Tag Archives: forestgate

Forest Gate North Blog

18 Aug

Our councillors in Forest Gate North have set up a blog to keep residents in touch with what they’re up to.

It’s early days and it will be interesting to see how it develops – if it’s going to be meaningful it needs to be honest about the feedback they get from residents, even when that’s hard or uncomfortable – but I think it’s A Good Thing and hope other wards follow suit. 

Councillor Seyi Akiwowo also has a Facebook page dedicated to her council activities.

RPZ consultation drop-in

4 Jul

Angry mob Simpsons

The atmosphere at The Gate during Thursday’s RPZ extension “drop-in session” was heated, to say the least. Some very angry people were making their feelings known in no uncertain terms. 

I got the opportunity to speak to an officer and ask the questions I wanted answered.

The consultation is happening because a small handful of residents on Windsor Road petitioned the council. They also had requests from a bit of Woodford Road and residents on Forest Side. The total number of requests was around fifteen, which seems a very small number to trigger a consultation over such a wide area. Clearly Newham were looking for an excuse.

The officer insisted that the proposals and the consultation had been designed with the input and support of local ward councillors, though when I pointed out that the election was only 6 weeks ago and the plans must have taken longer than that to draw up she did admit it was the previous set who had discussed it. The boundaries of the proposed extension were based on who asked for it and where they were located. Sebert Road was included because Councillor Robinson said she had had a lot of requests ‘on the doorstep’ and she thought it would be good to give residents the chance to vote on it.

If the scheme goes ahead residents with permits will be able to park anywhere in the Forest Gate zone, not just their own street – that includes areas in the currently existing RPZ. And I was assured that anyone who lives in the zone and has a car registered at their address will get a permit if they apply – the council can’t refuse a valid application.

The application process is online and requires residents to submit a scan of their V5C vehicle registration certificate.

On the matter of the database of vehicle ownership details – which obviously includes copies of all of those scanned documents – and who gets access to it I got no answers at all. That’s handled by “another department.” The officer suggested I submit an FOI. 

Predictably there are no guarantees that charges won’t be introduced for permits which are now free. The officer acknowledged that all our neighbouring boroughs charge for permits, even the first permit per household, but insisted “we have no plans” to start charging. Which is far from reassuring.

There is no monitoring of fraud or the misuse of visitor permits and no enforcement.

Surprisingly, no business impact assessment has been carried out on shops, cafés and market stall holders in Forest Gate.

And it’s not just business owners being ignored: if you don’t live on a street that’s part of the proposed extension you won’t be consulted. Even if parking will get worse because cars are displaced from the RPZ, tough luck.

The reason there’s no public meeting about the proposals is ‘safety’. Make of that what you will, but given the atmosphere in the room I can understand the concern. 

If the zone is extended but residents later decide they don’t like it and want it removed there’s no formal mechanism to do that. We’d have to petition the council and lobby our ward councillors. “It’s never happened in Newham,” I was told.

The consultation closes on 18 July and results will be known by mid-August. A summary of responses (how many participated, how many said yes, how many no etc) will be published. And officers will look at the responses from different areas and make decisions on a street-by-street basis. It isn’t all or nothing.

Other people were raising concerns too – very loudly. Residents on Bective Road were insisting they hadn’t ever received the consultation pack and I spoke to someone from Claremont Road who said the same thing. I’ve also heard via Twitter from people on Chestnut Avenue and Capel Road that  they didn’t get them either. 

One man complained about the introduction of pay-and-display bays outside Woodgrange Cemetery. He said asking people who were coming to bury their dead to pay for parking was “a sick joke.”

Two councillors were at The Gate, Mas Patel of Forest Gate South and Ken Clark of Little Ilford. Councillor Clark lives on Hampton Road and was attending as a resident rather than his official capacity. Both councillors agreed something had gone wrong with the distribution of papers and said they would ask questions. My view is that the integrity of the consultation has been fatally undermined by the failure to provide proper documentation to all resident in good time. If people get them now, after the one and only ‘drop-in’ session has happened, what good is that? Who can they go and ask if they have questions or concerns? The closing date is only two weeks away.

