Highams Park Forum
A group of local people all interested in the betterment of life in their area.

News (Current)

Following the planned closure of the Forum at the end of 2019 this website is now mothballed. It will not be updated further but remains as an interesting archive and can be browsed as normal. All Forum functions have transferred to the Highams Park Planning Group. Click here for details

23JUN: New trains coming in 2019


News (Current)

For news archive, click here: News archive
You can also find more news by reading the latest minutes here: Minutes

23rd June 2018 (Updated June 2019)
Details of new trains coming in 2019 (but see below)

A video (see link below) has recently been released showing details of the new trains which will replace the old rolling stock on the Chingford - Liverpool Street line. Its worth a look. Its shows the internals of the trains and explains the design features. At the end it talks about the schedule for rolling out the trains to the different rail lines. Reading between the lines (no pun intended) it sounds like we might see the new trains on our line in mid 2019 (but see below).

UPDATE (June 2019): The mid 2019 date now looks unrealistic. There were problems rolling out the pilot which impacted the delivery schedule for our line. On 23rd May 2019 new trains started running on the Gospel Oak Line, so progress is being made but it is now unlikely that the new trains will appear on our line before 2020. We'll post updates here when we hear more.

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/bw-F7r6qu4s
Link to article with detials of the new trains: Details of New Overground trains


06MAY: The amazing Humphry's is open and doing well


6th May 2018
The amazing Humphry's is open and doing well

On Thursday 26th April 2018 Humphry's opened for the very first time in The Highams Park (the park next to Highams Park lake). This is the result of a colossal community project organised by The Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG). The HPPG was responding to repeated calls by park users for the provision of toilets and a café in the park, and took on the daunting task of renovating and converting a disused park building. It is already proving to be very popular.

The building was originally built as an "ARP Station" during the second world war and after the war was converted to a community centre for the people living in the prefabs in the park. The prefabs were rather like modern day "mobile homes" and were used to temporarily house people whose houses had been bombed. In the 1960s the prefabs were removed and the building was converted to a garage for grounds maintenance machinery (tractors, mowers etc). All the windows and main doors were bricked up at this time. In more recent years the building ceased to be used and became derelict.

And then the HPPG stepped in... Gordon Turpin (Chair of the HPPG) took on the difficult task of bringing together large numbers of local volunteers and businesses to design and create this splendid facility. Gordon's infectious enthusiasm, persuasive ability, and refusal to give in to adversity, drove the project forward to an amazing outcome. The standard of finish is exceptional, especially given the limited financial resources.

The HPPG has set up a CIC (a not for profit Community Interest Company) to sub let the building to a local resident to run commercially as a café with a portion of the profits going back to the CIC. This money will be used by the CIC for the maintenance and improvement of the building and to provide facilities and events in the park.

This whole project is a wonderful model for what a community can achieve when everyone pulls together. If you bump into any of the people involved (and there are a lot of them) you'll find they just can't stop smiling at what they have done. Click the link below to see the 2 page opening announcement which gives an indication as to just how many local people and businesses were involved.
Link: Humphry's Opening Announcement



25AUG: Proposals for Regal development


25th August 2017
Proposals for redevelopment of the old Regal Cinema site

For those of you that were unable to attend the consultation on the proposed development at the Regal, the documents shown to attendees are available via the link below. The open consultation for residents took place in the library on Monday 21st August 2017.

The proposal is for a mixed use scheme with Curzon cinema on the site of The Regal. The scheme includes 3 screens, a restaurant and 34 flats. This proposal has not been formally submitted to the Council as yet so it may be subject to some alterations.

The documents displayed for attendees can be viewed by clicking the link below. This will show 10 documents. Click the first to enlarge it then click the small right pointing arrow to view the documents in turn. There are icons at the bottom of each page for zooming in to see detail.
Link: The proposal documents on view at the consultation on 21st August 2017



26FEB: "La Boite" opens for business


26th February 2017
The Signal Box: 15 years on and a wonderful outcome

The date of 3rd March 2002 might have been a sad day for Highams Park. It was the day Railtrack had scheduled to demolish the Signal Box at the level crossing. Local residents were horrified; the Signal Box is an iconic landmark for the area. The Forum and others rapidly organised a campaign to save it and on 26th February 2002, with just days to spare, Railtrack relented and the Signal Box was saved. It is therefore fitting that we write this news item on the exact day of the 15th anniversary of it being saved.

After 15 problematic years, full of trials and tribulations, we now have a wonderful outcome; the signal box has been transformed into "La Boite" (French for "The Box") an elegant Creperie for drinks and rather delicious posh pancakes (sweet and savoury varieties). "La Boite" opened for some trial days in December of last year but started trading properly just a couple of weeks ago in mid February.

All those years ago, when we were looking at possible uses for the box, one of the most popular suggestions was for a café of some sort. We reasoned that this would be a good solution since it would generate the necessary revenue for the ongoing maintenance and security of the box whilst at the same time making it open to the public for the price of a cup of coffee. But for many years that seemed like a dream that would never happen. Little did we know...

The interior has been fitted out to a high standard. Externally, there is still work to be done but this needs to be synchronised with one of the (infrequent) scheduled "line closure" days. Apparently using aluminium ladders near high voltage overhead cables and moving trains is not a good idea.

Our congratulations go to all the people whose hard work has made this happen.

The pages on this website about the Signal Box have now been updated. The full story of the Signal Box (including the successful outcome) can be read by following the link below:
The Story of the Signal Box



09AUG: Update on proposal to demolish Highams Park's library


9th August 2016
Update re Council proposal to demolish Highams Park's library and rent a smaller space in unused Tesco site

This is a brief update on the current situation (as at 09AUG16) regarding proposals to demolish Highams Park's existing library. This news item continues from where the 16th July item (below) finished, so please read that first.

