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.

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.