LOCAL PHARMACIES UNDER THREAT!

Save Our Local Pharmacies Campaign

Local pharmacies under threat from the latest Conservative cuts to the national health budget.
This Government’s real terms cash cuts to pharmacies across the UK could be about to take their toll. The Lib Dems don’t as yet know what pharmacy used by hundreds of local people is facing closure, cutting off lifeline services for many elderly and vulnerable residents.

Local Campaigner John Howard says,

“For many people the trip to get vital medicines from the pharmacy is long enough already.”

“Cutting money to local pharmacies is nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. It will only increase the strain on hospitals and GP’s practices at a time when the NHS is already in enough trouble.”

The £170million reduction in NHS funding for community pharmacies will put pharmacies across Waltham Forest out of business too.

Local community pharmacies are vital to keep older frail people independent. These people need to be at the heart of our community, on our high streets, with people. In the community rather than in our hospitals.

You can sign our petition here and join hundreds of local people who are already backing the campaign.

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.

OLYMPIC PARK – PLANNING APPLICATIONS UPDATE

This is an update on the Olympic Legacy item

In one month exactly the committee in charge of reviewing the Concrete Batching applications is scheduled to convene and make its decision, which is likely to affect tens of thousands of East London residents.

The plans have generated a massive and highly justified public uproar: nearly 10,000 citizens have signed this petition, and Objection Letters are pouring in to the LLDC website from developers, borough representatives and members of the public alike.

OPCRD has also submitted this week their own *OFFICIAL* Objection Document – in the name of everyone affected and everyone that have signed this petition. It is a 40-page long review of all of the projects’ momentous documentation. The objection document summarizes and pinpoints all the many procedural improprieties, data omissions, implausible assumptions and shabby ‘survey’ work that was handed in to the LLDC by the applicants.

Read OPCRD’s objection, and see for yourself just what a mockery the applicants have made of the application process: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/opcrd/objection.pdf

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (who’s office has informed us that he “doesn’t have the authority to get involved”), was elected on a wave of big promises about ‘Clean air for Londoners’, and the need to clean and strengthen the weaker boroughs, more affected by pollution than other. So we thought he might want to see this video, shot 27 August afternoon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlSdvBm7MKk (also at www.opcrd.org)

This is not a massive fire or the aftermath of an explosion – it’s simply a gigantic dust cloud spreading across Newham, carrying huge amounts of harmful particulate matter (PM. This concrete batching plant in this video is located less than 50 meters from where the additional 3 (!!!) are planned to be located…

Now is NOT a time to become complacent about this – share, engage and support, or these plans WILL become reality in exactly 1 month!

 

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH POST BREXIT

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PETITION

Finding a cure to cancer. Saving the planet from climate change. Sending Tim Peake to space. All of these depend on European funding and co-operation.

But Brexit will seriously endanger cross-European science co-operation – a disaster for British science, and a disaster for so many of the projects that will bring us a better future.

Sign the petition ▶

The Liberal Democrats are fighting back with a petition to save our science research from the blow of Brexit, by campaigning for guarantees to continued European funding and co-operation.

But, we don’t have long to get as many signatures as possible before our scientists take our petition to David Davis.

Sign the petition ▶

If we succeed, British scientists will stay at the front of international spaceflight, combating climate change and curing cancer.

OLYMPIC PARK – SO MUCH FOR LEGACY!!

Last year a planning application was submitted for the creation of London’s largest concrete and asphalt factory – right at the centre of the Olympic Park, and in the middle of a dense residential area.

This development would have a dramatic impact on the local area and residents, creating 3 concrete batching plants and an Asphalt production plant adjacent to a heavily used green space.

The proposed plants, which will be next door to London Athletics and the new UCL East campus, are to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an estimated 900 heavy vehicles coming and going daily.

This will create an industrial blight on the area by introducing significant air, dust and noise pollution to what is otherwise a fast regenerating part of the city.

The planning applications have been submitted as four (4) wholly independent operations, without consideration given to their cumulative effects on an area now defined by new residential communities, pedestrian and cycling routes, recreational zones and athletics venues. There is a serious risk that hazardous chemical dust from concrete and asphalt manufacturing activities and associated vehicle fumes will raise air pollution to dangerous levels, resulting in asthma and other respiratory issues for the populations of Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The full applications can be found on LLDC’s planning website at http://planningregister.londonlegacy.co.uk/swift/apas/run/wphappcriteria.display : PA Refs: 15/00368/FUL / 15/00400/FUL / 15/00414/FUL / 16/00194/SCRES].

