Waltham Forest Council related stories 1987

press index


IT'S A RATES SHOCK Yellow Advertiser January 16, 1987.
Elderly at risk on the roads Waltham Forest Guardian Jan 30, 1987
Rubbish dispute: Dustmen's views Waltham Forest Guardian February 20, 1987
Now apologise to us Waltham Forest Guardian February 20, 1987
Councillors sacked over race finding Waltham Forest Guardian Feb 27, 1987
Leyton Baths no-go Waltham Forest Guardian Mar 20, 1987
No-smoke option Waltham Forest Guardian March 13, 1987
'Slaughter' of our borough Waltham Forest Guardian March 13, 1987

What kind of town Municipal Review April 1987.
High Court challenge to rate rise London Daily News, April 3, 1987
Job equality in the Forest The Weekly Gleaner April 7, 1987.
Equal opportunities in the borough Asian Herald April 9-15, 1987.
9,000 WRITE IN PROTEST Waltham Forest Guardian April 10, 1987
PAGE ONE COMMENT Waltham Forest Guardian April 10, 1987
NOW IT TURNS NASTY Waltham Forest Guardian April 10, 1987
Paying delay move Waltham Forest Guardian April 10, 1987
5,000 besiege town hall in protest at rates rise London Daily News April 10, 1987
5,000 march over a 62% rates rise Sun, April 10, 1987
Chiefs rude rates shock London Daily News April 10, 1987
5000 in rates demo London Daily News April 10, 1987
5000 mass to fight rates Standard April 10, 1987
We won't pay up, say rate rebels Standard April 10, 1987
5,000 protest over rate rise Evening News, April 10, 1987.
London effect Standard April 10, 1987
Waltham Forest plans Carnival Asian Times, April 10, 1987
Bomb attack Eastern Evening News, Norwich, April 11, 1987.
Fire attack on council chief Oxford Mail April 11, 1987.
Petrol bomb home attack Coventry Evening Telegraph, April 11, 1987.
Council chief bombed Cumberland Evening News, April 11, 1987.
Council leader petrol bombed Birmingham Evening Mail, April 11, 1987.
Petrol bomb attack Stoke-on-Trent Sentinel, April 11, 1987.
Council chief fire-bombed Manchester Evening News, April 11, 1987.
Rates bomb Bath & Wilts Chronicle, April 11, 1987.
Fire bomb alert Mail on Sunday, April 12, 1987.
Bomber's rates rage Sunday Mail. Glasgow April 12, 1987
Terror campaign linked to rate rise London Evening Standard April 13, 1987.
Evil caller clue in hate campaign Evening News, April 13, 1987
Rate-row council chief 'in danger' London Evening Standard April 14, 1987.
Your rates don't have to rocket London Evening Standard April 14, 1987
Eleven Africans for Waltham Forest African Times, April 23, 1987
Why political battles are turning into physical fights London Daily News April 29, 1987.
System-built Tower Blocks Hansard April 29, 1987
6,000 in rates demo London Daily News, May 3, 1987
'Sinister' attacks after rise in rates London Daily News May 5, 1987.
Rates demo threat to mayor's big day Standard May 6, 1987.
Rates demo threat to mayor's big day London Evening Standard May 6, 1987.
Councillor gets death threat over rates rise Evening News May 7, 1987.
Bengali New Year celebrated Asian Times-London May 7, 1987.
Death threat to black councillor Standard May 7, 1987.
'Last will' threat in the post Wolverhampton Express & Star, May 7, 1987.
Call for powers to curb creative accounting deals Standard May 7, 1987.
National Front Attack on Black Councillor Asian Herald, May 7-14, 1987.
Rally of thousands fails to cut rates rise London Daily News May 8, 1987.
Protest at 62.2 % rates rise attracts 6,000 The Times May 8, 1987.
Town hall siege in rates revolt Daily Express May 8, 1987.
LEFTIES SPARK RATES REVOLT Sun May 8, 1987.
62pc rate rise to stay Evening Standard May 8, 1987.
Mass rate march Yellow Advertiser May 8, 1987.
Co-op wins planning fight Waltham Forest Yellow Advertiser May 8, 1987.
Labour's top danger zone The Times May 14, 1987.
Vicious document New Life, May 15, 1987
East end councillors threatened by Front Caribbean Times -London May 15, 1987
Vanishing support in seat with lost identity London Daily News May 23, 1986.
Ratepayers go to High Court Waltham Forest Guardian May 29, 1987
Rates shocker: 'We're wrong' Waltham Forest Guardian May 29, 1987
Legal threat from schools chairman Waltham Forest Guardian May 29, 1987

Schools that buy fewest books Standard June 3, 1987.
Ex-mayor arrested Asian Herald June 4-10, 1987.
Ex-Mayor arrested Waltham Forest Guardian June 5, 1987.
Asians for Labour Victory group launched India Weekly June 5, 1987.
Ratepayers can challenge rise of 62 per cent Telegraph etc. June 5, 1987.
WFRAG has been given leave Public Finance & Accountancy, June 12, 1987.
Rates protesters' final demand Standard June 18, 1987.
Rates case ruling The Times June 18, 1987.
Town hall siege sing-in London Daily News June 19, 1987.
Demo fury at rate rise Evening News June 19, 1987.
Why Labour man quit over rates Evening Standard June 19, 1987
About 5,000 people besieged... The Times June 19, 1987.
Rate row Labour councillor quits Telegraph June 19, 1987.
4,000 stage singing siege at Town Hall London Daily News June 19, 1987.
Labour man quits in rate rise protest Standard June 19, 1987.
Fury at 62pc rate rise Daily Mail June 19, 1987.
Mob fury at rate shocker Sun June 19, 1987.
IT'S good to be back. Victorious Harry Cohen Waltham Forest Guardian, June 19, 1987.
Date set for rates case WF Guardian June 19, 1987.
Cash appeal for campaign Waltham Forest Guardian June 19, 1987.
Wait for outcome Hammersmith News & Fulham Post June 25, 1987.
Rate challenge number three Local Government Chronicle June 26, 1987.
Rates protests bring rewards Waltham Forest Express June 27, 1987
No claim against councillors Independent July 1, 1987.
High Court rates battle Evening News, London, July 13, 1987.
ANNE DOES A LADY GODIVA! Ilford Recorder July 16, 1987.
Waltham Forest rate challenge Local Government Chronicle July 17, 1987.
Party loyalty and 62pc rate rise Wolverhampton Express & Star July 18, 1987.
Rates appeal Bradford Telegraph & Argus, west Yorkshire July 21, 1987.
Revolt swells against rates Evening Standard July 22, 1987.
Five new councils rate-capped Guardian July 24, 1987
High Court rates row reaches a climax Yellow Advertiser July 24, 1987
London ratepayers lose legal battle Financial Times July 30, 1987.
Fury as residents lose rate rise fight The Star July 30, 1987.
Councillors demand end to 'vicious' rate protest Guardian July 30, 1987.
Defeat In rates row Today July 30, 1987.
Defeated ratepayers vow to battle on Daily Mail July 30, 1987.
Ratepayers lose action to halt 62pc rise Daily Telegraph July 30, 1987.
Ratepayers lose fight against 62% increase The Times July 30, 1987.
Fear as rebels lose in rates fight Daily Express July 30, 1987.
Conservation move 'not anti-builder' Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987
Another report from the court ?????????????
Hate campaign against Labour woman Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987
Rates action leader denies 'hate' charge Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987
Rates protesters lose High Court battle Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987
Ratecapping forces new budget probe Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987

Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group is to appeal Local Government Chronicle, August 7, 1987
Ratepayers to appeal in rates case Municipal Journal August 7, 1987.
Plucky councillor carries on after letter bomb shock Yellow Advertister August 7, 1987.
BIG MAC IN NEW DRIVE PLANNING -Gloucester August 7, 1987
Madness on the rates! (version with comment) Daily Mail August 10, 1987.
Madness on the rates! (second version with picture) Daily Mail, August 10, 1987
'Spending brake' claim on poll tax faulted The Guardian, August 11, 1987
Irate payers City Limits August 20, 1987.
Rate action appeal Local Government Chronicle August 21, 1987
the rate-cap doesn't fit Yellow Advertiser August 28, 1987.
Now rates fighters face hate vendetta Waltham Forest Guardian August 28, 1987
Traders 'YES' to move City Recorder, September 3, 1987.
New bid for peace Waltham Forest Guardian September 11, 1987.
Dustmen 'Mafia' probe Waltham Forest Guardian September 11, 1987.
Rubbish mounts in 'gifts' row Waltham Forest Guardian September 11, 1987.
Rates ruling reserved Times September 16, 1987.
Rates appeal verdict soon Guardian September 18, 1987
Fruit market edges nearer Waltham Forest Guardian, September 25, 1987
Dustman fired after threats Waltham Forest Guardian, September 25, 1987
New paper to aim at relevance Waltham Forest Guardian September 25, 1987