Following lobbying by residents, the Cabinet decision was "called in" to the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee of the council. This committee would review the Cabinet decision, and a special meeting was set for 3rd August to hear specifically the concerns regarding Highams Park's library (known as "Hale End" library) in the Cabinet decision. The document which Cabinet "agreed in principle", related to 4 library buildings; only Hale End was singled out for review at the Scrutiny Committee.

Council Officers tabled a proposal document to the Scrutiny committee proposing that Hale End should be temporarily excluded ("by up to a year") from the cabinet decision so further engagement could take place with Highams Park residents, particularly to look at whether the ambitions of the Cabinet proposal might be met by the current building.

Several residents and councillors spoke at the Scrutiny committee meeting and the exact wording of the decision of the meeting is set out below (in italics):

1. The Committee noted the report and welcomed:

1.1 The deferral of the proposals for the Hale End library.
1.2 The engagement with users and non- users of Hale End library in the meantime; and
1.3 Noted that no action will be taken to progress the proposals for Hale End library for up to 12 months to enable that engagement to take place.

Accordingly the Committee confirmed the Cabinet decision on this basis and asked the Chair to write to the Leader accordingly.

2. The Committee also:

2.1 Requested that the Audit and Governance Committee consider carrying out a review of the call-in procedure.
2.2 Recorded Councillor Fitzgerald's request (made under paragraph 5.3 of the current Overview and Scrutiny procedure rules) that an item be placed on the relevant scrutiny committee agenda for an update on the Hale End library proposals before any further report is put to Cabinet.

The Highams Park Planning Group is currently in the process of contacting appropriate officers to help coordinate residents' involvement in the engagement process that will now take place regarding Hale End Library.

If you would like to see the documents referred to in this news Item (and the 16th July item), you can view and/or download them by following the links below. The documents are rather large. The first is particularly large (over 400 pages) because it covers several matters being covered in the Cabinet meeting (not just Libraries). The libraries report runs from pages 155 to 350.
1. The Original Proposal document "agreed in principle" by Cabinet 12th July 2016
2. Supplement to the above to correct errors pointed out by residents 12th July 2016
3. The Proposal document put before Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee on 3rd August 2016



16JUL: Council proposal to demolish Highams Park's library


16th July 2016
Council proposal to demolish Highams Park's library and rent a smaller space in unused Tesco site

The Council Cabinet (a group of senior councillors) have approved in principle a plan to demolish Highams Park's Library (confusingly called "Hale End Library"), sell the site, and use the money released to rent smaller premises in an unused commercial unit close to Tesco. The proposal hopes to create funding to pay the rent on the new unit for 15 years but not beyond. The proposal will now go to public consultation before a final decision is taken.

The Highams Park Forum, The Highams Park Society, and The Highams Park Planning Group are all against this proposal and are working to stop it being taken forward. There are problems which the proposal seeks to address but the groups believe there are better ways to address them. The Planning Group's website contains a good explanation of the council's proposals and what we believe are wrong with them. Rather than duplicate this here, please follow this link to the Planning Group's website: HP Planning Group where you will find the latest details in the News section on the left of that page. You will also find a link to the petition to Save our Library which you might like to sign online if you agree with our analysis.



10FEB: Final Report & approval of 20mph speed limit & speed humps in Highams Park


10th February 2016
Final Report & approval of 20mph speed limit & speed humps in Highams Park

The News items below for 27NOV15 and 25SEP15 describe the public consultation on the council's proposal to introduce a 20mph speed limit, enforced by speed humps, in large areas of Highams Park.

The statutory consultation on the scheme took place in December 2015 & January 2016 and council officers then recommended approval of the scheme with some small amendments. The scheme was formally approved and signed off by the council on Friday 5th February 2016 and in announcing that result, it was stated that: "Works will begin imminently".

The council officer's report and the list of objections (with proposed actions to be taken) can by viewed by clicking the links below:
The officer's report to council
The list of objections and actions to be taken



27NOV: Results of consultation on 20mph speed limit & speed humps in Highams Park


27th November 2015
Results of consultation on 20mph speed limit & speed humps in Highams Park

The News item below for 25th September 2015 describes the public consultation on the council's proposal to introduce a 20mph speed limit, enforced by speed humps, in large areas of Highams Park. The results of this consultation were announced yesterday (26th November 2015) together with the council's decision on the subject.

Two links are provided below, one is a document setting out the consultation results (giving the voting road by road), and the second is the text of an email from Cllr Loakes to local ward councillors setting out the council's decision.

The decision by the council is that the proposal will go ahead and the proposed works are expected to be completed by 31st March 2016.

The results document contains one line for each road in the area. They are arranged in clusters of nearby roads and within each cluster they are arranged alphabetically. For each road, in addition to the voting, the document shows whether the scheme will be implemented as originally proposed or whether some adjustment will be made.
The consultation results document
The summary email from Cllr Loakes



25SEP: Consultation on 20mph and speed humps in large areas of Highams Park


25th September 2015
Consultation on 20mph and speed humps in large areas of Highams Park

The council have just launched a consultation on their proposal to implement a widespread 20mph speed limit in Highams Park coupled with the installation of full width speed humps on large numbers of roads. Questionnaires are being delivered to all houses in the area. The maps included with the consultation documents show that it is not just minor roads that are impacted. For example the proposals include the installation of humps in The Avenue, Hale End Road, and additional humps in Larkshall Road.

The proposal is already known to be controversial, with residents taking very pro and very anti positions. As always it is very important for all residents to respond to the consultation so the outcome truly reflects the views of Highams Park residents as a whole and not just those who bothered to respond. The deadline for responses is 12th October 2015 so you need to act quickly. If you have not received your paper copy of the consultation for some reason, please contact the council and request one.

