L & Q Wins Race

Walthamstow Assembly Hall played host to a special Planning Committee tonight with celebrity racing pundit, John McCririck, joining hundreds of local residents and Save Our Stow campaigners to oppose London & Quadrant’s proposals.

After a tortuous four hours the four Labour Councillors (Cllr Pete Barnett, Cllr Jenny Gray, Cllr Ebony Vincent & Cllr Asim Mahmood) outvoted the two Conservatives (Cllr Alan Siggers & Cllr Ed Northover) and the solitary Lib Dem (Cllr Liz Phillips) giving L & Q the go ahead for their ludicrous scheme which does not meet any of the Councils own targets. Interestingly, it was noted that Cllrs Gray, Vincent and Mahmood needed to take their cue when voting from Chair Cllr Pete Barnett who in turn kept looking towards the Councillor formerly responsible for housing and planning, Cllr Marie Pye, who was in the audience.

The standard of the debate from those opposing L & Q’s plans was extremely high. Not so from the highly paid L & Q staff (who described their organisation as a charity) nor, bar one, Waltham Forest’s elected Councillors!

The merits for and against this development can be easily found elsewhere.

We are more interested in the fact that democracy had been given short shrift tonight by an ‘accountable’ charitable and our Labour run Council whose political interests are more important than that of the community it supposedly serves.

We understand that an irate Labour supporter challenged Cllr Pete Barnett to resign so as they could both contest the seat in a by-election. Cllr Pete Barnett is reported to have replied “You can challenge me in 2014”. (Privately, it is rumoured that Cllr Barnett and his partner Cllr Angie Bean will not be standing for election in 2014).

Sadly, Waltham Forest is now being run by a Labour Party clique who lacks vision and has lost contact with its own supporters and residents. The opposition….what opposition!!!

Waltham Forest’s residents need to challenge the political incestuous allegiances by either putting up or supporting candidates in the 2014 local elections who will put community first.

Advertisements

Brown Envelopes

Politicians’ promises of transparency juxtaposes the reality of their actions. However, it is not actually transparency itself that is the most important thing. Transparency concerns us because it has a purpose. The purpose of transparency is accountability.

So it’s no surprise to hear that those accountable to us, Waltham Forest council and the Greater London Authority (GLA), have been negotiating behind the scenes to secure a pledge from property developer, London & Quadrant, of £1.75 million for improvements at Waltham Forest Pool & Track if it builds a residential estate at Walthamstow Stadium.

Two publicly funded organisations secretly negotiating with another publicly funded organisation to secure £1.75 million of taxpayers money as a ‘sweetener’ in return for guaranteed planning permission! Is there a connection to Councillor Marie Pye’s removal from her cabinet job for housing after her persistent denials that she was in secret talks with London & Quadrant?

Now, lets suppose the millionaire behind the Save Our Stow campaign was in similar secret discussions. He would undoubtedly be accused of bribery which could result in criminal charges.

The bottom line seems that ‘brown envelopes’ from publicly funded property developers is acceptable.

If, or rather when, London & Quadrant gets planning permission, even though a GLA report states that L&Q’s proposals do not

On balance…comply with the London Plan

it should be subject to Waltham Forest’s Section 106 policy. (Click here for general definition of Section 106).

Our fear is that that this deal will severley jeopardize the quota for affordable housing and valuable funding for infrastature (health provision, roads and schools) in and around The Stow to cover up the Waltham Forest Labour Party’s shortsightedness and ineptitude of not securing Olympic funding for Waltham Forest Pool & Track and the lack of meaningful regeneration in our borough.

The only transparency offered by the Waltham Forest Labour Party is that of its commitment to dodgy deals in the hope of electoral success at the next local elections.

Freedom of Religious Expression

Cllr Akram has refused to say why he intervened over plans to expand a mosque saying “he would detail his reasons during the planning committee meeting.”

In the planning application report Council officers state that

Councillor Akram requested Committee consideration of the
application, if officers were minded to refuse the scheme. No formal
comments have been received from Cllr Akram with his views on the
application.

Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental human right and is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, with rights come responsibilities. In the case of this planning application it seems Cllr Akram is quite happy to trample over the needs and wishes of local residents safe in the knowledge they have no recourse.

If this planning application is approved, ignoring Council officers sensible rationale and recommendations, then Cllr Akram and his Labour colleagues will rightly stand accused of cronyism.

Cllr Akram’s defense of religious expression seems to be limited though. He has not publicly condemned the death threats to a Leyton Imam,  Dr Shaykh Usama Hasan, or backed calls to protect the Imam and take action against those who threaten him with harm.

Build now & get permission later

For years unscrupulous developers have been laying down concrete on weekends or bank holidays and then putting in a planning application after the event. Developers do this in the knowledge that Councillors often have little choice but to give approval and currently, planning enforcement cannot commence whilst an application is pending.

Earlier this year a key Conservative election promise was to curtail the ability, of unscrupulous developers, to apply for retrospective planning permission. The Truth Will Out team hopes the coalition Government implements this promise as we feel that all retrospective planning applications should be refused to send a clear message to the unscrupulous developers not to circumnavigate the legal planning process.

However, its little wonder unscrupulous developers are comfortable with this practise when Waltham Forest Council partakes in the practise itself.

Next week the Councils Planning Committee will decide whether or not to grant permission for a mobile classroom and an adventure playground for disabled youngsters sought by the Children & Young Peoples Directorate.

Yes, you’ve guessed it the building work has already started according to information received by the Truth Will Out team and this is not the first time this part of the Council has acted this way.

Cllrs Loakes and Mahmud need to get their houses in order.