Duty of councillor on how to cast his vote Law Report October 2, 1987
It's what was expected-- Gerrard Waltham Forest Guardian, October 2, 1987
Councillors bound by manifesto judges Waltham Forest Guardian, October 2, 1987
This case had to be fought Waltham Forest Guardian, October 2, 1987
PRIZEWINNERS Waltham Forest Guardian, October 2, 1987
Blockbusters go for gold Waltham Forest Guardian October 2, 1987
Rates shocker for young mum Waltham Forest Express October 3, 1987.
Ratepayers say: 'We will fight on' Waltham Forest Express October 3, 1987
Ratepayers say: 'We will fight on' Waltham Forest Express October 3, 1987
Festival fun for 50 plus Waltham Forest Express October 3, 1987
Party whip is lawful GUARDIAN Monday October 5 1987.
Ratecapping appeal dangers Morning Star October 6, 1987.
£150,000 facelift for listed building Guardian October 16, 1987.
Council homes cash crisis Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987
Neighbours fight to save house Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987.
Ratepayers' group still counting the cost Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987.
New town hall cash probe Guardian December 4, 1987
Ratepayers slam obscene letters Guardian December 4, 1987
Comment Guardian December 4, 1987
Ridley defends 5.75% rise in councils grant The Times December 10, 1987.
Ridley signals rate cuts of up to 44% The Times December 10, 1987.
Rate-capped council has limits eased Daily Telegraph December 10, 1987.
Council caution on 'School-watch' Waltham Forest Guardian December 11, 1987
Councillor comes in from the cold Waltham Forest Guardian December 11, 1987
Ratecapping compels council to reduce spending by £20m Guardian December 12, 1987.
See also what they said

High Court rates row reaches a climax

MEMBERS of Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group will have to wait to find out if they have won their High Court battle to quash the council's "irrational" 62 per cent rate increase.

At the time of going to press on Monday night all the evidence had been heard, but judgement had been reserved.

During the six day hearing which ended on Monday, the 15,000 strong Waltham Forest rates action group accused the council of failing in its legal duty to consult industrial and commercial ratepayers before imposing the rate.

The council denied the allegation and said proper consultation had taken place.

It also denied ratepayers' accusations that the rate was fixed unrealistically high following improper pressure on the council by the ruling Labour group.

The High Court is expected to announce its judgement next week before it goes into recess for the summer vacation ...

Yellow Advertiser July 24, 1987.



Labour rebels:"Why we backed rates increase"

THREE LABOUR COUNCILLORS described in the High Court last Friday how they put allegiance to the party before personal feelings and voted for a 62 per cent rate rise which they had earlier opposed.

Councillors Vi Smith, Jo Brind and Jerry Miles were called to give evidence on the fifth day of the High Court action brought by Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group to get "irrationally high" rates quashed.

Labour decided on the increase in March after taking control of the council in last year's elections with a slender majority of five. Councillor Brind, wearing a pink rose in his lapel, told Lord Justice Glidewell and Mr Justice Schiemann that he had considered resigning over the issue but decided that among other things that would adversely effect his party in the run-up to the recent general election.

ONE OF SIX

He said he was one of six Labour members opposed to the increase which he described as "a bad political move."

"I don't personally believe the Labour Party should operate a high rate policy," he told the court, and described the general rate system as a regressive tax against the principles for which the party stands."

UNHAPPY

Friends and other people he had talked to before the increase said they were going to be severely hit financially and he became very worried and voted against it at group meetings in February and March.

He said: "I would have been very unhappy with 40 per cent. I would have been very unhappy with any rate increase.

"I would have assumed efforts could have been made to achieve a lower rate increase. I would have been prepared to listen to the arguments once those efforts had been made."

But he dismissed lower rate proposal put forward by other political parties as "cheap propaganda" moves to gain publicity in the local press.

Asked by Mr James Wadsworth QC for the action group, why he had then not voted against the 62 per cent increase at the time of the council's rate fixing meeting, he said: "I regard my vote as committed to the Labour Group, so long as I wish to remain a councillor."

RESIGN

He had considered resigning he said but it would have been a bit melodramatic for a newly elected councillor to take such drastic action, especially as the Labour majority was quite small.

Cllr Brind added he was not quite sure what the thinking and strategy of the senior group members was, and he thought he might benefit from the experience of remaining on the council "in the longer term.".

As a committed supporter of Labour he also felt that to resign would have been bad for the party in the run-up to the general election, he said.

Councillor Smith, who said she was proud to have been a Labour Party member for 52 years, revealed she had opposed the 62 per cent increase at a group meeting -but voted in line with the majority at the rate fixing meeting because of "the need for unity if democracy is going to work."

She did not regard the issue as a matter of conscience. She said she would have preferred the rate to be set at a 50 per cent increase.

It was a view she had come to, having worn various hats in the local community, particularly working with charitable organisations, trusteeships, scholarships funds, and having a close personal knowledge of the average householder income, expenditure and expectations.

UNITY

But the group had discussed the matter, the majority had voted in favour of 62 per cent and she had fallen in line for the sake of unity which was "very important in public."

Councillor Miles agreed, and said he had felt bound to normal party policy procedure, common to every council in the country, to vote in line with the group majority.

He agreed that it meant overriding his personal considered view, which was to oppose the increase.

"DETRACT"

Asked by Lord Justice Glidewell why he thought unity was important he said "without unity -you may think I am exaggerating -local government would descend into a chaotic situation and detract from effective and strong local government."

Yellow Advertiser July 24, 1987


Don't know where this cutting comes from...

Councillors Vi Smith, Jo Brind and Jerry Miles were all called to give evidence on the fifth day of an application by the Waltham Forest Ratepayers' Action Group for court orders quashing what the group condemned as an "irrationally high" rate.

Labour decided on the increase in March after taking control of the council in the May elections last year with a slender majority of five.

Councillor .Brind, wearing a pink rose in his lapel, told Lord Justice Glidewell and Mr Justice Schiemann that he had considered resigning over the issue, but decided that, among other things, that would adversely affect his party in the run-up to the recent General Election.

He said he was one of six Labour members opposed to the increase, which he described as "a bad political move."

"I don't personally believe the Labour Party should operate a high rate policy," he told the court and described the general rate system as "a regressive tax against the principles for which the party stands."

Friends and other people he had talked to before the increase said they were going to be severely hit financially, and he became very worried and voted against it at group meetings in February and March.

He said: "I would have been very unhappy with 40 per cent. I would have been very unhappy with any rate increase.

"I would have assumed efforts could have been made to achieve a lower rate increase. I would have been prepared to listen to the arguments once those efforts had been made."

But he dismissed lower rate proposals put forward by other political parties as "cheap propaganda" moves to gain publicity in the local press.

Asked by Mr James Wadsworth, QC, for the ratepayers' action group, why we had then not voted against the 62 per cent increase at the council's rate fixing meeting, he said: "I regard my action, especially as the Labour majority was quite small.

Councillor Brind said he was not quite sure what the thinking and strategy of the senior group members was and he thought he might benefit from the experience of remaining on the council "in the longer term."

As a committed supporter of Labour, he also felt that to resign would have been bad for the party in the run-up to the General Election.

Councillor Mrs Smith, who said she was proud to have been a Labour Party member for 52 years, revealed she had opposed the 62 per cent increase at a group meeting -but voted in line with the majority at the rate-fixing meeting because of "the need for unity if democracy is going to work." She did not regard the issue as a matter of conscience.

When Mr Wadsworth started to ask questions about why the husband of Councillor Mrs Smith, a former Mayoress, had been de-selected by the Labour group, he was cut short by Lord Justice Glidewell, who said he could not see what concern that was of the court.

Mr Wadsworth said: "De-selection may be of importance."

Councillor Mrs Smith said she would have preferred the rate to be set at a 50 per cent increase.

It was a view she had come to having worn various hats in the local community, particularly working with charitable organisations, trusteeships, scholarship funds, and having a close personal knowledge of the average householder's income, expenditure and expectations.

But the group had discussed the matter, the majority had voted in favour of 62 per cent and she had fallen into line for the sake of unity, which was "very important in public."

Councillor Miles agreed and said he had felt bound by normal party political procedures, common to every council in the country, to vote in line with the group majority.

He agreed that it meant overriding his personal considered view, which was to oppose the increase.

Asked by Lord Justice Glidewell why he thought unity was important, he said: "Without unity -you may think I am exaggerating -local government would descend into a chaotic situation and detract from effective and strong local government."

The other three Labour councillors opposed to the rate rise were not mentioned. One is known to be Richard Slack. The other two are unknown.

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Elderly at risk on the roads

OLD folk in Waltham Forest are the target in a safety campaign warning them to take extra care crossing the road.

The news coincides with a new council report which shows them to be the biggest "at risk" group of road users.

Latest comprehensive figures available -for the whole of London to 1985-show that in this borough, of 159 road accident casualties, just over half involved people over 60.

Council safety bosses are gearing themselves up to launch the education campaign this autumn, when dark, wet, drizzly weather poses the biggest risk to the elderly.

Community safety officer Norman Spencer told last week's safety and public protection committee that the danger was greatest at or near pedestrian crossings.

For old people, more than half of all accidents happen while they are crossing the road within 50 metres of , a zebra refuge, pelican or other light-controlled crossing.

And, he suggested, better driver education was as important if the casualties were to be reduced.

