The Labour Left in Waltham Forest: neither use nor ornament

As anyone close to the action readily will tell you (if only off the record), Labour in Waltham Forest is split down the middle. Labour Party One consists of Walthamstow MP, Dr. Stella Creasy, the LBWF Cabinet, the great majority of rank and file councillors, and their respective retinues amongst the membership. In contrast, Labour Party Two is all about self-styled ‘activists’, and comprises a ragbag of Momentum and other Corbynistas, Palestine Solidarity Campaign veterans, identarians of various hues, the inevitable gaggle of entryists from the far-left fringe, and similar camp followers. What’s more, these two distinct entities are at daggers drawn, forever on the brink of all-out war. To... »

LBWF and fire safety at Northwood Tower: yet more jiggery-pokery?

The antics of LBWF never cease to amaze and (for those who appreciate dark humour) amuse. A fresh example has just emerged. In the last few years, fire safety at the 21 floor, 99 flat, Northwood Tower in Walthamstow has been a cause for concern.  Thus, when LBWF’s agent, Ridge, carried out a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) for 2018-19, it identified the need for 65 remedial measures, and assessed the building to be at ‘substantial risk’, meaning ‘Improvements should be undertaken urgently’. A year later, Ridge had gone, to be replaced by the controversial S3 Environmental (see previous posts), and it was the latter that carried out the next FRA, to cover 2019-20. As S3 Environmental saw it, the ‘... »

Fire safety at LBWF’s Northwood Tower in Walthamstow: a further chapter in a long-running and dismal story

From August 2017 onwards, the Waltham Forest Echo journalist Michelle Edwards has repeatedly warned about the perilous state of fire safety measures at Walthamstow’s 21 floor Northwood Tower. Shocked by these revelations, this blog, too, has looked at Northwood, in particular scrutinising the Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) reports between 2014 and 2018, and supported Ms. Edwards’ judgement that (a) the overall fire risk at the block has remained unacceptably high, and (b) exactly the same failings have been noted, again and again, casting doubt on LBWF’s appetite for effective remedial work (see references below). A newly released FRA report, completed by LBWF’s agent S3 Environmental and finali... »

LBWF and COVID-19 (3)

With the passage of time, there is growing clarity about how LBWF has been affected by COVID-19, and to what extent the impact is being mitigated by special support received from the government. The first discussion of these important issues occurred in late April, when a report on them was debated by Cabinet. LBWF officers had produced 15 initial estimates of the possible gross damage (i.e. the damage disregarding any extra government assistance) which played with various assumptions about the pandemic’s likely length and the size of the extra demand for social care, and concluded that the range would be of the order £16,484,600 to £50,715,700. Figures quoted in the covering paper focused o... »

LBWF and its Freedom of Information Act failings: now the Information Commissioner’s Office directly intervenes UPDATED

Past posts have covered LBWF’s increasingly unsatisfactory record in handling Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiries – its delays, illegitimate evasions, ignorance of the legal framework, and so on. However, at last there is some good news, because the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to meet with LBWF Chief Executive, Martin Esom, shortly to discuss ‘the numerous [ICO] decision notices that have been highly critical of…[LBWF]FOI practices over the last 12-18 months and what the council need to do to improve their information rights practices and procedures moving forward’. This of course is an unusual step to take, and is an embarrassment for both the extravagantly paid Mr. Esom a... »

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