Infrastructure first! The Local Plan and Waltham Abbey

wafs-fx-trimThe Local (District) and Neighbourhood (Town) plans are both open for consultation and participation.

800 new homes are proposed for several sites in Waltham Abbey, including:

  • 44 on the site of our Fire Station
  • 53 on the Waltham Abbey Community Centre
  • 463 on the Lee Valley Nursery
  • 132 by Parklands.

We don’t object to new homes in principle – they are desperately needed – but they need to be genuinely affordable, as close to carbon neutral as possible (good for fuel bills as well as the environment) and we need the infrastructure first. The District Council’s draft plan says that infrastructure will be ‘delivered and phased appropriately’ but Greens are having to campaign to defend and improve our infrastructure now, to meet the demand we already have, years before the new homes are built.

There’s a static display of the draft plan at the Sun Street library.

More information and the online consultation, which closes at 5pm on 12th December, are on this District Council website: http://eppingforest.consultationonline.co.uk/

Public transport

Greens have been working with the Epping Forest Transport Action Group (EFTAG), campaigning for better transport and safer streets in Epping Forest.

With 800 new homes proposed in Waltham Abbey it’s going to be more important than ever that we have adequate public transport and streets which are safe for cyclists and pedestrians. If not we’re just going to see even more land given over to parking, even more traffic congestion on our roads and even more pollution going into our childrens’ lungs.

Right now the 505 bus is under threat again, despite it being a vital service for Harlow College and Princess Alexandra Hospital. EFTAG and the Greens are calling on Essex County Council to subsidise a proposed extension of the current 86 bus so that it covers the 505 route to Chingford too. This would return the route to an hourly service instead of the paltry six buses a day which are currently offered to passengers.

Read about the campaign on EFTAG’s website: http://eftag.org.uk/save-the-505

Health

Major new plans which could see cuts to our health services and more privatisation are being negotiated behind closed doors. The Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) aim to better integrate health and care services but they are a cover for further reductions in services.

West Essex and Hertfordshire NHS services are currently under-funded by £411 million, leading to Harlow’s Princess Alexandra Hospital being placed in special measures. Plans for West Essex and Hertfordshire were submitted to NHS England back in early November but still haven’t been made public – not even our GPs know what they contain.

Epping Forest Greens wrote to the District Council asking them to put the plans on the website but didn’t receive a response. We believe that these plans are too important to be kept secret and we’ll continue to push for the plans to be made public and for local people to have their say.

3 thoughts on “Infrastructure first! The Local Plan and Waltham Abbey”

  1. I personally think that Waltham Abbey should get TFL (London Transport) back. It had it for decades, but since services were sold to small businesses providing terrible but overexpensive services, public transport in the town and surrounding areas has gone downhill. Ask anyone in the town who takes the bus and they would agree with me.

    1. Hi Greg, I’m sorry for the delay replying.

      In my experience the local bus companies provide a more reasonably priced service than Arriva but generally our bus services are rubbish.

      We’re not going to be part of TfL again but the Bus Services Bill could gve local authorities a lot of the same powers, such as:

      • Setting fares
      • Setting routes
      • Better live travel information
      • Interchangeable tickets – no more watching two buses go past because your return/day/season ticket is with anther operator.

      The Bill gets to the House of Commons later this month. I’ve written about the Bus Services Bill for Epping Forest Transport Action Group (EFTAG) here: Bus Services Bill 2016

  2. We should have the oyster system to make things easier for us. Transport in Waltham abbey is terrible waiting for 30 minutes to an hour at the bus stop and most of the stops don’t even have sits to sit. The fares are expensive and children should go on the bus for free, free bus passes for children under 18’s. I think we should join London transport.

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