Mr Spencer stressed it was important for them to wait and make sure it was safe to cross.

Mr Spencer is urging drivers to take part in advanced safety courses -which could save them large amounts on their insurance premiums.

Councillor Jo Brind thought video cameras mounted at crossings would be a great deterrent to bad driving -an idea which horrified the Tory ranks, who felt it had shades of Orwell's Big Brother.

Groups to be targeted in the council road safety for pensioners will include Age Concern, pensioners clubs and welfare organisations.

Waltham Forest Guardian Jan 30, 1987


Rates protesters lose High Court battle

BEATEN

WALTHAM Forest Ratepayers Action Group faced a crushing, humiliating defeat in the face of jubilant Labour councillors when the High Court threw out their case on Wednesday.

Two eminent judges who had taken eight days to reach their decision, squashed the group's submission that the council had illegally set a 62 per cent rate increase.

Lord Justice Glidewell, who sat with Mr Justice Schiemann, took just under an hour to reach the prepared judgement which went against ratepayers on every point.

They dismissed the application and agreed the council should be awarded costs which had yet to be assessed, but are believed to be as high as £100,000.

A confident and delighted council leader, Neil Gerrard, surrounded by colleagues, said afterwards that he had never doubted the outcome.

"I also hope it will be the end of abuse and harassment of Labour councillors."

His deputy Bill Dennis claimed the ratepayers had never had a case. "If they had won,150 years of local government democracy would have ended," he said.

Disappointment and gloom pervaded the ratepayers' group, which had not anticipated such a resounding defeat.

Chairman Martin Baxter said that despite losing, the case had been worth bringing. It showed the strength and feeling against the council.

The group's future would be considered at a meeting that night, but Mr Baxter, like fellow members, expected it to continue as a watchdog at council and committee meetings.

On a more optimistic note the ratepayers group adviser Morad Fleming said the court had established a new law.

"It was asked to look at a situation where only a minority of councillors felt the rate rise they passed was a proper one," he said, referring to a group of Labour members who testified they had originally voted against it.

They later repented and voted with their colleagues in the council chamber.

Lord Justice Glidewell said the judges acknowledged the strong arguments put forward by the ratepayers against the "massive" rise. but the court could not say the decision to impose it was irrational.

The judges also rejected the argument that the council had failed to comply with its legal duties to consult properly with commercial and industrial ratepayers.

The ratepayers had condemned the consultation that did take place as a "charade".

But the judge disagreed and said it could not be regarded as such simply because the ratepayers had failed to get what they wanted-a rate reduction.

Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987


Councillors sacked over race finding

By Chris WATSON

THREE leading black councillors have been stripped of their top posts on Waltham Forest Council in a row over race.

Chairman of the Technical Services Committee Amarjit Devgun was hauled before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday and sacked.

Franklyn Georges, chairman of the Race Relations Committee, and vice chairman Narinder Matharoo have also lost their jobs.

The shock sackings come after the three councillors refused to toe the party line and support an internal inquiry decision on the dismissal of a council employee at the centre of a race row.

Last year an industrial inquiry found two education chiefs guilty of racial discrimination by hounding black youth and Community Officer Errol Mathura out of his job and wrecking a future career with the Commonwealth Institute by leaking confidential information.

At the end of the year, the council decided to launch its own inquiry, which claimed to have turned up new evidence.

The committee of inquiry said there was no case for racism to answer. Instead the officers, Neil Hobday and Richard Gan, were guilty of gross misconduct.

Mr Gan has since taken a top job with Kingston Council. Mr Hobday is still to face disciplinary action.

Within a month of the three councillors opposing the later verdict, they have been disciplined.

Mr Devgun accused the Education Department of being "riddled with racism" and it was a matter of conscience which prevented him from accepting the party decision.

Councillors Georges and Matharoo abstained when a vote was taken on the committee of inquiry's finding.

On Wednesday Labour group deputy leader Bill Dennis was tight-lipped about the sackings, saying all would be revealed at the full council meeting due to be held yesterday (Thursday).

However, he did admit to there being a few changes.

Mr Devgun was also keeping silent and would only say a press conference was being held before the Thursday night meeting.

Waltham Forest Guardian Feb 27, 1987

Leyton Baths
Leyton Baths no-go

THE old Leyton Baths is hardly the place to establish a neighbourhood recreation office base at a possible cost of £15,000, councillors have agreed.

Leisure committee members were asked to approve a £1/4m budget for works to set up five bases throughout the borough.

The other offices are to be at Chingford Assembly Hall, Waltham Forest Pool, Kelmscott Leisure Centre and Cathall Leisure Centre.

Tory Councillor Jane Watts fumed: "Why the hell spend £15,000 at Leyton on a building which is absolutely useless because of its disrepair?

"I am astonished we are proposing to do anything to Leyton Baths," said Labour's Councillor Jo Brind.

Under pressure from both the Conservative and Alliance groups, the committee agreed to reduce the estimates to £100,000.

Recreation officers have been asked to look for an appropriate shop front as an alternative to office facilities at Leyton Baths, due to close soon to make way for the new Leyton Leisure Lagoon.

Waltham Forest Guardian Mar 20, 1987

Conservation move 'not anti-builder'

THE COUNCIL is committed to creating more conservation areas, says its planning boss.

And he insists that the newly created conservation area in Thornhill Road, Leyton, was never intended to smash the reputation of any developer.

Councillor Jo Brind, Planning Implementation Chairman, spoke out this week after reading last week's Guardian story on the background to the Thornhill Road deliberations.

Secret discussions between councillors and officers were held after residents feared a Victorian house would be demolished to make way for a block of flats.

Neighbours were outraged when they heard that the house, dating from 1860 and one of the most attractive in the area, was under threat.

Officers had hoped the English Heritage Trust would declare the property a listed building.

But these aspirations were dashed because assessors did not regard it as of special historical or architectural interest.

To solve the problem, planning chiefs hatched the conservation area plan during secret discussions.

Mr Brind reacted strongly after reading that the undercover operation was only made public at the planning meeting "for fear that if the developer heard about the scheme he would start work before the council had time to act."

The developer's name has not been revealed.

Declared Mr Brind: "The Thornhill Road conservation area was created simply to improve the local environment and protect a fine Victorian building -not to smear the reputation of any developer.

"Planning officers and the planning committee have always enjoyed a good relationship with the developer concerned and it is our hope that we can maintain that relationship.

"Having met the developer, officers and myself are convinced that even if he had been told of our plan to declare the road a conservation area he would not have demolished any building before the committee met.

"The developer has always behaved in a legal and proper manner in all dealings with the Planning Department and has always sought to produce high quality schemes.

"We have no reason to believe that he will do any less in the future.

"The council is committed to creating more conservation areas and we are continuing to look at other neighbourhoods where this might prove desirable."

Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987


Hate campaign against Labour woman

A TIRADE of telephone abuse and obscenity, threatening offensive letters, unwanted mortgages, building society accounts, personal loans and even a hearse with a coffin, have been targeted at a Waltham Forest. Labour stalwart.

Councillor Vi Smith, a 67-year-old grandmother, and one of the longest serving council members, has been bombarded with threats and abuse at her home in Walthamstow since the end of March, when the Labour council increased the rate by 62 per cent.

It coincided with the launch of an anti-rate campaign, she added. While her Socialist colleagues were initially victims of similar sick and twisted extremism, the campaign against Mrs Smith has been sustained.

But it has only strengthened her resolve, and that of her husband, Garner, to fight whoever is behind it.

"We have both been members of the Labour Party for more than 50 years, and are certainly not going to give in now," they declared.

Mrs Smith warned, too, that the police were investigating, and if ever the culprits were unmasked she would not hesitate to bring court action.

Crudely drawn obscenities have been sent through the post along with foul-worded letters, and abusive telephone calls. On one occasion a voodoo doll arrived, covered in fake blood with a stake through her heart.

Unordered rubbish skips have turned up, and all kinds of mail order goods, such as books and clothes. There was even an invalid chair and a hearing aid.

The relentless attack has become more serious recently, Mrs Smith maintained.

Her signature has been forged and put to various documents. She was supposed to have applied to an adoption society for a black child, and was even informed an Alfa Romeo car was waiting for her to test.

"My house has been mortgaged countless times," she added. Daily, she receives unwanted mail, which joins the rest in a large box, and parcels are unopened and returned. Her name has been put to bank loans, unit trusts and insurance policies.

Mrs Smith is mystified as to why she has been pinpointed to receive the unwelcome attention. She is noted for being a moderate. Only last week in the High Court she gave evidence that she was against the rate increase.

Mr Smith is a former councillor, and both continue their involvement in the local community.

"In all my long years in politics I have never experienced anything like this," declared Mrs Smith. "Those behind it are organised, and sick. But they will not break. my spirit."

At yesterday's (Thursday's) council meeting, members were expected to endorse a motion condemning the campaign of personal vindictiveness and extremism against the Labour councillors.

Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987

Rates action leader denies 'hate' charge

THE hate campaign against Labour councillors in Waltham Forest since they upped the rate by 62 per cent has been laid at the door of the ratepayers' action group.