Some residents are known to support the idea of a 20mph speed limit but don't support the idea of speed humps. For them the response to the questionnaire will be very difficult since the survey only allows you to say "yes" or "no" to the whole package. You can't vote for 20mph without also voting for humps.

Two consultation documents impact Highams Park, and they can be viewed by clicking the links below. The "Larkswood area" consultation is included since it impacts roads off Winchester Road as well as those off Larkshall Road.
The "Hale End & Highams Park area" consultation document
The "Larkswood area" consultation document



03SEP: CPZ / Parking Permits
- Results of consultation


3rd September 2015
CPZ / Parking Permits - Results of consultation

The news item below for 19th July 2015 describes the recent consultation by council officers on a proposal for a Residents Parking scheme in some parts of Highams Park. This is sometimes referred to as a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone). The Forum has been advised that the results of the consultation have now been evaluated and the council has decided NOT to progress with a CPZ in the Highams Park Area. The response rate for the households consulted was 44% which is generally considered by the council to be a "high" response for such consultations. The split of the vote was 20% in favour with 80% against. No single road showed a majority in favour of the proposed scheme.



19JUL: CPZ/Parking Permits
Here we go again (fifth time) !


19th July 2015
CPZ / Parking Permits - Here we go again (fifth time) !

The Forum has been advised that council officers are consulting residents of some parts of Highams Park regarding the possible introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone in the area (AKA - Residents Parking Permits). This will be the fifth time such a consultation has been performed. Previous consultations took place in 2001, 2003, 2008, and 2012. In each of these previous cases the proposal was rejected by residents (albeit narrowly in some cases).

The proposed zone covers only part of Highams Park and is shown in the consultation document (link at the bottom of this News item).

The Highams Park Planning Group has told the Forum that it is disappointed that it has not been consulted by council officers prior to them sending out the document. The Planning Group have consulted widely on this matter already and have a good idea of residents' views on the subject. Had officers consulted the Planning Group they may have been able to shape proposals to better match residents' views. The Planning Group is seeking clarification as to why this was not done.

The Forum has debated the subject on numerous occasions and these discussions revealed that the subject is more complex than it first appears. The benefits are easy to see but the downsides are not necessarily immediately obvious. For example:

- Purchasing a permit does not guarantee a parking place.
- Parking capacity in a road can actually be reduced by the scheme. Residents who currently park across their own driveways will not be permitted to do so even if they have a permit so they have to park elsewhere, taking a space.
- Visitors will need to find somewhere to park, go to their friends house, obtain enough visitor's parking permits for the number of hours they are planning to stay, and then go back to their car (wherever they parked it) to display the permits. Same for tradesmen.
- There is no limit on the number of permits per household. If residents have restricted their purchase of additional vehicles because of lack of parking it could allow the purchase of more.
- More front gardens could be lost by encouraging people to pave over their gardens for parking

Residents will need to read the documents fully and think very carefully, weighing up the pros and cons before voting one way or the other.

NOTE: The decision will be based on a simple majority of the views of those who respond to the consultation. No assumption will be made as to the views of those who don't respond. It is therefore very important that as many residents as possible send in responses so the result (whatever it is) is a true reflection of all residents.

The deadline for responses is Monday 10th August 2015.

The consultation document can be viewed here: The CPZ consultation document



25Apr: Final Lake dam works update


25th April 2015
Lake dam safety works complete - Final update

The works on the dam at the lake have now been completed.
The final bulletin can be read here: Dam Works Bulletin (Final Update - 25APR15)

As stated in that bulletin, the completed dam safety works mean:
- The dam can now cope safely with overtopping should we ever experience a major flood event;
- the first time we can reduce lake levels through opening the drawdown pipe;
- the Scout hut's future has been secured through the construction of a new flood wall.


14FEB: New proposals for The Regal


14th February 2015
First view of new proposals for The Regal

Total Security Services (TSS) is a national company and they have long had their headquarters in Highams Park. They had purchased the disused Regal Cinema Building and the adjacent Shelz restaurant building to convert into a new headquarters. Circumstances have now moved on and the following update has been received and passed on to us by The Highams Park Planning Group:

TSS have outgrown their proposed Head Office already and will be re-locating to the industrial units at the back of Tesco. We have been in discussions with the owners of the Regal & Shelz buildings for some time now regarding their plans and have provided them with the details of what local residents would like to see in the buildings. They now have some exciting new outline proposals for these sites and asked us to show them at our Annual General Meeting (12FEB15). Headline details are as follows:

The Two buildings will be developed separately.

a.) Regal Building:
Arthouse Cinema (up to 50 seats) & Bar/Function Room (available as community performance space as well as commercial)
9 Luxury Flats

b.) Shelz Building:
Groundfloor Restaurant
5 Luxury Flats

c.) Existing TSS offices to remain mixed use retail and office

These are currently only outline proposals and wider community engagement is yet to be undertaken.

Artists impressions of the development can be seen by clicking the links below:
Regal Artists Impression 1
Regal Artists Impression 2



14DEC: "Little Libraries" launch 21st DEC


14th December 2014
"Little Libraries" to Launch Sunday 21st December 2014

Highams Park's "Little Libraries" will be launched on Sunday 21st December (the same day as the Christmas Fayre in the shopping centre). "Little Libraries" look like decorative dolls houses positioned in locations easily accessible to passing residents.

The idea is to place any unwanted books in the Little Library where others can borrow them for free. Three of these will be available in front gardens in Highams Park. The poster (see link below) gives the locations and the time of their official openings on 21st December.

The poster publicising the launch can be viewed here: Little Libraries Poster
For more information on how the scheme works see: www.littlefreelibrary.org

The Little Libraries have been created through the efforts of the Arts & Culture Group within the Highams Park Planning Group. The Planning Group was created back in January of this year and now has a membership of around 500 residents. See the entry below (17th July) about the Planning Group and its formal designation.



