June 19, 1987. INDEX

Demo fury at rate rise

Court battle looms

Thousands of angry ratepayers held another noisy protest last night over Waltham Forest Councils plan to raise rates by 62 per cent.

In the third of their town hall rallies, the Waltham Forest Ratepayers' Action Group sang protest songs and listened to speeches appealing to councillors to change their minds.

Group organiser Alan Crown won wild applause when he announced that July 30 had been set for their High Court action, which seeks to get the rise ruled illegal.

But left wing councillors last night brushed aside the looming court fight and rejected heated opposition demands to reconsider the rate rise.

And while debate raged inside the council chamber. Action Group organiser Mr Crown attacked the proposal outside.

"It is about time the council sat up and took note of what the ratepayers of Waltham Forest are saying," he told the estimated 5000-strong crowd. "We believe we stand quite a good chance on winning our court action. It is not too late to turn back.

Mr Paul Crosier, a local businessman, who is one of 12 rate payers bringing the court action against the council said the proposed increase was forcing businesses out of the area.

The group could face legal fees of around £100,000 if their challenge fails.

But a special fund has been set up to raise the cash of the fight and so far it has made £30,000.

Five thousand ratepayers held a similar demonstration when the increase was unveiled in March. And the turn out doubled at the next protest in May at which the ratepayers' association announced they were taking the council to court.

Then last week, Mr Eric Deakins, the local Labour MP for the past 17 years, lost his seat at the General Election to Tory Hugo Summerson.

Evening News June 19, 1987.
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