The latest condemnation comes from a former Labour parliamentary candidate, who accuses the protesters of being responsible. ,

But group chairman Martin Baxter angrily denies the claim, saying such action could only prejudice their case against the council.

Tony Earl, who lives in Walthamstow and stood unsuccessfully in North Norfolk at the General Election, made his accusation when speaking to Waltham Forest Labour Party.

Referring to a particular extremist poster, which accused the "Loony Left" councillors of "treachery", and listed the names, private addresses and telephone numbers of all 31 Labour councillors, Mr Earl called on the ratepayers to act responsibly.

Some of the posters even hung in newsagents' windows, Mr Earl added, and he took one into Walthamstow police station and filed a complaint.

Other literature distributed since the ratepayers' protests began incited violence, he insisted. "Their campaign has every right democratically to express a view to the council, and demonstrate against the rate increase.

"I have sympathy for their view, although Labour councillors are only responsible for a small part of the increase."

But the tactic of personal hate and violence were wrong, he said.

Later, Mr Earl told the Guardian he did not blame the bona fide members of the ratepayers group.

"It's a reasonable assumption that it is people on the .fringes who are responsible," he said.

'Mr Baxter, who spoke with local detectives this week, said: "A lot of hard work has gone into our protest campaign, and it is not helped by idiots."

He again said there were no political affiliations, neither was it known who was responsible for the extremism."The only things we have have printed are membership forms and information about demonstrations, and we have continually stressed people must act within the law."

** One councillor's nightmare -page 96.

Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987

Ratecapping forces new budget probe

WALTHAM Forest WILL be ratecapped --that's official.

Labour councillors reluctantly accepted this week's government announcement, and they warned that essential services would have to be cut.

The issues were thrashed out in a heated debate at the resources strategy committee meeting on Monday.

Ratecapping, which will start in April, 1988, will shrink the council's intended expenditure of nearly £172 million to just over £142 million.

Tory group leader Michael Lewis said ratecapping could have been avoided if the Labour administration had not set expenditure for 1987/8 above the level advised by council officers earlier this year.

He said abolishing controversial new services would. be a good start to tightening Waltham Forest's belt.

"I could not support a budget which allowed a women's unit to survive yet allowed street-cleaning services to die," he said.

Deputy Labour leader Bill Dennis pointed out that the projected expenditure on the race relations and women's units totalled less than £1 million -a small amount compared with the £29 million cuts forced by the ratecapping.

"The Government is asking us to cut from our budget the equivalent of the whole of social services," said Mr Dennis.

"I believe the Government has imposed a very immoral blow against us," he added.

"We can only try to mitigate its savage attacks on services to local people."

It was recommended that council officers should report back to council on ways of achieving a smaller budget.

Committee chairman and council leader Neil Gerrard said before the meeting that the council would ask Environment Secretary, Nicholas Ridley, later this year to adjust the rate controls.

Alliance councillors joined forces with the Tories who called for an officer's investigation of a suitable substitute rate level to replace the present 62 per cent from November 1.

Mr Gerrard used his casting vote to quash this proposal.

The Tories then proposed that expenditure could be cut by freezing recruitment in the borough, including that of teachers.

This was thrown out by both Alliance and Labour councillors.

The committee's recommendations were expected to receive the final go-ahead from the full council yesterday.

¥ In a statement to the Guardian, Chingford MP Norman Tebbit wished Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group good luck in its court battle with the council -decision due this week -and called for the resignation of rebel Labour councillors. ;

"Those Labour councillors who have now revealed that they were against this huge rate rise but were pushed into it must now resign and allow by-elections so that we could get back to a sensible council," he said,

Waltham Forest Guardian July 31, 1987


Any involvement in schools affects civil liberties

Council caution on 'School-watch'

SCHOOL Watch, the scheme designed by Leyton police to enhance children's safety, has met with mixed reactions from Waltham Forest Council.

A report by the head of the Police Unit, Barmor Hesse, concerning School Watch which was launched a week ago, was put before four council committees last week.

Although individual comments varied, the overall feeling was that School Watch is a "good idea".

Under the scheme, volunteer parents stay outside junior school gates and inform headteachers of any suspicious activities by strangers that might mean danger to children.

The headmaster rings two other schools in the scheme and they, in turn, ring two others. In this way, more than 30 schools can be alerted within 45 minutes.

Members of the Safety and Public Protection Committee said they were happy about any scheme designed to protect children, but were concerned that original plans for the scheme were not put to the Education Committee before it was launched.

They said all individuals had their own perception of danger which was dependent on background, race, sex, age and physical disability.

Womens Committee members decided they liked the idea in principle, but could not give full support until they were reassured about the details.

Councillor Evie Edworthy said without proper vetting it could be a "gossips' charter", with perfectly innocent people being branded as criminals.

Committee members were concerned that the council had not been consulted on the details and wanted to know how "watchers" would be vetted.

They said there was also the possibility one of the watchers could be a child molester.

At the Police Committee meeting, Education chairman Eddie Playfair told members he was extremely concerned that "something is happening in our schools over which we have very little information and no control."

"Any involvement in schools affects civil liberties," he added.

But Councillor Derek Arnold countered this by saying: "This is a-good scheme and I only wish we could let police and teachers get on with it.

"I have never seen so much suspicion on a report. I don't know how Councillor Playfair sleeps at night. He is so suspicious.

"To think he is chairman of the education committee. God help our kids!"

Mr Playfair replied: "I agree this is a good idea, but there are some sensitivities regarding police in school and civil liberties."

The education unit is preparing guidelines on monitoring any police involvement in schools.

Police Committee members said they supported the general concept of the scheme and expressed their thanks to Leyton police.

But they agreed the council should monitor the scheme and said they were concerned with the lack of consultation in setting it up.

Police constables Frank Keen and Wayne Jones who originated School Watch explained the working of it to members of the Children's Panel on Thursday evening.

Chairman Jo Brind said: "This is a very interesting scheme, but although not perfect it could generate a greater feeling of safety for children in the community generally.

"If people feel safer they feel better about their environment and behave like better citizens."

The council was informed of the scheme during its early stages by the police and they have been waiting for its support.

They felt the safety of children was of paramount importance and couldn't wait any longer to launch School Watch.

Superintendent Martin Annis said: "We are pleased with the support we have met with from the council so far. The two officers have put an awful lot of work into this.

"Every parent is concerned with the safety of their children and we must all do what we can do to lessen danger."

School Watch is to be discussed at the education committee meeting later this month. (K491-32a)

See letter from Amarjit Devgun

Waltham Forest Guardian December 11, 1987



Madness on the rates!

And this is how poll tax sanity would have saved the misery of Waltham Forest
By Roger Rosewell

PEOPLE of Essex are on the march again. Now, 700 years since their predecessors stormed London during the 1381 Peasants' Revolt, The ratepayers of Waltham Forest are up in arms at a 62 per cent rate rise -the second largest in Britain.

Throughout the borough, small firms are being driven to the wall, families are being pushed to make ends meet and pensioners are worrying that bailiffs might strip their homes if they can't pay.

Three times, demonstrations of more than 5,000 people have besieged the Town Hall and one in 20 are refusing to pay their rates. Leaders of the Labour run council are genuinely in fear of their lives. The homes of several, including council leader Neil Gerrard have been petrol bombed.

Soaked

The two revolts bridge the centuries. A poll tax links them.

But whereas the medieval workmen and labourers of Essex and Kent rebelled when Parliament levied a four pence tax on every head, it's exactly such a tax-the new Community Charge-that most Waltham Forest ratepayers would welcome with open arms today.

Forget what you've heard about poll taxes for a moment. Just consider the effect of a here-and-now 62 per cent rate rise topped only by Ealing's 65 per cent. It hurts even to think about it.

An average three-bedroomed terrace house in Walthamstow currently attracts £18.62p per week in rates-an increase of £7.14p. A tour bedroomed house in Chingford has soared from £14.32p to £23.26p-up £8.94p. No one is exempt.

Council house rates are up by £5 per week and most businesses, are trying to survive a 56.6 per cent high jump that has hoisted their rates from 205p in the pound to more than 321p.

And for what? The roads aren't spotless. The borough hasn't become the equivalent of a silver service municipality.

Driven

On the contrary, most of the money has been spent like a day at the seaside-it felt good at the time.

The predictable candyfloss, the fripperies of local government have consumed a million and more. A new Women's Committee, a race relations unit and a police watchdog group have added to the pay bill. A so called Economic Development Unit, costing £707,000 and designed to develop new enterprises in the borough-no doubt to replace the ones driven to bankruptcy by the rate rises-is another expense. 'Initiatives' and 'Developments' trip off the tongue as easily as the £26 million they've cost.

And 474 new administrative posts have been created since 1986. Instead of one central personnel office, 58 new officers have been appointed and every Council Department now possesses a devolved personnel unit.

But most people have stopped caring about how their money is being wasted and thrown themselves into trying to stop the council instead. Tragically, protests, petitions and appeals to its better nature have been rejected.

Instead of being listened to, the objectors have been labelled 'rich', 'eccentric' and "hysterical' by a local Labour Party activist writing in the ultra-left London Labour Briefing magazine.

