Friday, October 02, 2015

New Bus route along Forest Road to commence on 9th January

Following the public consultation on the proposals to re-route the 462 bus route along Forest Road back in February and March this year, Transport for London report that they will be going ahead with a slightly amended version of the original proposal.

Don’t get your hopes up that it will serve the cemetery, the cycle centre or the Business Park at the end of the road, because it won’t. The slight amendment is to allow passengers to stay on the bus during its stand time at Limes Farm estate rather than having to get off, walk across the estate and get on again.

The consultation itself received 546 responses, 539 from members of the public and seven from stakeholders. 77% were in favour or partially in favour of the proposal, with 21% against with 2% undecided.

Subject to the necessary physical works for the new bus stops and stand being completed to schedule the new service is planned to commence on 9th January 2016.

For more details including the full consultation report and TfL's response to issues raised, please go to

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Enforcement, fly-tipping, beds in sheds, booze ban & Handyperson scheme

New Enforcement Team
A brand new uniformed enforcement team will soon begin to be put in place. The new team will be charged with improving civic pride and clamping down on those who don’t treat the Borough with respect.
The Redbridge Enforcement Team will be made up of 19 officers, with a further 26 to support them. They’ll be tackling the issues we know most matter to you like anti-social behaviour, licensing, and envirocrime.
Find out more about the Redbridge Enforcement Team

Fly-tipping near bins
Residents are being reminded not to dump their rubbish or recycling outside bring banks and communal bins if they are full. Yes, if you leave your recycling next to the bin it is fly-tipping and if caught you will get fined.
As part of its crackdown on fly tipping the Council has recently issued 20 £80 fixed penalty notices to those dumping rubbish near communal bins or bring banks.
Read more about fly-tipping near bins

Beds in Sheds
The Council has taken action to shut down 93 outbuildings which have been used as unlawful residential accommodation as part of a tough clampdown on ‘beds in sheds’.
These developments can be dangerous, poor quality places to live and a nuisance to people living in neighbouring properties.
How we are tackling beds in sheds

Street Drinking
The Council is looking to take tough action against those who drink in the street in certain hotspots in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour.
A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) could soon be in place to address persistent street drinking and associated problems in the west of the Borough.
A scheme that sees off-licensees volunteer not to sell cheap super strength beers and ciders has been hailed a success.
All shopkeepers who took part in the pilot in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, now have permanent conditions on their licences not to sell beers, ciders and lagers over 6.5%.
Find out more on the booze ban scheme

New Handyperson scheme
A new Handyperson [sic!] scheme has been launched to provide small home repairs to vulnerable residents.
Working in partnership with the Council and local organisations including Age UK and London Fire Brigade, the scheme run by Home Energy Efficiency Training Ltd (HEET) will undertake various types of jobs to keep residents safe and make their homes easier to keep warm.
Read more about the Handyperson scheme

Monday, September 21, 2015

Google comes to Barkingside

Ilford North’s Wes Streeting MP and internet giant Google are inviting local businesses to attend a special workshop on the 9th October. The Digital Garage on Tour will arrive in Barkingside to give local businesses in Redbridge the chance to attend a free masterclass and learn crucial skills for the digital age. The seminars will take place at Fullwell Cross Library, 140 High St, Ilford, IG6 2EA.

Experts from Google will run two seminars that offer advice and tips to local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on making the Internet a growth engine for their business.

The Digital Garage on Tour has been designed to support and advise businesses regardless of their technical expertise – from complete tech novices creating their first website through to improving an existing website and online marketing.

To sign up, register at

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North said: “Supporting local businesses was one of my priorities at the recent election, so when Google mentioned their Digital Garage on Tour I jumped at the chance to bring them to Ilford North. The workshops are free and will provide practical advice from real experts on making the most of the digital revolution to support local businesses. I hope to see lots of local businesses there on the 9th October.”

The Avenue Open Mic

Introducing Sam Castell-Ward, singer/songwriter, member of the Traveling Tilburys and Redbridge Music Lounge. Sam now runs a weekly open mic night and is keen to encourage any musicians (including YOU perhaps?!) to join the growing ranks of Thursday night participants. Sam is an excellent and supportive host and will welcome new as well as seasoned performers. Sam writes:

'The Avenue Open Mic is welcome to all performers at all levels every Thursday at The Avenue pub, 902-910 Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park IG2 7HZ. It's really close to Newbury Park Station and the 66, 296 and 396 buses stop near and there's also a big car park outside.
Sign up time to put your name down if you want to perform is from 7:30pm and the night starts at 8pm.
We have a PA with 2 mics and stands, a music stand, keyboard, guitar amp and bass amp. We can also play any backing tracks you have.'