As with so much in Newham, it’s just not good enough.

Forest Gate results

25 May

2014 05 24 17 24 37

Forest Gate North’s new councillors

Forest Gate North

Candidate Party Votes
Ellie Robinson Labour 2324 Elected
Seyi Akiwowo Labour 2126 Elected
Rachel Tripp Labour 2120 Elected
Alan Charles Cooper Green 562
Jane Alison Lithgow Green 559
Shaeb Khan Conservative 548
Dawn Lennon Conservative 490
Brian Maze Conservative 480
Bob Severn TUSC 222
Christian Moon Liberal Democrat 206
Lynn Denise Donaldson Christian Peoples Alliance 174
Christina Doyle Christian Peoples Alliance 146


Forest Gate South

Candidate Party Votes
Masihullah Patel Labour 2209 Elected
Dianne Walls Labour 2095 Elected
Winston Vaughan Labour 2023 Elected
Mahboob Rizu Ahmed Conservative 993
Asif Choudhary Conservative 976
Tim Roll-Pickering Conservative 693
William Heron Liberal Democrat 293
Niall Mulholland TUSC 238
Dieutane Jean Parson Christian Peoples Alliance 179
Malcolm Williamson Christian Peoples Alliance 159
Ionel Vrancianu Independent 101

E7 Now and Then

7 May

E7 Now and Then

A new website about Forest Gate has appeared on the scene – E7 Now and Then.

It’s very new and only has a few posts so far, but I’ll be bookmarking it to see how things develop. There’s also a Twitter account to follow.

Like Woodgrange Web, it has adopted a brown theme that I think looks rather fusty and old-fashioned. Perhaps that’s the point, but it’s not to my tastes.


A Parish Council for Forest Gate?

20 Feb


In 2007, the Government passed legislation which permitted the creation of community councils in London, with the aim of enhancing community governance in urban areas. These new community councils would have similar powers to the parish councils that exist elsewhere across the country.

Central government – both this one and its Labour predecessor – wants to encourage localism, a greater devolution of power and decision making to the lowest possible level. A Government white paper last year set out support for new parish councils and made it clear they wanted to see more councils established to take greater control over local services

Already local residents in Queen’s Park and London Fields have started campaigns to set up their own councils to change their community for the better.

Would it make sense for us to have our own council in Forest Gate?

It wouldn’t mean leaving Newham, just having some powers transferred into the hands of local people and an ability to spend money on the projects we consider priorities. For example, the new council would have to be consulted on any planning applications, such as the one submitted by Obsidian for the re-development of our town centre. The lack of effective planning enforcement is something that has long blighted Forest Gate Town Centre. Other possible powers which could have a positive impact on how we as residents could improve Forest Gate include managing community and leisure centres, establishing a ‘village hall’, street cleansing and community safety. It may even be possible to take over the local parking provision to ensure that it better reflects the needs and desires of the local population. 

The new council would be funded by a precept – an additional amount of money collected alongside the council tax. It might also receive a grant from Newham to enable it fund services it took over from them.

In order to establish a new parish council here Newham, as the ‘Principal Local Authority’, would have to first undertake a ‘community governance review’. They could decide to do this themselves, or we can petition them to do so. If 10% of the electors in the affected area signed the petition Newham would be legally obliged to carry out a review within 12 months. 

Together the existing wards of Forest Gate North and Forest Gate South are home to about 20,000 people, but the area covered by the council need not exactly match those boundaries. However, that makes a sensible starting point for thinking about this.

I think there are exciting possibilities here for local people to re-engage in the governance of our community, but what do you think? Is this an idea worth pursuing? Why not head over to Woodgrange Web and join the debate – http://bit.ly/yKo35I


Wanstead Flats in the snow

5 Feb

on Instagram http://instagr.am/p/oRjUA/ – February 05, 2012 at 11:37AM