Thursday, 25 September 2008

One bit of River Lea saved from tower block hell

Seven Storey Tower Block - REFUSED
The council has refused an application for a horrid cluster of tower blocks.
Essex Wharf - three seven-storey blocks near Lea Bridge Road, would have overshadowed a beautiful section of the River Lea. It has been refused for various reasons: Its unsightly impact, dominating the landscape, the poor quality of the 'affordable' living accommodation, unsustainable local transport provision, and the negative environmental affects on the neighboring Lee Valley Regional Park. Of course the developers might well appeal the decision, but with the current property slump, fingers crossed that they don't!
There are a number of other towerblocks planned beside the Lea near Tottenham Hale and alongside the general Olympic (over)development that is fast transforming the riverside further south. We've won one battle....... but there's still a war going on.

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Big Shot Property Developer visits Walthamstow

Last week property developer Matt Crawford [normally found concreting over farmers fields in Ambridge, or converting the barns of struggling tenant farmers] paid a visit to Walthamstow. Ostensibly he was here to meet his real mother [he was adopted at birth], having tracked her down to an old people's home in The Stow. This first meeting didn't go very well, and to the strains of wailing sirens, the old girl told him he needn't bother visiting again.However, passing back through Walthamstow, wide-boy Crawford [no stranger to making a quick buck from forcing through unpopular and controversial developments] could not have failed to be impressed by the gargantuan tower block, gaudy cinema and hopeless retail development proposed for the Arcade Site by St Modwen. As the Dog Track faded into the distance, one can only assume that he was salivating at the opportunity, and maybe tempted to make another visit to see his long lost mum. Move over St. Modwen, the big boys from Borchester Land are in town.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Queens Market go to City Hall

FtH representatives Barry and Anita supported the Friends of Queens Market [FoQM] outside City Hall where they were petitioning Boris. Here is Barry's report; embedded on the front line.

"A hard core of supporters gathered outside City Hall on a Wednesday morning. We were in good spirits, attracting the attention of busy office workers striding along the Thames walkway to begin their day's toil. When I arrived at 8:45 am a large crowd of Chinese tourists were happy snapping each other with Boris's Bunker as a backdrop. Anita my fellow FtH campaigner arrived shortly thereafter and we fell to discussing the joys and challenges of living in Walthamstow. Anita steadfastly held one end of FtH's banner – no idea who held the other.
The FoQM banner had been unfurled and stretched across a section of crowd barrier. As protesters we naturally stood behind it. By 9:15am a small, tight group of us were quietly explaining their concerns to interested passers by and to a couple of reporters from "The Guardian". They aim to visit the market and do a follow up piece.

Overhead a helicopter hovered and security guards, cleverly impersonating security guards, kept a watchful eye on our small knot of campaigners. Then the megaphone revv'd up, with FoQM organiser Pauline Rowe, quietly haranguing the seagulls and the Thames barges as they passed by.

Apparently the area around City Hall is a non leafleting zone. Surprisingly the FoQM banner stretched across the crowd barrier was classed as a leaflet so it had to be removed. Also we weren't allowed to hand out leaflets but if someone asked for one that was ok.

By 9:30 am, about 10 people had stopped to ask what we were doing there (and why weren't we in an office somewhere doing something useful). An attractive young woman asked me what's it all about and then went on to express her dismay at what was happening to Shepherd Bush with its massive shopping mall overhanging the Green there.

As Mayoral Question Time at 10 am drew near the FoQM activists were briefing and being briefed by their elected representatives. And then they marched in an orderly fashion into the beating heart of London's politics to hear Mayor Boris lay out his policy on dropping lumps of concrete haphazardly on London's thriving communities.

I'm afraid, having got up rather too early for me, your reporter sneaked off for a late breakfast before attempting the rest of the day's challenges."

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