CLYDE KITSON – VETERAN LOCAL CAMPAIGNER

Clyde Kitson – campaigner for local people for many years

It is with great sorrow that we mourn the passing of Clyde Kitson, who lost his battle with cancer a few days ago..

Clyde was a Yorkshire man who moved to Waltham Forest over 40 years ago to pursue his career as a geography teacher. He never strayed far from education, serving as a governor of Buxton School for more than two decades.

Clyde was first elected as a Councillor for Cann Hall in 1982 and is credited with laying the foundations for the party’s future successes. He topped the polls on his first try and elected two other Liberal Councillors alongside him, turning a ward with a Labour majority of 712 into a ward with a Liberal majority of 213. An unprecedented turnaround and one which saw Cann Hall stay yellow for the next 36 years.

After serving as a Councillor for 20 years, sitting on a vast array of committees, Clyde retired from the Council in 2002. He never disengaged from local politics, serving as a governor of Buxton School and Chair of Governors for many years, he also served as Chair and Membership Officer of the local Liberal Democrats alongside a variety of other party roles. His most recent effort was to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the local elections just a month ago.

Clyde’s rough northern charm and booming voice made him an instantly recognisable character at meetings, and although people might have found themselves locking horns with him on occasion he was universally respected. He was a man of great detail, often taking on tasks so monotonous they would drive anyone else to despair, and a great believer in knuckling down and getting on with the job. Because of this, he was often a driving force within the party; spurring us on to go the extra mile.

Clyde had Cann Hall in his blood and dedicated most of his time to trying to make Cann Hall a better place for the people who live there. Many residents know Clyde for his unrelenting work, and his stubbornness in not resting until a problem was solved. In ways big and small Clyde left Cann Hall a better place than he found it, and for that reason is an inspiration to all of us who want to see our communities flourish.

FAROOQ QURESHI

Farooq Qureshi

The Liberal Democrats are utterly devastated at the passing of former Waltham Forest Councillor Farooq Qureshi.

Farooq served as a Councillor for Forest ward from 2004 to 2014.

Many will remember him as their friendly and approachable local Councillor who was always happy to stop and chat, and to whom no problem was ever too small.

Farooq also served as Mayor of Waltham Forest from 2006 to 2007 and used the opportunity to raise funds to upport the cardiology unit at Whipps Cross Hospital amongst many other worthy causes.

To Farooq, being a Councillor was not a title. It was a commitment and one which he took very seriously, and with a genuine compassion for the people he represented. He carried out his role with humility and truly invested himself in those who had trusted him to be their Councillor.

Farooq’s achievements as a Councillor are far too numerous to list and many of them are small and personal because to Farooq being a Councillor was not about grand investments, or bids and schemes, it was about people and the little things we can all do every day to improve the lives of the people we share our community with.

Farooq has been a calming presence and a role model to many within the Liberal Democrats, and his absence will be sorely missed by those who were fortunate enough to experience his wisdom and good humour, and by those with problems big or small who found in Farooq a sympathetic ear and a man who would not stop until every avenue to solve their problem had been exhausted.

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and worked with him.

Celebrating Carers Week (11-17 June)

Carers Week (11-17 June) is an annual awareness campaign to bring caring right out into the open – recognising and celebrating the contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.

This Carers Week we want to draw attention to the brilliant local carers in our area who work tirelessley, often without recognition or support.

Across the UK right now are around 6.5 million carers, looking after elderly, disabled or unwell, family and friends. As our population ages and people live longer, more and more of us will find ourselves becoming carers for those close to us. Many people don’t identify themselves as carers, they feel they are just doing what anyone else would so they don’t always know what support is available to them!

This Carers Week, caring charities like Carers UK are coming together with local communities to make sure carers stay Healthy and Connected. Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience, enriching relationships and bringing satisfaction and wellbeing. However, the hours of care that the 6.5 million carers provide for ill, seriously ill or disabled loved ones often comes at a cost to their own health and wellbeing. All of us, wherever we live, whatever we do, have a part to play. 

If you want to find out more, or help support carers week by running a local event then have a look at the links below.

If you’re reading this as a carer then thank you!

Check out Carers UK here.

Get involved with Carers Week to raise awareness for local carers here.

MS Awareness Week 23-29 April

23-29 April 2018 is MS week, which is a chance for us all to do our bit to raise awareness and money to make sure no one has to fight MS alone.

MS is a neurological life long condition which affects your brain, spinal chord and central nervous system. As a result MS can create many different symptoms, and is different for every patient.

Of the over 100,000 UK sufferers of MS almost three times as many are women than men. Typically people are diagnosed with the condition in their 20s and 30s.

If you want to learn more about MS click here. 

If you want to get involved and be Bold In Blue to raise money and awareness click here. 

School meals in line for Conservative cuts

Changes to Universal Credit mean nearly 1million poorer children will lose out on a free nutritious meal at lunch – costing parents £400 a year.

Free school meals were brought in as one of a series of new investments in our schools by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition. Now they are being cut by the Conservatives.

The policy has been a huge success, improving school outcomes for local children. In fact the policy has not just improved outcomes for the families and children that receive free dinners, but all across school classes. The free nutritional lunches have been linked with better concentration as well as better health. The policy also saves some of Britain’s poorer families over £400 each year.

Commenting Liberal Democrat schools spokesperson Layla Moran MP said, “Ensuring every child has a nutritious meal during the school day is incredibly important, helping to ensure they thrive at school and get the most from their lessons.”

These changes come in the wake of broken promises on free school breakfasts for every child. A promise that was popular and central to the Conservatives failed General Election gamble.