The proposal is scheduled for review before the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) planning committee as early as September 27th 2016. The LLDC was given special powers and a remit directly from the Mayor’s office to manage the Olympic Park area regeneration beyond 2012.

The LLDC is not directly accountable to local residents in the same way that the councils of Newham, Tower Hamlets or Hackney are. Consequently, the decision making of the LLDC will not always be in the interests of local residents. And it is the LLDC alone that has the final decision on whether this concrete batching development goes ahead.

The proposal of the concrete works is completely incompatible with the Mayor’s office ‘Clean Air for London Policy‘ or the current direction of residential and other developments planned for the area.

In order to protect the integrity and future development of the community, it is of paramount importance that a concerted effort be made by local residents and businesses to oppose this planning proposal NOW.

Please sign the petition today.

CHILCOT REPORT – Proud of my party for leading the way

Today is a day for reflection, as we consider the consequences of the fateful decision to go to war in Iraq.

Our first thoughts need to be with the families across the world who have grieved loved ones, experienced life-changing injuries, and witnessed destruction and despair often beyond description.

There is no justice that can compensate their loss, and today we have learned from the Chilcot Report what we all knew already in our hearts – it did not have to be this way.

Lib Dems were united in our opposition to war

For many members in my local party, the Iraq war was a genuine turning point.

Many others chose to join the Liberal Democrats when they saw Charles Kennedy step up to the challenge, in difficult times, and provide the strong, principled leadership our country so desperately needed.

In 2003, every Liberal Democrat MP voted AGAINST going to war in Iraq.

It was the right thing to do, and that has been proven again today. Sir John Chilcot’s report has shown that this was a war of choice, that options for a peaceful resolution still existed, and that our Prime Minister wilfully mislead parliament and the British people to march us into a war he had already decided to launch.

I was proud to see our leader Charles Kennedy refuse to compromise, despite enormous pressure and abuse pouring in from all sides, on the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to internationalism and respect for international law.

Charles Kennedy and Lynne Featherstone (Lib Dem MPs at the time) opposing the war

You can see Charles’ speeches below, he was a real example of principled leadership in a time of crisis. It is not just Liberal Democrats who are missing Charles today. Our whole country is all the poorer without him.

Finally, while Chilcot gives us the chance to reflect on past mistakes, we still have a duty to oppose the mistakes that our leaders are making today!

Right now, Britain risks cutting herself off from our most valuable allies and trading partners, putting millions of jobs at risk and doing massive harm to our economy. I’m proud of Tim Farron for showing equal determination and leadership to fight Brexit and put Britain back where we belong, at the heart of an open, tolerant, free, and prosperous Europe.

If you agreed with us in 2003, if you agree with us now in 2016 – it is time to join the party that is proudly and passionately fighting for the better future we all believe in.

P.S. You can see some great videos of Charles Kennedy’s speeches on Iraq in Parliament and at the anti-way rally in Hyde Park here (via Lib Dem Voice)

NETWORK RAIL PRESS RELEASE: GOSPEL OAK – BARKING LINE

Drop-in sessions at stations from Gospel Oak to Barking ahead of eight month phased closure

  • Network Rail and Transport for London will be holding drop-in sessions at stations to answer questions
  • Work to install new infrastructure will require a phased programme of closures from June this year
  • Journeys on the route to be improved and capacity doubled with new four-carriage electric trains from early 2018

Customers and local residents are being reminded that major upgrade work to the London Overground route between Gospel Oak and Barking will start from June 2016 as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. An eight month closure of the railway is needed to carry out this vital work.

Ahead of the closure, staff will be holding a series of drop-in sessions from Monday 18 April to Thursday 5 May. Staff will be at a different station every evening peak (16:00-19:00) to meet passengers, answer questions and explain the works and what benefits they will bring, as well as details of alternative travel arrangements.

Network Rail is delivering the project, which is funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL). The project will see TfL introduce new four-carriage electric trains to replace the existing two-carriage diesel trains from January 2018, helping to meet growing passenger demand.