17JUL: HP Planning Group Formally Designated


17th July 2014
Highams Park Planning Group Formally Designated

The Highams Park Planning Group was created back in January of this year and now has a membership of around 500 residents. Work has been taking place since January with residents working in small groups on various topics to build a plan for Highams Park for now and for the future.

A key step in this process is for the Group (and the area it represents) to be formally recognised by Waltham Forest Council. This process is known as "designation" and the Group received this status at the council's cabinet meeting that took place on the evening of 15th July 2014. This designation holds for 5 years and the Highams Park Planning Group is now the official planning group for the Highams Park Area.

For more information on the Plan and how you can get involved, see their website here:
The Highams Park Plan



17JUL: Highams Park Day 2014 a great success


17th July 2014
Highams Park Day 2014 a great success

Last Saturday (12th July 2014) saw the 7th annual Highams Park Day event take place on Vincent Green. This was generally considered by all (stall holders and visitors) to be the best Highams Park Day yet. The weather was kind, and there were more stalls and activities than ever before. If you didn't manage to get there, Malcolm Skykles has posted a brief video of the event which gives you a flavour. The event was very well attended so I'm a bit puzzled as to where all the people have gone in some of the early shots. Perhaps they ran away when they saw a camera. Keep watching until the closing scenes, Raw Academy doing "Revolting Children" are magic !

You can catch the video by clicking here: HP Day 2014 Video (on YouTube)



23JUN: Doctors Surgery Phone Number


23rd June 2014
Doctors Surgery Phone Number

Handsworth Medical Practice reports that from the 16th June 2014 the surgery will be reverting back to a local rate telephone number. The new telephone number will be : 0203 006 9216

This is good news. Some readers will be aware that until recently the surgery had been using an 0844 number which was proving costly to patients, particularly to those using mobile phones. The new number is a normal (non-premium) number and should be a free call to those people who have inclusive minutes or free calls in their contract.



03JUN: Beautiful Front Gardens


3rd June 2014
Highams Park's Beautiful Front Gardens competition

The Forum is pleased to announce its competition to celebrate the Beautiful Front Gardens of Highams Park. Full details can be found by clicking this link: Front Gardens Competition

You can nominate your Neighbour's Garden or even your own. We are looking for photographs of your favourite local front garden. It could be anything from an unusual plant or feature, to a window box.

Closing date is 31st August 2014 but entries received before Highams Park Day (12th July) will be put on display in the Forum's tent at Highams Park Day.

Photos of the latest nominations can be seen here: Gardens Competition Page



17Feb: Lake dam works consultation


17th February 2014
Lake dam works consultation event (Monday 24th Feb 2014)

The Forum received an email from The Corporation of the City of London (CoL) regarding proposed works to Highams Park lake, in particular the large earth dam at the southern end.

The email states that CoL is hosting a drop in event for residents to provide "further information and engagement" between 16:30 and 20:00 on Monday 24th February 2014 at the Joseph Clarke School, 31 Vincent Rd, London, E4 9PP. At this event, members of the design team, the contractor and representatives from the City of London will be available to show you the design proposals and answer any questions you may have. It will also be an opportunity for you to give further comments which CoL hope to feed back into the detailed design and construction planning.

These works have been mandated by central government to ensure that all lakes meeting certain criteria are able to cope with exceptionally heavy rainfall (a 1 in 10,000 year event) to avoid flooding. This has been on the table for some time and has not been specifically precipitated by recent weather events. CoL state that they have submitted a planning application for the dam improvement works and they expect it to be available to view on the London Borough of Waltham Forest website shortly.

This latest version of the plans shows the Scout's boathouse on the dam being retained, but the small car park being removed.

The CoL have published a newsletter giving more details of the proposals including a diagram of the proposed works. You can view it here:
Lake Works Newsletter February 2014

The email invites residents to contact CoL as follows:
If you have any further questions, please email: damsandponds@cityoflondon.gov.uk
or visit the City of London Website: CoL Highams Park Lake



10FEB: Signal Box - Good progress


10th February 2014
Signal Box - Good progress behind the scenes

If you've been following the long running story of the Signal Box (the building at the level crossing) you might be wondering what is happening behind those blank brick walls. The answer is: A lot! Dendale have been working hard on the interior of the box but since most of this work is invisible from the outside it might look like nothing is happening. This could not be further from the truth.

If you are new to this story, have a look at the item below dated 21st June 2013 to see what its all about.

The box, as handed over, was completely derelict inside. It had an earth floor at ground level and at first floor level there was only a rough floor with a hatch in it. And no staircase! To get to the upper floor you had to climb vertically up the remains of a frame that used to hold signalling equipment. All around was discarded rusty junk left over from when it was last used. It would have been nice if the junk comprised really interesting objects from an earlier period that we could have put on display, but they weren't. Think: "dirty stainless steel sink in a broken MFI unit" and you'll have the right picture in your mind...

And now... All the junk has been cleared out. A proper ground floor has been created and a staircase has been installed. Various structural repairs have been completed and rotten woodwork has been removed for replacement. The rear outside area is being tidied & prepared as a small courtyard garden. A number of other internal tasks are already in progress.

There is still much to be done internally, but its going well. Some external work has to wait until the railway has one of its scheduled weekend closures. [Apparently its not a good idea to climb an aluminium ladder next to the high voltage overhead lines when they are carrying current!].

If all goes according to plan, work should be complete in the middle of 2014.

We look forward to the Grand Unveiling! Watch this space. We'll keep you posted.



27JAN: HP Plan - Off to a flying start !


27th January 2014
The Highams Park Plan - Off to flying start !

On Friday 17th January 2014, the first General Meeting of the Highams Park Planning Group took place. The meeting was extremely well attended (the venue, All Saints Church Hall, was full), and this formally marks the start of the project.