Pleas to the High Court and the Court of Appeal to quash the rate rise have also failed, and although Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley has slapped a rate-capping order on the authority limiting its expenditure to £142 million next year it doesn't undo what has already been done and annual interventions by Whitehall aren't a long term answer.

The problem in Waltham Forest is that democracy doesn't exist. That's why the government's proposed poll tax, the new Community Charge, is so important.

It offers hope instead of bills, the chance to forge a link between taxation and representation.

Waltham Forest typifies why such a charge is necessary. It highlights everything that's wrong with the present system.

Democracy first. When Labour took control of the council in 1986, the turnout was only 44.9 per cent and Labour won less that half of that.

But the rottenness goes deeper. The borough has 164,903 registered adult voters, and 85,920 domestic ratepayers -29,655 of these households, however, receive rate rebates and 7,915 of the council's 21,000 tenants pay neither rent nor rates.

Thus while the overwhelming majority of adults don't pay rates, all have an equal right to elect the council. That's why high-spending authorities survive. They are not accountable to those who pay the bills -it doesn't matter what the bill is, most electors don't pay it.

Each year the Department of the Environment assesses the spending needs of every local authority. This year the DoE believes that Waltham Forest need only spend £120.27 million Instead of the budgeted £152 million. If every adult was personally responsible for this overspend, local rate bills could be transformed.

Providing Waltham Forest kept to the Government's guidelines, this year's presumed Community Charge would be £178 per person instead of the forecast £365. Census statistics show that the average Waltham Forest household has two adults and that only 22 per cent have three or more. .

If taxpayers controlled their council and the present rating system was scrapped, a two adult household would pay an annual Community Charge of £356, instead of the current bill of nearly £1,000.

The facts about the Community Charge are being buried by the scrunching of vested interests, status quo accounting, big spenders and every malcontent who wants an excuse to bash Mrs Thatcher.

There's nothing unfair in asking people to pay extra if they want extra. As long as voters insist, that their council is efficient the average Community Charge won't be high.

Accusations that the Community Charge is unfair because rich and poor will pay the same amount is another example of misinformation run riot. Nearly half of local government expenditure in England and Wales is already financed by general taxation.

Rotten

In Waltham Forest, for example, the council currently receives £64 million from the taxpayer and because of the way the grant system works this subsidy would rise if local spending fell. Thus if the adults of Waltham Forest had kept council spending down to £120 million, they would have received £74 million, more than half, in grants from the exchequer.

That's the way the rich pay more than the poor. Domestic ratepayers only finance approximately a quarter of local government expenditure. Business and taxpayers contribute the rest.

Waltham Forest is a 20th century rotten borough-a monument to the unfairness of the present rates system.

When the men of Waltham pleaded with young King Richard II during the Peasants' Revolt, he told them: 'Serfs you are, and serfs you will remain.'

It's a historical irony that when it comes to their descendants' present dissatisfaction over local democracy, it will take a poll tax to win their freedom.

Daily Mail, August 10, 1987
 


New paper to aim at relevance

AROUND £60,000 of ratepayers' money could be put into launching a civic newspaper -to tell them more about council services.

Councillors were meeting this Week to discuss a range of options which could result in all homes in the borough receiving the publication six times a year.

The council is concerned that there could be hostility to what could be seen as another free newspaper.

A borough newspaper, said a report to the general purposes sub-committee yesterday (Thursday), "must achieve a status which will ensure that the public regard it as a valuable source of information about their community."

The council is concerned that its last publicity attempts at a council news-sheet proved a massive flop.

Even council leader Neil Gerrard described the ill fated publication as "boring".

The renewed interest in going into print comes after a MORI survey of the borough,

This showed that large numbers of people were unaware of council services.

Many of the people interviewed were not even sure what the council actually did.

Said Tory opposition deputy leader Michael Saile:

"People didn't even know that we ran the schools!"

One potential stumbling, block which could upset the self-promotion plans is a new Local Government Bill.

One clause is thought, to indicate that any criticism of any policy or political party could fall foul of future, legislation if it was the policy of one political party only.

But no-one knows yet if the Bill will become law.

The paper is thought to need current and useful information, a lively Journalistic style and positive attitude to "selling" local government, services, a layout and design, to be professional and eye-catching while appropriate to its serious purpose.

It must not, says the report, be a throw away object, seen to be of no relevance to its readers.

Officers are recommending a tabloid format which would allow extra copy at lower cost to a possibly preferable magazine format.'

A decision on whether to go into print was to be decided at the general purposes sub-committee.

Waltham Forest Guardian September 25, 1987

See my paper on press and publicity


Festival fun for 50 plus

NO ONE can recapture their youth, but reaching the age of 50 does not mean you're an outcast.

Many women in that age group foolishly tend to believe that events organised solely for women cater only for the young.

Waltham Forest Council's Womens Unit is aiming to disprove that belief this Saturday. They are staging an Older Women's Festival in conjunction with Pensioners Link Older Womens Project at Walthamstow Youth Centre in Markhouse Road. And Cllr Annette Briggs, (pictured) chair of the Womens committee, said: "We want to offer our services to older women who are often the last group to be thought about.

"One of the sessions will give older women the chance to tell us what their needs are and how the council can do more to meet those needs.

Saturday's festival will include workshops in self defence, art therapy, health and safety matters, memories of the past, yoga and keep fit.

Cllr. Briggs.

Waltham Forest Express, October 3, 1987
 


The Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group is to appeal against the high court rejection of its claim the council's 62% rate rise was unreasonable (LGC, 31 July). It hopes the case will be heard in the Appeal Court at the end of this month.

The ratepayers' action has so far cost them around £100,000 and losing the appeal could add another £20,000 to costs. But it has raised funds from business and domestic ratepayers and WFRAG spokesman Paul Crozier says contributions are still coming in. "The council has underestimated the strength of feeling in the borough", he said.

Despite the Waltham Forest decision, Ealing LBC's rate rise is also to be challenged in the high court by ratepayers. Hammersmith and Fulham ratepayers are waiting to hear whether they can go ahead with judicial review.

Extract from Local Government Chronicle, London, August 7, 1987


Ratepayers to appeal in rates case

WALTHAM Forest ratepayers seeking to have a 62% rate rise overturned by the courts are to take their case to the Appeal Court.

The action comes after the High Court last week upheld the legality of the rise imposed by the borough's ruling Labour group.

And in Ealing LBC where the borough's Labour group put rates up by 65% the Court of Appeal has given a ratepayer leave to pursue her case.

Tensions as a result of the action in Waltham Forest are said to be growing with Labour councillors subjected to considerable abuse and a letter bomb being sent to the home of one of the councillors this week.

Municipal Journal August 7, 1987.


BIG MAC IN NEW DRIVE

Another Macdonalds drive in has been allowed on appeal in High Road, Leytonstone, on the site of a department store.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest opposed the scheme on the grounds of loss of shopping potential and traffic generation. The inspector thought that any short comings were out weighed by the opportunities for new investment and confidence that would be drawn to the centre, which was at a "low ebb".

Pedestrianisation proposals were not sufficiently far advanced, and short and longer-term highways considerations were not of such weight, as to justify refusal, it was considered.

T/APP/U5930/A/87/063858/P5. London Borough of Waltham Forest. Tollgate House. 8th July 1987.

PLANNING -Gloucester August 7, 1987.


Rate row Labour councillor quits

A Waltham Forest councillor resigned from the ruling Labour group last night over a 62 per cent rate rise. He is former planning chairman Mr Richard Slack.

Outside the town hall, 5,000 angry ratepayers protested in the rain against the planned increase. Twelve ratepayers are bringing a High Court action against the council on July 13 in an attempt to stop the rise.

Telegraph June 19, 1987.
 


The Waltham Forest Ratepayers' Action Group has been given leave to appeal against the borough council's 62% rate rise for 1987/88. An expedited hearing has been granted and is expected to take place in front of three judges next month.

Public Finance & Accountancy, June 12, 1987.
 


About 5,000 people besieged the town hall at Waltham Forest east London, last night to protest against a planned 62 per cent rates rise by the Labour led council
The Times June 19, 1987.
 


Fury at 62pc rate rise

RATEPAYERS protested last night as Left-wing council chiefs pushed through plans to increase rates by 62 per cent.

Labour leaders of Waltham Forest Council in East London blocked Tory and Alliance proposals to slash the rise and thrash out a settlement with protest leaders.

The demo came just a week after campaigners claimed victory in ousting Labour MP Eric Deakins from the Walthamstow seat after 17 years.

Councillors were forces to run the gauntlet of up to 3,000 demonstrators as they arrived for last night's meeting.

Imposed

Demonstrators chanted anti-Labour slogans, carried placards demanding councillors resign and ridiculed Labour politicians with specially-written songs.

The protestors also hired a bagpipe band and sold raffle tickets to raise cash for their legal action against the council.

Martin Baxter, the action group's chairman, told a delighted crowd that a date for the High Court hearing had been fixed.

There a judge will decide whether the council's rate rise is legal. The protestors claim it isn't because they were not properly consulted.

