Redeveloping Waltham Forest: some experiences from the periphery

As a previous post indicates, LBWF is currently engaged in a major public-private programme to redevelop the borough. Much of the publicity about this programme centres on a few key hubs, principally Walthamstow. Far less is known about what’s happening elsewhere. So to rectify this situation, the following paragraphs focus on an unsung ward, Cann Hall, in the borough’s poorer south. First, some background. Cann Hall is not far from Stratford and the Olympic Park, and to some extent is beginning to share their glamour. Newcomers are flooding in, house prices are going up, and the old solidly working-class character of the area is changing fast. That is the upside, the staple of estate agents... »

Waltham Forest’s Safer Neighbourhoods Board and MOPAC funding: a scandal in the making

Previous posts have dealt in depth with the travails of the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhoods Board (WFSNB) – its inability to hold regular meetings, the incompleteness of its minutes, and the fact that it publicly named constituent members without asking their permission, or (bizarrely) even informing them that they had been signed up to serve. Now it emerges that there are major concerns about the way that the WFSNB has handled funding from the Mayor’s Officer for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). The story is as follows. Over the FYs 2015-16 and 2016-17, the WFSNB has (by its own lights) devoted a lot of time and energy to commissioning eight projects from third parties, using £78,000 of fund... »

LBWF CEO Martin Esom’s appointment to the Health and Safety Executive Board: a step far too far

In July of this year, LBWF CEO Martin Esom joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a part-time non-executive director – a post that entails approximately 30 days commitment per year for a remuneration of no less than £15,100 (that is £503 per day). The HSE obviously values Mr. Esom highly, with its press release citing, amongst other things, his background in environmental health, his succession of senior local authority positions, his MBA, and his chairing of the London Prevent Board. Yet locally, news of Mr. Esom’s appointment has been greeted with puzzlement, even derision. What fuels these reactions is the fact that in recent years LBWF has a distinctly poor health and safety rec... »

Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (6)

In mid-June, I contacted the Mayor’s Officer for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to inquire about whether it or LBWF had prime responsibility for the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhoods Board (WFSNB). A day or two ago, I received the reply pasted below. It is gratifying to learn that MOPAC to some extent validates the concerns which I have laid out in previous posts, and promises that in future the WFSNB will be encouraged to operate ‘in a more clear and transparent fashion’. The hope is that such change will occur sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, as of today, the WFSNB’s pages on the LBWF website show that its membership has been drastically cut, reduced from 25 one m... »

LBWF Leader Clare Coghill’s MIPIM muddle

In 2012, the Waltham Forest Guardian reported that councillors were finding the requirement that they fill in and then update their register of interest forms to be challenging. Some had missed out crucial details, with, for example, the Leader, Chris Robbins, neglecting to mention his family home. Others – incredibly – overlooked their party membership. A few had simply failed to keep their forms up to date. In response, LBWF stated that it was introducing ‘a new website’ which would ‘be easier to use, with less duplicated information’. On the quiet, it also trimmed what councillors in future had to declare. I was reminded of this amusing episode when compiling the previous post on LB... »

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