Those of you who have been following this story will know that Highams Park has received a £20k grant from central government to help residents create a plan for the future, covering all aspects of life in Highams Park. This plan will be created by the residents for the residents. A launch event was held 16th November 2013 to explain the idea and ask residents if they would be prepared to be involved. The group of residents organising the event were overwhelmed by the level of support (around 400 people attended the launch event). Well over 300 residents signed up to be members of the planning group, offering to participate at various levels, depending on their availability.

The next step was to create a formal body to create the plan. This was the purpose of the General Meeting on 17th January. The meeting unanimously approved:
a) a constitution for the group and
b) the boundary around Highams Park which defines the area which the plan will cover.

The meeting then unanimously elected a Coordinating Committee of 11 members (incl. Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer).

The main work of the group will be performed by 11 Topic Working Groups. Each made up of a number of members interested in a specific topic. These groups were agreed at the end of the General Meeting and attendees signed up for roles in one or more groups. They then agreed the dates and times of their first meetings. The creation of the plan has truly started !

The Planning Group has its own section of this website, here: The Highams Park Plan
Please follow that link for more information. New members wishing to get involved are always welcome. Please get in touch with the group via the contact details on their page.



26JAN: Farmers' Market to continue


26th January 2014
Farmers' Market to continue after success of trial

The Farmer's Market has set up at the station (on the 4th Sunday in the month) four times since October. These four initial sessions were planned as a trial to see how it went. We are pleased to see that the experiment has been deemed a success by the organisers and the market will continue into 2014 (on the 4th Sunday of each month).

The dates for the market are (10am - 3pm) :
23rd February
23rd March
27th April
25th May
22nd June
27th July

For more details please contact the organiser, Mike Allen on 01245 348 335
or email: contact@essexfarmersmarkets.co.uk
or visit their website: www.essexfarmersmarkets.co.uk



03JAN: New rolling stock for Chingford to Liverpool St line


3rd January 2014
New rolling stock for Chingford to Liverpool St line

A Forum member has drawn our attention to an interesting article on the "TransportXtra" website. It would appear that our railway will be getting new rolling stock in 2015. This is a byproduct of TfL taking over the line (see news item for 6th July 2013 below). The text of the TransportXtra article reads as follows:

Transport for London is planning to procure 30 new electric multiple unit (EMU) trains to replace 30-year old EMUs operating on the inner suburban West Anglia train services (Enfield Town, Cheshunt via Seven Sisters, and Chingford), which will transfer to TfL's management in 2015. The procurement is likely to be combined with that for EMUs for the Barking-Gospel Oak line, which is to be electrified.

Source link: TransportXtra Web Page



19OCT: Farmers' Market to commence Sunday 27th Oct 2013


19th October 2013
Farmers' Market to start in Highams Park on Sunday 27th October 2013

A brand new farmers' market is opening in Highams Park from the end of October, thanks to a campaign from local people to bring fresh local produce to the area, and help boost local trade.

The first monthly Highams Park Farmers' Market will take place in the NCP Car Park at Highams Park Station (alongside The Avenue) from 10am - 3pm on Sunday October 27, and subsequent markets will take place on the fourth Sunday of every month.

The market follows the success of the Farmers' Market in North Chingford, where the local community also successfully campaigned to bring a market to the town.

The market is the result of Mike Allen, new owner of Essex Farmers' Markets, working closely with the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the Highams Park Forum and local Councillors Cllr Darshan Sunger, Cllr Sheree Rackham and Cllr Paul Braham. Mike is optimistic that the market will replicate the success of the North Chingford Market, where trade has been consistently busy. "We hope the Highams Park market receives the same level of support to make the market a real success."

"Along with Farmers' Market staples such as free range eggs, fresh bread, fresh fish, locally produced meat, fruit and vegetables, visitors will also find a fabulous selection of free range chicken, freshly made pies, curry sauces, cheese, olives, plants and flowers, honeys and jams, and of course cakes and other delicious baked treats - all high quality produce, with an emphasis on local. Everything on sale can be traced back to its source and the quality is superb. The prices are very reasonable too and many of the stallholders encourage customers to try before they buy."

Mike adds, "The important thing about Essex Farmer's Markets has always been about bringing great quality local produce to local people - it will be no different at Highams Park and we hope local people will show their support."

Highams Park Farmers' Markets 2013-14 dates - 4th Sunday Monthly
Sunday 27 October
Sunday 24 November
Sunday 22 December
Sunday 26 January

For more details please contact Mike Allen on 01245 348 335 or email contact@essexfarmersmarkets.co.uk



06JUL: TfL to take over Chingford to Liverpool St line


6th July 2013
TfL to take over Chingford to Liverpool St line

We understand that Transport for London is to take over the Chingford to Liverpool Street rail line by 2015. This is potentially very good news. One commentator said: "From 2015 you may start getting nicer stations, better trains and more frequent services". It would be hoped that this will also resolve the fare anomaly experienced by Pay As You Go Oyster passengers where they pay a different fare (usually more) from Highams Park (zone 4) than normal TfL zone 4 stations.

Details of the announcement can be found on the BBC news website here: BBC News Report



21JUN: Signal Box future secure


21st June 2013
Signal Box future secure

The Forum received some great news today. After more than 10 years of effort and campaigning, the future of the iconic signal box at the level crossing is finally secure. It will soon be refurbished, put to good use, and will open to the public on special open days.

It was back in 2002 that Network Rail switched control of the level crossing to the Liverpool Street Station control centre and no longer required the signal box to house the operator. The box was scheduled for demolition on 3rd March 2002. With one week to spare, the Forum (with the assistance of MP Iain Duncan Smith) managed to get a stay of execution and formed The Highams Park Signal Box Association to manage the future of the box.