Facebook: Avenue.Public.House
Twitter: The_Avenue_Pub

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Oakfield – Going the Distance

It looks like this one is going to go the distance.

After the Open Day last week we are informed that the Labour councillors were all “at a pre-arranged meeting”. However there is another opportunity for them to visit the site this coming Wednesday when the Old Parkonians are hosting a Blood Donation session and I’m sure our comrades will want to do their duty to support the National Health Service which is only safe in their hands. Oakfield is not just a place for sport and healthy activity but also a place for social and community service.

Also last week, on Thursday, we had a Full Council meeting. Below is a picture of the previous administration, just prior to the meeting, under whose jurisdiction the plans to develop Oakfield were hatched, with the £6 million grant to the Frenford clubs (the Chair being Nicholas Hurst, a former Conservative councillor) to move to the Port of London site in The Drive and Cricklefields.

And let us not forget that statement by the former Deputy Leader of the council, Ian Bond, that it was always the intention of the Conservatives - notwithstanding the view of the ward members - to proceed with the sale of Oakfield had they won the 2014 local election.

During last Thursday’s meeting the council leader, one Jas Athwal, was asked if a site for 800 homes could be found elsewhere would Oakfield be left? “No” was the answer. Those homes would be in addition to, not instead of, as the target set by the GLA for houses is only half of Redbridge’s assessed need.

OK. So why isn’t the plan addressing the “assessed need” and what does this mean for the other “rejected” proposals for the Wanstead/Woodford corridor, increased density in the King George/Goodmayes Hospital area, and the pockets of identified Green belt land? Should we be doing all of them?

Chris Nutt of the Save Oakfield Site campaign reports:

Green Belt - The CPRE has issued a Press Release on Oakfield etc. and followed this with a good letter to Tom Copley, the GLA’s Labour Party chair of the Housing Committee. He is about to produce a report on the ‘housing crisis’ which we think will say the crisis of affordability is not the same as a crisis of housing supply. We will also write to him and say that there ARE alternatives; there is no need to build on precious Green Sites; development doesn’t increase affordable housing; there is no gain for local community and building on Oakfield will not solve the housing crisis – it takes away an asset from the local community.

Planning Policy - We have also both made a submission to London Assembly’s ‘Environmental Pressures of London’s Growth’ investigation. I focused on the difference between the planning process theory and how it appears to be working (not working) in practice!

Full Council Meeting - the Meeting highlighted the following:
  • Even if 800 new homes can be built on other land not yet identified, they will not replace Oakfield. In other words they want to build on Oakfield regardless of the need for housing! This shows that they want Oakfield for the money it will bring in from an asset sale. They will therefore be on dodgy grounds when trying to convince the Planning Inspectorate that the various studies are genuinely objective and impartial.
  • Helen Coombs (Chair of the planning, economy & regeneration committee) said that the Playing Pitch Strategy review (PPS) is with the various sports governing bodies (Sport England, FA, ECB, RFU etc.) to ‘sign off’ on the "quantity" of playing fields that will be needed. We knew straight away that it MUST also consider the "quality" of playing fields. But in any case the whole answer was misleading. We have now been told by Sport England that the PPS is not in the process of being signed off. Helen Coomb is mistaken. There was a steering group meeting on 8 September to sign off the data collection stage. Further meetings are schedule for 6 October and 6 November. They may have a first final draft of the PPS for the 6 November meeting at the earliest.
  • This would appear to mean that the Council cannot consider the overall Plan until very late this year or next year, unless they drop the proposed changes to Oakfield.
  • Only one labour member raised his hand, as opposed to the many conservative members, when asked who had visited Oakfield! We have written again to the Labour leader and Councillors to re-iterate that we (SOS) are a non-political campaign group and would like to show them around. They have declined the offer which is a shame as they are clearly out-of-date in their perceptions of who and how many use Oakfield.
  • We asked whether there will be a free vote on the Plan and it seems this is undecided at present.
This issue has been beset by elections from the start. First when Alex Wilson pulled the plug just prior to the locals in 2014, then the nationals in 2015 and now we have the prospect of the London elections next year, 2016. But the intent has stayed the same regardless of political party. It makes you wonder who is running the council? The officers or the Councillors?

Whosoever it is, is going to have to convince the Planning Inspectorate, the London Mayor elect and the Secretary of State and in all three we have a say.