Category Archives: Waltham Abbey

Hillhouse Masterplan published

Epping Forest District Council has published the Hillhouse Masterplan, which details the proposed development on the Ninefields estate.

Many local residents have raised concerns about the proposed development when visiting our Sun Street stall.

We’ll review the plans and comment more fully in due course.

You can download the masterplan here (.pdf, 2.9mb): Hillhouse Masterplan
The Epping Forest District Council press statement is here: http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/news/2016/07/hillhouse-masterplan-to-be-submitted/

Statement on cuts to Waltham Abbey Fire Station

Waltham Abbey faces the loss of a full-time Fire Service in the town and surrounding neighbourhoods [1].

The Fire Station, which is currently staffed from 9am – 6pm, will be reduced to an on-call service, similar to the Lifeboat service, with fire fighters having to attend from wherever they are, and what ever they’re doing, elsewhere.

Essex Fire Service says that these proposals are about increasing public safety. Frankly, that’s an insult to the public’s intelligence. The proposals are nothing to do with increasing public safety – they’re all about dealing with the unnecessary 7% year-on-year cuts which have been imposed on our Fire Service.

England’s already seen a 21%[2] increase in fire deaths over the last year, and in London they’ve increased by 20%[3] following cuts and fire station closures. Cutting services in Waltham Abbey, and Loughton, isn’t going to help to reduce that. Every second added to a response time increases the chances of loss of life.

Part time and volunteer fire fighters, no matter how well-trained and dedicated, are no replacement for a properly funded, supported and staffed fire service.

Dave Plummer,
Epping Forest Green Party – Waltham Abbey town coordinator

[1] http://www.eppingforestguardian.co.uk/news/14543942.Authority_backs_cuts_to_Epping_Forest_fire_service/

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/26/fire-deaths-rise-by-21-as-chiefs-issue-cuts-warning

[3] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/budget-cuts-blamed-for-rise-in-fire-deaths-in-london-a3257496.html

Why Waltham Abbey should vote Green on Thursday

Elections can seem like foregone conclusions can’t they?

Epping Forest’s MP seems to have an unassailable majority and 37 of our 53 District Council seats are held by Conservatives. Every Waltham Abbey Town Councillor is a Conservative. The strongest challenge to the Conservatives locally is UKIP.

Under these circumstances you could ask whether there’s any point in voting Green.

Reasons for you to vote Green on Thursday

Although the Conservatives are very strong in Waltham Abbey there are still good reasons for voting Green.

  1. Green councillors are largely independent. Anybody who’s attended a few District Council meetings is likely to have seen councillors from other parties ignore their electorate’s wishes and vote in favour of a party line. The Green Party doesn’t have a whip system so our councillors, so long as they adhere to Green Party principles, can vote on behalf of their towns.
  2. Although our current District Councillors do have our town’s best interests at heart they are part of a local political tradition which doesn’t embrace progressive change. That’s fine – a lot of Waltham Abbey’s residents feel the same way. However, a lot of us don’t. If we want better support for our small businesses, communities and our environment we need councillors who will make and support imaginative, effective proposals.
  3. Greens locally have already demonstrated our commitment to our town, from campaigning to protect the Royal Gunpowder Mills and the 505 bus service to less obvious things, such as raising issues with our Town and District councils and attending their meetings as observers. We’ve also campaigned to protect the Green Belt from developments which the Conservatives have approved.
  4. Across England Green Party councillors get results. Greens have been instrumental in getting councils to set up their own energy companies and council-owned letting agencies, were behind the London Living Wage being adopted by City Hall, secured investment for local food production, helped stopped the spread of Tesco Expresses and the like into small towns and have been behind a raft of safer streets, public transport and environmental successes.
  5. Local elections traditionally have low turnouts, meaning that every vote is important. In 2012 Waltham Abbey South West’s turnout was just 19% – the difference between 1st and 2nd place was a mere 213 votes. With an electorate of over 3,000 people that’s a very small margin.
  6. In Waltham Abbey South West there are only three candidates standing this year – Conservative, UKIP and Green. As there are no Labour or Liberal Democrat candidates standing any non-right wing votes will come to the Greens by default. Although this means a lot of people potentially voting for a second choice party it does mean that we’ve got our best ever chance of a progressive gain for Waltham Abbey.
  7. Whether we win or not every vote for the Greens helps us with our campaigning to make Waltham Abbey greener, cleaner and more prosperous.

There’s not much District Councillors can do about austerity, the EU, welfare and other national policy but they can work hard for their communities.

A vote for the Greens in Waltham Abbey will be a vote for hard working councillors who represent their community ahead of their party.

Please vote Green on Thursday.

Why I dislike elections

Over the last few days I’ve been around Waltham Abbey South West putting election literature through letter boxes. I’ve not been around the whole ward yet – sore feet, non-party political campaigning and earning a living all limit the available time – but you should all have had a leaflet through your door by midweek.

The thing is, I’m delivering literature which is basically saying ‘Vote for ME!’

I don’t like delivering literature like that. It’s self aggrandising and inevitably has little information about local issues. It also implies that I’m better than the other candidates. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, we just stand for different things.

I’d much rather spend the time delivering our usual Green View which lets you know about local issues and events, and that’s the crux of why I dislike elections: they’re a distraction.

There’s a lot going on in Waltham Abbey right now, from the Royal Gunpowder Mills to the proposed Hillhouse development, from the loss of Abbey Organics (I learned about that after the newsletter had been published) to ongoing public transport issues.

Instead of giving background and opinion on those issues all of your local candidates (Conservative, UKIP and me as a Green) are putting things through your letter box which ask you to vote for us.

I find that frustrating.

However, elections are important – you don’t need to be a councillor to change things, but it helps – and electioneering is an inevitable side effect.

No matter who you’re going to vote for on Thursday please make sure that you vote. In 2012 the turnout was just 19%. 592 voters chose our District Councillor on behalf of 3182 people. In 2015 the turnout was 54% but that was a General Election year, which tends to lead to a larger turnout.

I’ll be glad when this election’s out of the way so that I can get on with focussing on the issues that matter rather than trying to get elected.

If you agree with what I stand for I hope that you’ll vote for me on Thursday but, whether I’m elected or not, I’ll carry on campaigning for and representing the people and businesses of Waltham Abbey.

Royal Gunpowder Mills update

UPDATE 12/04/2016: The Planning Officer’s Report recommends that permission is granted for the application.

Thanks to Alan for the info (in the comments below.)

The report is on pages 31-74 of the agenda for 20th April here: http://efgp.org.uk/rgmplanningofficerreportapril2016

The campaign to save the Royal Gunpowder Mills will have to look at the report and decide where to go next but, in the meantime, if you want to write to your District Councillor, our MP and our MEPs you can contact them directly through www.writetothem.com.

 

Hi,

It’s all gone a bit quiet on the RGM front so I’ve phoned the District Council for an update. There’s not much news but Jill Shingler is writing a report for the next District Development Management Committee meeting, which will be held on Wednesday 20th April in Epping.

There haven’t been any changes to the application that I’m aware of but PGL submitted a Transport Assessment Report which triggered requests for responses from consultees.

As things stand the plans will still see the best bits taken from public use and fenced off for the holiday camp.

The meeting agenda should be up here in due course:  http://rds.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=749&MId=8479

The planning application and associated documents are on the Epping Forest District Council site here: http://efgp.org.uk/rgmplans