Since that time, numerous attempts by the Association to establish a practical, properly funded, long term use, have come to nothing for a variety of practical reasons. Today sees the end of the story. Dendale Construction Ltd (based in Highams Park) with the full approval of the Association and the Forum have just signed a long lease with Network Rail to refurbish the box and use it sympathetically as an office/show room. They specialise in the repair and refurbishment of period buildings so are ideally placed to take on this task.

Dennis Swain of Dendale, stated today that they hope to begin work in the following months to "create a great new facility that will remain a legacy & iconic landmark for Highams Park." He continues: "... the improvement & repairs that will be carried out to this building will demonstrate how we can turn a difficult & expensive refurbishment project on a derelict & neglected building into a modern, iconic premise. The works will be a sympathetic & high quality refurbishment, intended to retain the original features & statement that this Railway Signal Box represents for Highams Park and I am proud to be involved."

The Forum and the Association will enthusiastically liaise with Dendale as the works proceed.



16MAY: Updated Blue Plaque.


16th May 2013
Johnny Dankworth blue plaque updated - Ceremony

An updated Blue Plaque was unveiled on Monday (13th May) on the former home of the late jazz musician Sir John Dankworth (Aka "Johnny") in Highams Park. The ceremony was attended by members of his family including his wife Cleo Laine. The link below displays the article in the Waltham Forest Guardian describing the event and the second link runs a short Youtube video of the unveiling.

Read more about it here: WF Guardian article
Short Youtube video of the ceremony: Youtube video



04Apr: Regal to get a new owner.
Photo: As it was in 1911
as The Electric Theatre.


4th April 2013
The Regal gets a new owner

A report in the Waltham Forest Guardian states that the old Regal Cinema is to get a new owner. The article states that the premises will be used as offices for a local business.

Read more about it here: WF Guardian article



10Jan: New Farmers Market for Station Road, North Chingford


10th January 2013
New Farmers' Market in North Chingford

We understand that a new farmers' market (run by Essex Farmers Markets) will be starting on Sunday 13th January 2013 and will be open between 10.00 am and 3.00pm.

There will be approx 20 stalls including meat, wet fish, veg and bread and will be on the wide pavement between Buxton Rd and Willow St in Station Road, North Chingford.



10Jan: Fixmystreet website


10th January 2013
Fix my street website

A resident has drawn our attention to an interesting Website. Its called "Fix My Street" and it enables people to easily report problems they spot around the local area. It is independent of LBWF and enables people to see what problems have been reported in the area and which have been dealt with. Copies of reports lodged with the website are instantly sent to LBWF to be resolved.

All sorts of issues can be reported: fly-tipping, damaged pavements, blocked drains etc.

You can try putting in your postcode and see what people have reported near you.

Here is a link to the site:



29NOV: 15 minutes free parking arrives


29th November 2012
15 minutes free parking arrives

Our local councillors and the Highams Park Forum have long campaigned for "15 minutes free parking" in the chargeable roadside parking bays in the centre of Highams Park. The idea was to assist local shops by making it easier for "drive-by shoppers" to pop in on their journeys'. The realisation of this has been a (very) long saga over several years, but has now come to fruition.

Cllr Sheree Rackham emailed the Forum yesterday with the good news:

I am pleased to announce that the 15 minute free parking scheme in the existing parking bays in Highams Park that Cllrs Darshan Sunger, Paul Braham and myself have been trying to introduce since we were first elected has now gone ahead and is now operational.

Laminated notices have been attached to the parking bay signs and explain the change in rules. These notices are purely temporary and will be replaced by new permanent signage in due course.

Anyone who has been following this matter via the Forum's minutes will have seen how an apparently simple request can be more complicated than you imagine. For example: The new regulations mean a larger sign. The new (larger) sign would be at a level where people could bang their heads. This means that the poles need to be dug up to be replaced by taller poles. These poles need to be paid for etc. etc. The Forum has witnessed the tireless efforts of our local councillors in meeting after meeting trying to move the project forward over a series of frustrating obstacles.



08NOV: CPZ/Parking Permits
Rejected by poll


8th November 2012
CPZ / Parking Permits - Rejected by poll

The results of the voting on the proposed Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ or Residents' Parking Permits) for Highams Park have been announced. Voting closed on 5th November and to quote Cllr Loakes:

...with a 43% turnout which is very high. Overall it was 36% in favour and 64% against if we take the whole area...

We understand that all roads voted against except three which were narrowly "For" (by one or two votes) and two roads were tied. Prior to the vote it had been suggested by council officers that even if the overall vote was negative then if a group of roads voted "For" it might be possible to implement a small CPZ just covering the "For" roads. However, to quote Cllr Loakes again:

As a result of there being no real identifiable area in support of a CPZ being introduced, it is not proposed to progress with a CPZ in the Highams Park area, as a result of this exercise.

People have been impressed by the high level of voting, ensuring that the result is properly representative of residents' views. In some roads the percentage voting was extremely high. For example in Coolgardie Avenue, 75% of households voted.



27Oct: Revised proposed boundary no longer splits Highams Park


27th October 2012
Revised proposed boundary no longer splits Highams Park

In September 2011 the Boundary Commission published proposals for consultation for new Parliamentary Constituency boundaries for the election of MPs. The recommendations are due to be put before Government in 2013 (for the expected 2015 General Election). The changes proposed in 2011 split Highams Park across two constituencies and joined Edmonton to Chingford. A item on this website's News page dated 16th September 2011 explains that proposal and also explains the existing constituency boundaries.

Numerous residents responded to the consultation, pointing out the problems. As a result, a new proposal has been put forward by the Commission and they are seeking comments by 10th December 2012. This new proposal is a significant change from the original and now has the whole of Highams Park in one constituency. A map showing the proposed boundary for the "Chingford" constituency can be seen by clicking this link (be patient, it can be slow to load):
New proposed boundary

Full details of all the proposed changes can be found here:
Boundary Commission website



12OCT: CPZ/Parking Permits
Here we go again!