The rise, if legal, would make it the second highest in Britain, after Ealing, West London, which imposed a 65 per cent one.

Daily Mail June 19, 1987.
 


Rates case ruling

Mr Justice McNeil ruled in the High Court yesterday that 31 Labour councillors should not be sued as individuals in legal proceedings being brought by thousands of ratepayers who are challenging a 62 per cent rise in rates in the Borough of Waltham Forest

The Times June 18, 1987.
 


Mob fury at rate shocker

FIVE thousand furious householders last night besieged a town hall for the THIRD time to protest against a left-wing council's planned 62 per cent rates rise.

Waltham Forest will be the highest rated borough in London if the rise is approved.

Sun June 19, 1987.
 


Neighbours fight to save house

FURIOUS residents of Leyton's new conservation area have joined forces to fight off a development threat.

Led by pensioner Myrtle Cooper, they have gathered a petition asking Waltham Forest Council to turn down the plans.

The house at the centre of the row, no. 48 Thornhill Road, could either be demolished or widely extended if the developers get their way.

Neighbours' outrage has been fuelled by the fact that it was a similar plan for the property which led to Thornhill Road and part of adjoining Rosedene Terrace being declared a conservation area four months ago.

Butterfield Developments (formerly Jewelfine Ltd) of Browning Road, Leytonstone, has submitted two planning applications for no. 48.

One is to demolish the double-fronted house so that a new building can go on the site. Now that the road has conservation area status, the house cannot be knocked town without official permission.

The other plan is to build a two-storey extension on the back of the house, create five one-bedroom flats and five bed-sitters, and turn the back garden into a car park.

The latter has brought residents of Windsor Road into the fray. Their homes back on to the proposed car park and their gardens are only 27 feet long. They don't relish the idea of overlooking a car park.

Mrs Cooper (75), of Thornhill Road, has gathered their signatures into her petition and now reckons 95 per cent of all the people in the area have signed.

"This developer just doesn't seem to have got the message," she said.

"We have had too much of this dense development round here -too many new houses being squeezed into small spaces and too many flats into houses.

"The traffic is causing problems already. Ten more flats will just make it worse."

Alliance Councillor Bob Sullivan, another resident of Thornhill Road, is also strongly opposed to the plans for no 48. He considers it one of the best houses in the area.

"What with this plan and the conservation area being created, we seem to be getting together better now," he commented. "A strong community spirit is growing, so that's one good thing to come out of all this."

Mr Sullivan will be attending the meeting of the council's conservation area advisory committee, which will precede the planning implementation committee where the two plans will be considered.

He thinks the likelihood is that the schemes will be turned down, but the developer may then go to appeal to the Department of the Environment.

A spokesman for Butterfield Developments said the company had no comment to make.

Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987.


Asians for Labour Victory group launched

Asian activists in the Labour Party and several Labour Councillors met in London last week and decided to launch a new organisation called "Asians for Labour Victory" with the aim of safeguarding the interests of the Asian community and promoting greater solidarity among the Asians through the Labour Party.

The meeting, held at County Hall, was attended by over 100 people and presided over by Mr Arshad Wadoodi, research officer in the Labour Party.

Among those who addressed the meeting were Mr Ian Mikardo, former Labour MP for Tower Hamlets, Mrs Mildred Gordon, Labour candidate in the same constituency in next week's general election, Cllr Manibhai Patel, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group in Brent Council, Mrs Lata Patel, member of Brent Council, Cllr Mrs Hazra Khote, chairperson of the Community Development Committee of Hackney Council, Cllr Amarjit Devgun, member of Waltham Forest Council. Cllr Jan Alam, Deputy Leader of the Tower Hamlets Council, Mr Suhail Aziz, Chief Educational Development Officer of Lambeth Council and Mr Harbans Singh, a business leader from Southall.

The meeting received a message of greetings and best wishes from Mr Larry Whitty, General Secretary of the Labour Party.

Speakers at the meeting emphasised the difficulties now being faced by the Asian Community in England and in London in particular, such as racial attacks, discrimination in employment and in positions of political power, in the context of activities of other groups.

It was decided to form a steering committee to prepare the constitution of the new group and consider a plan of action at a meeting to be held soon after the general election.

India Weekly June 5, 1987.


Co-op wins planning fight

THE LONG-running battle by Waltham Forest councillors and local residents to stop a major leisure complex being built on the borders of Walthamstow and Chingford has been lost.

The five-year long fight was against the Co-op's plans for a superstore with a 500-space car park, a new sports pavilion and multi-purpose course in Chingford Road.

The proposals were first set out before the planning implementation committee in 1983 and the project opposed during a public inquiry.

But the Environment Secretary overturned that decision, giving the go ahead subject to certain conditions.

These included an access gate which was to be kept locked between 9p.m. and 7am, except in emergencies.

Waltham Forest appealed in vain against the ruling in the High Court and now the plans are to go ahead.

Angry residents claim the project is something none of them want as it will bring increased traffic to the area, while reducing security to the homes in George Road.

Planners say it is an attractively designed complex which minimises loss of amenity.

Waltham Forest Yellow Advertiser May 8, 1987.


Angry scenes as rates set at 62 per cent


'Slaughter' of our borough

WALTHAM FOREST'SLabour-controlled councilwill go down in the recordbooks as the council thatset the biggest-ever rateincrease in the borough'shistory.

The record-breaking 62per cent rate rise was finallyapproved on Tuesday nightafter a stormy three-hourdebate.

Angry placard waving protesters descended on the stepsof Waltham Forest Town Hall before the start of the meetingto register their objection.

During the meeting, ratepayers packed the public gallery and lined corridors to thecouncil chamber to jeerLabour councillors as theystood up to defend theirgroup's action.

But the most vociferousattacks came from oppositionspokesmen who claimed therate rise will result in thedeath of Waltham Forest.

Conservative leaderMichael Lewis said the risewould place an intolerableburden on families.

He said; "We believe thatthis rate rise will not onlyreduce the living standards ofall the people in the borough,it will also decrease the viability of commerce and industryin the borough and increasethe strain on the local service."

"Caring Labour - youmust be joking," he saidangrily.

Councillor Jane Watts thenfollowed and attacked theLabour council's inefficiency,claiming it could not evenorganise a "beer-up in abrewery".

She closed with the epitaph: "This is the first year ofthe Labour administration.What will they have done toour borough at the end offour years? Rest in PeaceWaltham Forest.""

But the protests were invain and moves to reduce therates defeated as the Labourgroup stuck firmly to its policies and repeated its pledge toprotect services in theborough.

"We were elected to dealwith the problems of theborough, and that is whatnext year's budget is aimingto do."

Children were being senthome from school because ofstaff shortages, he said, andyoungsters were in danger ofchild abuse because of thelack of social workers to helpthem, he continued.

Housing in WalthamForest is in the worse top fiveper cent of councils in thecountry, said Mr Gerrard.
Schoolboy Simon Collins, aged 10 at the Town Hall.
Waltham Forest Guardian March 13, 1987.


System-built Tower Blocks

Mr. Deakins asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can provide additional resources to enable the London borough of Waltham Forest to deal with the problems of repairing system-built tower blocks.

Mr. Tracey: The main HIP allocations to authorities for 1987-88 have already been made, as announced on 19 December 1986. The resources remaining after making these initial allocations will be distributed to authorities for projects prepared in conjunction with the Estate Action team, and to authorities which have particularly heavy obligations under the housing defects legislation, with a reserve of £2 million for the homes insulation scheme. Allocations in successive years have, however, taken account of the need to repair system-built tower blocks. Bids for allocations in 1988-89 will be invited soon.

Hansard April 29, 1987
 


Legal threat from schools chairman

EDUCATION chairman Eddie Playfair has threatened legal action against two Waltham Forest councillors.

He has sent the legal broadside to Conservative councillor Michael Fish and SDP councillor Philip Arnold.

It follows comments they made at the last council meeting concerning his involvement with the teachers' protest over Education Secretary Kenneth Baker's recent proposed Bill.

In a letter to Mr Arnold, he says: "I am particularly concerned that you are reported to have said I 'instructed teachers to strike'."

Mr Playfair, a teacher, emphasises that he made his position quite clear in a letter to the Guardian, following similar criticism when he organised a press conference on the Baker Bill.

"Under the circumstances, therefore, I am very concerned that you should choose to repeat this falsehood, which I regard as very damaging. I would suggest that you may wish to clarify or, perhaps, withdraw the comment.

"If you feel unable to do this, I would ask what evidence you have that I have in any way sought to encourage teachers in Waltham Forest to take industrial action.

"I am not by nature litigious, but I may well be taking legal advice if you cannot clarify the situation satisfactorily."

Mr Arnold, replying that he would "strenuously defend" himself against any legal action, has told Mr Playfair: "As chairman of the committee responsible for maintaining the borough's schools, it was your duty to have put the interests of the education service before your support of your union's action.

"For my part, I consider it a deplorable breach of duty for you to have failed to do so, and you can hardly now be heard to complain that you have been accused of 'encouraging' the action concerned."

Conservative leader Michael Lewis commented: "I really think members should not be so sensitive. It was up to him to answer the comments when they were made. The opportunity was there."