BRITISH SUMER TIME – 25 MARCH

This Sunday, 25 March, The UK will switch to British Summer Time (BST) at 1am on Sunday morning, meaning people will effectively lose an hour’s sleep. The change, also known as daylight saving time, will mean there is more daylight in the evenings but less in the mornings.

Local campaigner Bob Sullivan said, “Most electronic devices these days will change the time for you, so you’ve no need to worry but I want to make sure residents do not miss that extra hour.”

“Evenings will become noticeably lighter across Leytonstone.”

When changing your clocks manually, it is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarm.

He added, “Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your loved ones’ lives as well as your own.”

“Early detection of fires saves lives and can reduce damage to house and contents. Smoke alarms provide the best early warning system in the event of a fire by combining smoke detection and alarm sounding in one unit. Statistics show that fewer deaths or serious injuries occur in households where smoke alarms are installed and maintained.”

For further information on these lifesaving devices go to http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/smoke-alarms

 

DUSTBIN COLLECTIONS OVER CHRISTMAS

Christmas service changes

The Council has advised that refuse/recycling collections will be one day later than usual for the week after Christmas.

Regular scheduled collection day Changed collection day
Monday 26 December Tuesday 27 December
Tuesday 27 December Wednesday 28 December
Wednesday 28 December Thursday 29 December
Thursday 29 December Friday 30 December
Friday 30 December Saturday 31 December

WILL WALTHAM FOREST TENANTS GET A REFUND OF THE WATER CHARGE?

In March of this year Southwark Council lost a High Court case on water charges which could affect councils all over London including Waltham Forest.  Councils collect payment for water and sewerage services from tenants on behalf of Thames Water and in return the councils receive a commission fee.

The High Court found Southwark Council should have passed on any savings to tenants, as they were technically reselling water services. Southwark has already announced that they have “decided not to appeal the decision,” and are refunding current and past tenants up to £700.

Waltham Forest should do the same.

Waltham Forest Council say they accept that establishing the legality of a practice is a matter for the Courts. Yet instead of refunding people straight away, they are still ganging up with other councils to hire “an external firm and a barrister” to give them legal advice on what to do.

The local Liberal Democrats believe that Waltham Forest Council should follow Southwark’s example and refund their tenants without further delay.

 

HOW HIGH CAN WE ALLOW DEVELOPERS TO BUILD?

Focus has previously reported on the massive high rise flat developments in Waltham Forest.

Forest Ward Focus Team members were with residents at the Planning Committee when the Council agreed the over development of buildings, of up to 18 storeys, in Lea Bridge Road.

Only recently Leyton Focus Team member Bob Sullivan and residents spoke against the 16 storey block at the end of Dunedin Road.

It appears that developers are having a field day as the Council continually agree the building of unaffordable multi high rise flats in the borough.

The latest plan submitted by the owners of the Mall shopping centre in Walthamstow is to build four blocks including one of 27 storeys!  Currently local residents have presented a 2,000 plus petition to the Council in protest against the plans. If you would like to support the local residents then contact ‘Save Walthamstow Town Centre’ on line: SAVE OUR TOWN CENTRE

Focus says:  In our experience the Labour Council never listens to residents and carries on agreeing the over development of every bit of land for multi high rise unaffordable flats.

LIB DEMS CALL FOR IMPROVED SAFETY MEASURES

Redbridge Cllr Gwyneth Deakins with London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon outside the Assembly Building

CAMPAIGNERS have submitted a petition they hope will address “critical” safety issues at one of London’s most notorious traffic hotspots.

Roding ward Cllr Gwyneth Deakins met with her Liberal Democrat colleague Caroline Pidgeon at City Hall on July 26 to hand over her petition to improve safety measures at Charlie Brown’s Roundabout in South Woodford.

As chairman of the London Assembly’s transport committee, Cllr Deakins is hopeful Ms Pidgeon’s input will finally mean better safety at the notorious A406/M11 junction, which has seen resident complaints for over 20 years.

She said:

The 1970s infrastructure of the junction just isn’t good enough – it can’t cope with the volume and speed of 21st century traffic.

There are accidents there all the time and every time I see a cyclist cross it fills me with complete dread.

Transport for London say they are going to do something, but when we were in the same position eight years ago, the then-Mayor Boris Johnson dropped the plans.

The petition, which has collected over 500 signatures online and by post, calls for more pedestrian and cycling crossings and possible changes in traffic signalling.

Cllr Deakins added that the planned expansion of Nightingale Primary School in Ashbourne Avenue and numerous housing estates due to be built in South Woodford as part of the Redbridge Local Plan make swift action “critically important”.

More and more kids have to use Charlie Brown’s to get to schools like Oakdale, Beal, Woodbridge and Nightingale, so no action is putting their safety at risk.

The W14 also regularly drops families and elderly people off at the junction, who if they chose not to get a connecting bus, are left to fend for themselves crossing the road.

And with all the housing developments proposed for South Woodford in the Local Plan, it’s critically important improved safety measures are implemented as soon as possible.

Redbridge Council supported Cllr Deakins’ motion to commit to improving connectivity between proposed housing developments near the roundabout as part of the its 2015-2030.

London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge Keith Prince said he was happy to back the petition.

As Assembly Member and deputy Chairman of the Transport Committee at City Hall I am happy to take up this issue.

I use the junction on a regular basis so I know it can be a bit of a nightmare for pedestrians, and it’s not much fun for drivers and cyclists either, as it’s so hazardous.

I agree that something needs to be done.

The petition, which can be viewed online, will be formally handed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan next month.

His office has been contacted for comment.