12th October 2012
CPZ / Parking Permits - Here we go again!

The Forum has been advised that Council Officers plan to consult some of the residents of Highams Park regarding the possible introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone in the area (AKA - Residents Parking Permits). This will be the fourth time such a consultation has been performed. Previous consultations took place in 2001, 2003 and 2008. In each of these previous cases the proposal was rejected by residents (albeit narrowly in some cases).

The proposed zone covers only part of Highams Park and from the attached documents it is not totally clear as to whether the consultation will be extended to residents outside the zone.

The Forum has debated the subject on numerous occasions and these discussions revealed that the subject is more complex than it first appears. The benefits are easy to see but the downsides are not necessarily immediately obvious. For example:

- Purchasing a permit does not guarantee a parking place.
- Parking capacity in a road can actually be reduced by the scheme. Residents who currently park across their own driveways will not be permitted to do so even if they have a permit so they have to park elsewhere, taking a space.
- Visitors will need to find somewhere to park, go to their friends house, obtain enough visitor's parking permits for the number of hours they are planning to stay, and then go back to their car (wherever they parked it) to display the permits. Same for tradesmen.
- More front gardens could be lost by encouraging people to pave over their gardens for parking

Residents will need to read the documents fully and think very carefully, weighing up the pros and cons before voting one way or the other.

NOTE: The decision will be based on a simple majority of the views of those who respond to the consultation. No assumption will be made as to the views of those who don't respond. It is therefore very important that as many residents as possible send in responses so the result (whatever it is) is a true reflection of all residents.

The deadline for responses is Monday 5th November 2012.

Links to copies of the 3 consultation documents are given below:

The consultation letter (contains the details and costs to residents)
The map of the consultation area
The council document where the idea was put forward. [Sorry, need to rotate to read]



17Sep: Tesco Jobs Press Release


17th September 2012
Tesco Press Release re Jobs

Tesco today issued a press release regarding its recruiting campaign . All job posts have now been filled. You can read the press release here: Tesco Press Release



07Sep: Tesco Opening Details


7th September 2012
Tesco Opening Details

At last night's Community Ward Forum meeting in Longshaw Primary School, Tesco representatives attended to answer questions and to brief residents on the forthcoming opening of the new store in Highams Park. Listed below are some of the points covered:

- The store will open for the first time at 8am on Thursday 4th October 2012.
- The normal opening hours will be 6am to midnight each day except Sunday which is 11am to 5pm.
- Car park has 350 spaces on two levels (basement and ground floor).
- Car park can be used free for 3 hours (even if not shopping in Tesco).
- This was originally just 2 hours but has been extended to 3 hours following consultation.
- Security staff will patrol the perimeter of the store and the car park 24hours a day.
- There will be 4 large delivery lorries per day plus some smaller trucks/vans.
- They will consult on changing early deliver time for fresh produce.
- Tesco have appointed one of their staff (Claire) as "Community Champion".
- She has 20hrs a week allocated to assisting local people/charities with projects.
- Tesco can be approached for community support via councillors.
- The store will provide 210 jobs (mixture of full and part time).
- Aim is to give the jobs to local people.
- Job applicants should get an application form from Unit 3, James Yard, Larkshall Road.
- Store is primarily Grocery orientated plus a Costa Coffee shop. Small sections for other goods.
- 14 houses and 80 flats are complete and people are moving in.
- 18 flats above the front of the store will become available next month.
- A further 141 houses and flats will become available in stages, completing November 2013.
- There are 10 retail units of which half are now taken.

In response to a suggestion from Cllr Sunger, the store manager stated that he would be prepared to let local groups use their meeting/training rooms.

Attendees again raised the problem of Traffic problems. Response was:
- Some Section 106 money has been retained to adjust traffic management measures based on experience post opening.
- Tesco plan to monitor traffic post opening and will talk to network rail about the possibility of optimising level crossing barrier closures.
- Councillors will meet regularly with Tesco in the period following the opening to ensure any evolving issues are dealt with.



05JUL: Highams Park to Stratford rail link?


5th July 2012
Highams Park to Stratford rail link?

A report has been published proposing expansion of the rail services in the Lea Valley. It includes the reopening of Lea Bridge Station and the creation of a link between the Chingford - Liverpool Street line and Stratford. Readers may know this later proposal as "The Hall Farm Curve", the section of embankment south-west of St James Street station which would be the site of new track to link the two existing lines.

But don't hold your breath, the timetable in the report recommends: "2016: Initial stance on project priorities in 2019-24, incl case for Chingford-Stratford".

If you'd like to read the full report you can download it as a PDF document by using the link below. It consists of 24 well set out and colourful pages and the section on Chingford-Stratford is towards the end.

Lea Valley Rail report



20Jan: Changes to library hours


20th January 2012
Changes to library hours announced

Starting on Monday 23rd January 2012 the opening hours of Hale End Library (Highams Park's library in Castle Ave) will be as follows:

Hale End library
Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Wednesday 10am - 6pm
Thursday CLOSED
Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm

For more details and for details of the opening hours of the other LBWF libraries then click here: LBWF - Libraries

If you've been following the debate on library hours throughout 2011 you will remember that residents were consulted by the library service as to which of three patterns of opening hours they preferred. The three patterns were denoted as A, B and C. The pattern that has been adopted matches none of these patterns but is probably closest to "B" which was the most popular choice.



16Sep: Proposed boundary changes split Highams Park


16th September 2011
Proposed boundary changes split Highams Park

The Boundary Commission has published (13SEP11) its proposals for new Parliamentary Constituency boundaries for the election of MPs. The recommendations are due to be put before Government in 2013 (for the expected 2015 General Election) and the Commission is requesting comments on the proposals by 5th December 2011. The changes impact Highams Park.