Network Rail will be carrying out major work to electrify the line in two phases. From Saturday 4 June to Sunday 25 September 2016 there will be no service between South Tottenham and Barking. Trains will run on weekdays between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham, however not at weekends. TfL will be providing rail replacement buses which will operate along the route.

From Monday 26 September to February 2017, a full closure from Gospel Oak to Barking is required.

Network Rail’s route managing director, Richard Schofield, said:

We know this is a big change for people as we carry out the improvements and that’s why we wanted to get out and have staff at every station to meet passengers and local residents and answer any questions they may have. We’ll also explain the complexity of the work and the need for an eight month closure.

This investment will transform the service on this route, doubling capacity with cleaner, quieter electric trains and is a key element of our wider Railway Upgrade Plan.

Mike Stubbs, TfL’s Director of London Overground, said:

This work will allow us to run new longer walk-through trains on the line from January 2018, doubling capacity along the route. We recognise that there will be disruption to customers while the upgrade work is carried out and I’d like to thank them for their patience in advance. We will continue to work closely with Network Rail to see if the timescales they set out can be reduced.

In addition to these drop-in sessions TfL will provide detailed station specific advice to help get customers around throughout the closure. Information will be made available via email alerts, Twitter @LDNOverground, posters and announcements in stations.

In order to electrify the railway, overhead wires and structures to support them need to be installed as well as the construction of three new switching stations. To make room for this new infrastructure, four sections of the track will be lowered, four bridges will be rebuilt and a further six modernised. TfL will also be lengthening platforms and enhancing stations to accommodate the longer trains. Network Rail has already started work on the foundations for the structures that will carry the overhead wires.

From February 2017 onwards further works to have the line ready for electric trains will take place during evenings and weekends only and will be completed by the end of June 2017.

RESIDENTS PROTESTS IGNORED

Residents gathered outside the Town Hall to protest about road closures in the ‘Mini Holland’ scheme

Residents protest ignored!

The recent protest by over 1,200 residents against the road closures in Walthamstow and Leyton showed that the Council’s Mini Holland plans, including closing local roads, does not have the support of all residents despite the Council saying that they had.

Protesters not against the scheme or cyclists, but against road closures
The protesters went out of their way to say that they were not against the scheme or cyclists, but against the road closures. The Council’s plans have succeeded in causing division and anger across the Borough. The closing of roads has forced vehicles onto the already congested main roads like Lea Bridge, Hoe Street, and Leyton High Road and has resulted in a massive slow down of traffic, increased congestion and increased pollution.

Congestion and pollution bad for all
All of this is detrimental to residents, cyclists, pedestrians and bus users. Focus Team member Bob Sullivan, who was in the Town Hall listening to the Mini Holland debate, was appalled by the Labour Council restricting residents from hearing the debate, as they only allowed 12 protesters in, although the chamber can hold over a hundred. He was shocked by the arrogant, illiberal attitude with which Labour Councillors treated residents’ concerns. They were not prepared to review the Mini Holland plans despite residents’ requests and their own Labour MP’s request.

Council continues to ignore residents
They are, in fact, going to ignore residents and continue to put in similar divisive plans across Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford!

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ELECT NEW LEADER

Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron speaking at Conference

Long-serving former councillor Bob Sullivan welcomed the election of Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Tim Farron said that under his leadership, the party would oppose the cuts to tax credits and other benefits in the Conservative’s budget and push for greater spending on infrastructure such as transport and broadband.

At his first speech as leader, Tim said,

If you care about human rights join us. If you think you shouldn’t have your emails snooped on join us. ‎If you think everyone deserves a decent home join us.

You can watch Tim’s inspirational speech here.

Bob Sullivan said,

These principles are at the heart of what drives the Liberal Democrats, our members and activists. More than ever Britain needs a party that will stand up for what we believe in, so we’re continuing our fightback and I’m asking local residents to be part of it.

There has never been a more important time to join the party.

Across the Country since the General Election 20,000 people have joined the party. Locally we have been joined by dozens of new activists and members this year, including a large number since it was announced that Tim Farron was elected. The Liberal Democrats have also seen stunning election victories at local council by-elections across the UK, beating both Labour and the Conservatives.

If you would like to join please go to www.libdems.org.uk and join the FOCUS Teams’ fightback.