NOTE: On the face of it, this appears to be pure comedy, something out of the Rutles spoof documentary when the phoney Beatles pop group gets so litigious one of its members actually sues himself! Personally, I wonder if Philip Arnold was behind a lot of the highly publicised activity of 1987. Fish, scion of the family jewellery business which had a shop in High Street, Walthamstow, is/was a bumbling local businessman with no outstanding ability. We had fun goading him into exploding in the council chamber!

One of the interesting points about WFRAG is that as far as I can discover it rarely if ever claimed Liberal/SDP support but often said it had Socialist (that is Labour) members as well as an evident Conservative hinterland. However, when Paul Devaney discovered an illegal ratepayers' election leaflet that we could trace to its source, the printers the paper came from was one the Liberals had also been patronising.

Waltham Forest Guardian May 29, 1987


Schools that buy fewest books

by Peter Dobble

BOTTOM of the class in school books--that's Waltham Forest education department, which has cut spending on them by 62.9 per cent since Mrs Thatcher first gained power.

The fact is revealed in a school register of spending drawn up by the educational council of the Publishers' Association, which outlines what changes are planned on the book-buying front by education authorities throughout the country.

The comparisons have been made between the two budgets for 1978/79 and for 1985/86.

Waltham Forest's figures are bottom of the London league but the national " winner " is Walsall, whose primary school budget for books has shown a drop of 98 per cent over the period.

The Book Trust recommends spending £14.91 on each primary schoolchild and £23.50 on secondary pupils.

In Waltham Forest the figure for primary children will be £7.76 a head this year--for secondary youngsters, £13.19. In London, while Waltham Forest has shown the biggest reduction overall, the worst off primary children are in Harrow where only £6,16 a head is spent on books while, for secondary children, Richmond spends just £9.59 per child.

The next biggest reduction in spending over the period has been recorded in Haringey where spending on primary books has been cut by 56.8 per cent,

Good news though from top-scoring Bexley where the budget has gone up 31.1 per cent giving secondary children £35.91 to spend on books

Standard June 3, 1987.
 


Bengali New Year celebrated

The Bengali New Year of 1394 was seen in with style in Walthamstow, east London, with a vast array of songs, dance and music from South Asian, Afro Caribbean, Chinese and Turkish artistes on April 19.

The Bangla New Year Festival has been taking place for the past nine years and until 1985 was held at Trafalgar Square. This year it was attended by London Mayors, Mayoresses, MPs, senior diplomats and other dignitaries.

The Festival, organised by a group called Bangali International, began with a chorus song by Nobel Laureate Rabindrath Tagore and was followed by a speech by the chief guest, Mohammed Khan the Mayor of Waltham Forest. The Bangladeshi Deputy High Commissioner, Mohiuddin Ahmed, and Nasrullah Syed, deputy Mayor for Hackney, also spoke.

"There then followed performances by Liquid Light an Afro-Caribbean gospel band and a Chinese dance by Martin and Helen Fung. The Turkish Youth, Education, Culture and Arts Society of north London performed southern Turkish dances. The Asian singers included two Euro-Asian Song contest winners.

Asian Times-London May 7, 1987.
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Waltham Forest plans Carnival

For the first time in Waltham Forest in east London streets will throb with the pulsating sound of Steelband, and the exotic throng of costumed revellers as .the children and young people of the area present the first ever Caribbean Carnival in the borough.

The project originating out of the Caribbean Focus activities is funded by Greater London Arts and seeks to involve young people in the making of Carnival Costumes. Workshops and in-school activities are being conducted by Lawrence Noel, one of, the originators of the Netting Hill Carnival celebrations and a borough resident.

The end result, a Caribbean Street Carnival will take place on Sunday 19th July starting at Leyton Green and proceeding to Leyton Youth Centre where the fudging and entertainments will take place.

Any group or organisation wishing to participate in the event should contact Monica Lassalle Caribbean Focus Co-ordinator (01) 524-5544 ext. 4368.

Asian Times, April 10, 1987.
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Job equality in the Forest

IN the past year, the numbers of appointments of black and other ethnic minority candidates to white collar Jobs in Waltham Forest council, has doubled from 55 to 108. For the first time these include 11 African candidates.

These figures reflect the high priority the council places on equal opportunities in employment In the past year more courses in cultural awareness have been held for council staff and anti-racism courses are being Introduced. All staff who interview for selection must have attended an appropriate training course by the end of 1987.

A census of the existing white collar and teaching workforce Is currently being carried out to provide up-to-date information on the ethnic composition of council staff.

There has been an increase in the number of women appointed to jobs, but these still tend to be in the traditional departments, education, social services, libraries.

The Weekly Gleaner April 7, 1987.
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Eleven Africans for Waltham Forest

A total of eleven Africans have, for the first time, been appointed to white collar jobs with Waltham Forest Council in east London. The figures show the highest number of Africans to get jobs with the Council in all its years of existence.

Their appointments, together with those of Caribbean and Asian origin, takes the Council's record on ethnic minority appointments, to white collar jobs, from 55 to 108 double that of previous year.

The Council also claims that more courses in cultural awareness were held to help Council staff in carrying out their duties. Anti-racist courses were also introduced. It is hoped that by the end of the year, all staff who interview for selection must have attended an appropriate training course.

REFLECTING

Waltham Forest Council sees this improvement as reflecting the top priority which they place on their equal opportunity programme, especially in employment. A census is said to be in progress to provide up-to-date information on the formation of Council staffing.

Although there has been an increase in the number of women's appointments, the Council says most of them are confined to either education, social services or libraries and there are hardly any woman in senior positions.

Schools and colleges are being contacted with a view to encouraging girls to take course that will lead them to jobs in male dominated areas.

African Times April 23, 1987.
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Waltham Forest

Equal opportunities in the borough

Equal opportunities is showing results at Waltham Forest Council. In the past year the numbers of appointment of black and other ethnic minority candidates to white collar jobs has doubled from 55 to 108. For the first time these include a significant number (eleven) of African candidates.

These figures reflect the high priority which the Council places on equal opportunities in employment. In the past year more courses in cultural awareness have been held for Council staff and antiracism courses are being held.

Asian Herald April 9-15, 1987.
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£150,000 facelift for listed building

A £150,000 project to restore Pimp Hall Barn has met with the delighted approval of Chingford Historical Society.

Only the skeleton of the listed 17th century building still stands beside the railway line off Kings Road, Chingford.

Boards, wall cladding and roof tiles were removed to safekeeping between 1985 and 1986 when the Manpower Services Commission funded a team to carry out restoration.

But they made no progress on preserving the basic structure, and when the scheme ended in September last year the building had to be shored up with scaffolding and covered with tarpaulins to protect it from winter weather.

A decision on its future could no longer be delayed, officers warned councillors at last week's Waltham Forest resources strategy committee.

Another bad winter could bring the tottering framework down and, at the very least, £20,000 would have to be spent on more weatherproofing and anti-vandalism measures.

The building could not be demolished without listed building consent which, officers thought, would probably be refused.

The committee decided that, rather than spending £20,000 on temporary measures, it should go the whole hog and agree that £150,000 could be spent over the next three years on fully restoring the barn.

The project will involve renewing the brick footing; bringing the timber frame back to its true position either by dismantling and re-assembling or by jacking; renewing any rotted timbers; replacing the clay roof tiles; recladding the outside walls and paving the barn floor with bricks.

The work will bring the barn back to a condition and appearance similar to its original state and make it a fitting partner to the already-restored Pimp Hall Dovecote.

No decisions have yet been taken, however, about how the building will be used when work is finished.

Chingford Historical Society was one of the groups consulted last year about uses for the barn.

Members suggested that it might be turned into a heritage centre or an agricultural and horticultural museum, reflecting both its original use and the fact that the land round it was used for years as a council nursery.

But during the last year, they have been more concerned about whether it would survive long enough to be used as anything.

When he heard about the decision to restore, society chairman David Young said: "This is marvellous news. We don't have very many listed buildings in Waltham Forest and it would be unpleasant to see one disappear." (JW988/l6a)

Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987.


Council homes cash crisis

CUTBACKS in this year's programme of council house repairs and decoration could have been avoided, claimed a Liberal at Waltham Forest Housing Committee.

Councillor John Williams said he had predicted problems when the decision was taken to put repair work out to tender without specifying a price.

The council's own direct labour organisation submitted the lowest tender and has been awarded the contract for day-to-day repairs throughout the whole borough.

Mr Williams claimed that was one reason the repairs and maintenance budget is now on course to being £1.4 million overspent and cuts have to be made to save the money.

But council leader Neil Gerrard snapped back: "Councillor Williams doesn't know what he's talking about. He just doesn't understand what the repair schedule means."

He said factors like inflation were the real reason the cost of repairs this year was so much higher than last year.

And he added: "The fact that the DLO won this contract seems to be sticking in some people's throats. It is now a profitable organisation."

Two ways of saving the £1.4m suggested to the committee were deferring the remainder of the external decorations programme and cancelling the rest of the assisted decorations programme directed at the elderly and single parent families.

The two measures together would save £895,000.

