are be involved in improving areas such as the appearance, facilities and safety.
The group meets regularly to discuss improvements to the amenities of the park. The Friends also work closely with the Epping Forest authorities concerning the adjoining area around the Highams Park lake.