But the committee was unhappy with the proposals and put off a decision until councillors can see further reports, including other ideas for saving the money.

They rejected outright a suggestion that lower priority repairs could be reduced or suspended for the next six months, saving £100,000.

But they rubber-stamped four other moves which will save £430,000.

These are: to reduce the costs of work on vacant property and on electrical repairs by putting it out to external contract, or persuading the DLO to lower its charges; to order more work from outside contractors at scheduled prices; and to pay for some repairs and replacements from the capital budget, instead of from revenue.

Waltham Forest Guardian October 16, 1987.
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Rubbish dispute: Dustmen's views

I FEEL I must tell you the truth about your refuse problem.

Some three years ago, the then Tory council told the Cleansing Manager to reorganise the refuse collection service.

After long and protracted discussions with the trade union, a scheme was produced which meant the purchase of 13 new 24-ton vehicles, and a reduction in the number of rounds to 10, based on a tonnage figure.

This was rejected by the trade union on the basis that the vehicles were wrong for the borough because of problems of narrow streets manoeuvrability, manual gear boxes instead of automatic, and tonnage should not be used as a milestone in refuse collection scheme.

Although these objections were made on three occasions, the men were told that they had to work the new rounds from March 1, 1986 on a trial basis.

The Cleansing Manager then left Waltham Forest. At the end of the three month trial, the trade union met the temporary manager and proved that their earlier predictions were right -- that the scheme was not workable, some gangs were lifting an extra 30-40 tons more per week than the scheme asked them to, and they were still not finishing the rounds.

An offer of a work study officer to investigate the imbalance was made and this was expected to last a further three months.

The men agreed to this period. At the end of that time, there has been very little progress made, and we were told that this investigation could go on until March, 1987.

They were also told that the employer agreed that the men did not get a fair deal when the scheme was introduced. That was the last straw and the men agreed to work to the specification of the agreement and the backlog started to appear and grow proving, once again, the trade union's previous objections to the scheme were right.

We then sat down to negotiate a new deal and, basically, that was to reintroduce an llth round and to re-allocate the rounds. The one outstanding problem is the new vehicles, which are having a great deal of trouble with the clutches.

What with the Christmas break, the bad winter conditions, and these vehicle problems, it has been difficult to clear the backlog. Hopefully, by now it should be back to normal.

The refuse collectors and myself are very sorry for the inconvenience to the public caused by short-sighted employers' dogmatic approach to a service that, until March, 1986, had been probably the best service in London.
-T. TARLING, GMBATU Regional Industrial Officer, Brent Street, London NW4 2DP.

Points from the post, Waltham Forest Guardian February 20, 1987.


No-smoke option

A BAN on recruiting smokers is one of many optionsbeing considered by Waltham Forest Council as part ofan anti-smoking drive.

The council has been told such action would be legal.And an officers' report to the Health Advisory LiaisonGroup says: "Non-smokers are better employmentprospects in terms of sick leave, productivity, reducedcosts of cleaning, ventilation requirements and chancesof living to retirement age."

The report stresses that council policy should remainsensitive to the large numbers of smokers who willcontinue to prefer to smoke.
Waltham Forest Guardian March 13, 1987.


Now apologise to us

MAY I put the records straight concerning the criticism of the refuse collectors over the backlog of rubbish.

Councillor Devgun has said he cannot accept the bad weather as an excuse for the problems, but blames the disputes we have had and the poor output overall.

May I remind him that it was the council in the last nine years that has taken off 11 dustcarts and crew.

In March, 1986, the council purchased 24-ton lorries, which are not only too big and awkward to get round the road, but also impossible to get through some of them.

These WONDERFUL MOTORS that have been purchased spend more time in the garage being repaired than they do on the road. The old lorries were far better for the job.

We also do not blame the bad weather, as we have worked in it before. It's the motors that would not work, not the dustmen.

Perhaps if we had parked them in the Town hall, where it is nice and warm, the motors would have been out doing the job.

As for the poor output, the crews that did manage to get out on the roads, did well over their quota.

Those highly paid officers that he mentions are not dustmen.

Since Waltham Forests Council was formed there has never been a backlog of rubbish, except for national strikes, which only proves that the present system is not working.

So Councillor Devgun, perhaps you would apologise to the dustmen as well.
--A WALTHAM FOREST DUSTMAN, (name and address supplied.)

Waltham Forest Guardian February 20, 1987.


LAW REPORT

Party whip is lawful

Regina v Waltham Forest London Borough Council. Ex parte Baxter and others.

Before the Master of the Rolls (Sir John Donaldson), Lord Justice Stocker, and Lord Justice Russell.

September 24,1987

The Court is not entitled to quash a local authority's resolution merely because councillors who have previously indicated their opposition to the resolution have subsequently changed their minds and voted with their political party. A councillor's vote becomes unlawful only if he allows party loyalty, party unanimity, party policy, or other outside influences so to dominate as to exclude other considerations which were required for a balanced judgment.

His vote can be impugned only if, by blindly toeing the party line, the councillor deprives himself of any real choice or the exercise of any real discretion. The distinction between giving great weight to the views of colleagues and to party policy on the one hand, and voting blindly in support of party policy might be a fine one. But it is a very real one and it has to be decided on the evidence upon which side of the line a particular councillor's conduct falls.


The facts

On March 10, 1987, Waltham Forest Borough Council, acting in its capacity as rating authority, resolved to levy a rate of 302.5 pence in the pound for domestic hereditaments and 321 pence for non-domestic. That represented increases of 62 per cent and 56.6 per cent respectively.

The applicants were members of the Waltham Forest Ratepayers' Action Group applying for judicial review of the resolution. The appeal was based on the ground that six or seven councillors had voted for the resolution even though in their view the proposed rates were unreasonably high.

The voting was 31 for and 26 against the resolution so that if they had abstained or voted against the resolution, it would not have been passed.

As was common practice, the Labour Party members of the council (who formed the majority group) held regular private meetings at which they discussed forthcoming council business and determined the policies of the group, A meeting was held before the rate making council meeting, and the rate increase was the subject of considerable discussion at which differing views were expressed.

In the end the majority group resolved to support the council's resolution, but that decision was not unanimous. Councillors Slack, Mrs Smith, Miles, and Brind, and two or three others voted against it, yet all voted for the resolution in council.

It was argued that the reason why the councillors voted for the resolution was that they were subject to party discipline and to the political whip system, that in the light of the majority group's private vote their discretion had been fettered and they had no option but to vote as they did.


The decision


The Court of Appeal did not consider that argument to be made out on the facts.
The Master of the Rolls said that it must always be open to a councillor to change his mind at any time before the actual vote in council. Bearing that in mind, the fact that he expressed a different view at an earlier time did not, of itself, give rise to any inference that his discretion was fettered or that he had voted contrary to his genuinely held belief.

The majority group had adopted the nationally approved Standing Orders For Labour Groups In Local Authorities which required members to refrain from seeking or voting in opposition to the decisions of the group unless it had been decided to leave the matter to a free vote.

In practice many committee and some council decisions were left to a free vote, but it was not to be expected that a matter as important as the rate resolution would be treated in that way. Order 7(c) provided for members to abstain from voting in accordance with group policy where matters of conscience arose, but that was directed primarily at issues involving religion or temperance.

The Master of the Rolls did not find those rules in any way objectionable. What would be objectionable would be a provision that a member had to resign his membership of the council if, in the absence of a conscience situation, he intended to vote contrary to group policy. That would fetter his discretion and make him a mere delegate of the majority group.

That was not the position. Standing orders made provision for the withdrawal of the policy whip if a member acted in breach of the orders, but there was nothing to prevent his continuing as an independent council member and to vote as he saw fit. In practice, failure to "toe the party line" led in the first instance only to a reprimand, next to removal from chairmanships, and only as a last resort to withdrawal of the whip.

If the court were to quash the council's decision on the grounds that the majority group operated a whipping system based upon the standing orders and the existence of private policy making meetings, it would be casting doubt upon the legality of procedures adopted by political groups of local councillors throughout the country. It would also, by implication, be criticising the system operated in Parliament itself.

It was argued that in the light of the requirement for the rates to be fixed by the council the private determination a group policy undermined statutory safeguards. His Lordship disagreed. There was no undermining of statutory safeguards so long as councillors were free to remain members despite the withdrawal of the whip, and so long as they remembered that whatever degree of importance they might attach to group unity and conformity with group policy, the ultimate decision was for them and them alone as individuals. There was no evidence to show that the coucillors had not exercised free personal choices honestly arrived at.

Lord Justice Stocker and Lord Justice Russell delivered concurring judgments.

Accordingly the court dismissed the ratepayers' appeal from the refusal by the Divisional Court (Lord Justice Glidewell and Mr Justice Schiemann) to quash the resolution.

APPEARANCES: Mr James Wadsworth QC and Mr Anthony de Freitas instructed by Richards Butler for the ratepayers: Mr Eldred Tabachnik QC and Mr Paltrick Elias instructed by the Borough Solicitor, Waltham Forest Borough Council, for the local authority.

Report by Shiranika Herbert
GUARDIAN Monday October 5 1987.
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