The timing of the release of the proposals means that the Forum has not yet had a chance to debate them at a meeting. The comments below are just some initial observations.

Parliamentary Constituencies are formed by grouping together a number of wards. The boundary of what we consider to be Highams Park does not fall neatly along ward boundaries. Instead it is contained, to varying extents, within 4 wards:
1) Hatch Lane Ward (HL)
2) Larkswood Ward (LW)
3) Hale End and Highams Park Ward (HEHP)
4) Chapel End Ward (CE)

The groupings (current and proposed) are (using the ward abbreviations shown in brackets above):

CURRENT constituencies
(HL)+(LW)+(HEHP) = Chingford and Woodford Green. Sitting MP = Iain Duncan Smith
(CE) = Walthamstow. Sitting MP = Stella Creasy

This means that, currently, nearly the whole of Highams Park is within one constituency, the exception being a small area south of the River Ching in Winchester Road in (CE) ward.

PROPOSED constituencies
(HL)+(LW) = Chingford and Edmonton
(HEHP)+(CE) = Walthamstow

This means Highams Park will be split across two constituencies. For example, the station will straddle the constituencies, with the northbound platform in one constituency and the southbound platform in the other. Whether this split is a problem or an opportunity will doubtless be the subject of debate.

The grouping of the Chingford wards with Edmonton wards also seems a little arbitrary especially since the Commission's own document states: "In considering how to group London boroughs, we noted that the River Lee forms a natural boundary".

[The relevant maps and report were originally posted here but have been removed because they have been superseded. See entry for 27th October 2012 above for newer versions.]



07Sep: Tesco Nuggets from CWF meeting


7th September 2011
Tesco nuggets from CWF meeting

The following nuggets of information were gleaned from a presentation by Tesco representatives at last night's (6th Sept) Community Ward Forum meeting. Those residents not present may be interested. In no particular order:
- 1st social/affordable housing will be handed over January 2012
- Homezone housing will be complete March 2012
- Store will open late 2012
- If PCT is not taken forward (due to NHS changes) £800k will go to LBWF for health spending
- Home delivery service will not operate out of the store, so no additional vehicle movements
- On a peak day there will be 4-5 articulated lorry deliveries to the store
- A lot of vehicle movements will take place during the excavation of the store's basement car park
- The car park will allow 3 hours free parking even if not shopping in Tesco
- There are expected to be 200 new jobs in the store. Priority will be given to local people.



02SEP: Highams Park wins planning grant


2nd September 2011
Highams Park wins £20,000 grant to develop Neighbourhood Plan

Highams Park has been selected as one of a small number of communities in the UK to receive a grant to assist residents (in conjunction with council officers) in being the first to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. This is part of a central government initiative to give local communities more control of the planning process in their areas.

LBWF submitted a bid for Highams Park to receive the funding and the submission was endorsed by the Highams Park Forum and the Highams Park Society. One of the key drivers in Highams Park being chosen for the bid was the existence of a very active base of residents who could participate in the building of the plan.

The Communities & Local Government website has just announced that Highams Park has been successful with its bid. More details can be read here: www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1975278



20Jun: Deliveries of local grown fruit & veg to start in Highams Park


20th June 2011
Deliveries of local grown fruit & veg to start in Highams Park

OrganicLea is a local workers co-op growing fruit and veg on a not-for-profit basis. They have just announced that they plan to start deliveries in Highams Park. The organisation is based in Chingford and Walthamstow and volunteering opportunities available.
Their information sheet states:

Fruit and Vegetables
Delivered locally every week?

A bag of produce chosen for your budget and family size, grown organically, often here in Waltham Forest. Prices start at £4 a week, more info at www.organiclea.org.uk

Email box@organiclea.org.uk
or call 020 8558 6880 and tell us you're from Highams Park. Thank You! Speak to you soon!



16Jun: Major works planned for the lake


16th June 2011
Major works planned for Highams Park Lake

A forum member noticed an interesting passage in the Epping Forest staff newsletter dated May 2011. The article reads as follows:

***** Start Quote ******
Highams Park Lake
Following the Panel Engineer's visit there are going to be major works to the Highams Park Lake area over the next 3 years. Highams Park has been upgraded to a Category A Reservoir, which means that flooding at the site has the potential to cause deaths. We would like to ensure that any work undertaken is sensitive to the Repton landscape, which is a Red Book Landscape. The existing dam will need to be raised and it will no doubt prove to be a challenge to do this sympathetically to the Repton landscape.

***** End Quote ******

The dam referred to is the large earth/gravel bank in front of the boathouse. This was installed by landscape architect Humphrey Repton in the late 1700's to artificially create the lake.

The Forum will try to find out more and try to ensure residents get the chance to have their say on any changes.



21Apr: 1st Dual Community Ward Forum
(Photo: Sunrise over Highams Park)


21st April 2011
Dual Community Ward Forum in Highams Park

The news item dated 20NOV10 below describes how Community Ward Forums have replaced Community Councils. These meetings are an opportunity for residents to get together with councillors and council officers to discuss plans, strategy and problems at a very local level.

Most Community Ward Forums are being held for the residents of just one ward. An exception is being made in Highams Park as the councillors of the two main wards of Highams Park thought it would be helpful to have one meeting for the two wards.

As a result the first Community Ward Forum for Hale End and Highams Park ward + Hatch Lane ward will take place as follows:
Tuesday 24th May 2011, 7pm - 9pm
Highams Park School, Handsworth Avenue, Highams Park, E4 9PJ

Each ward has a £10k fund to spend on projects nominated by residents. The Community Ward Forums will decide how this money will be spent.

It is rather unfortunate that there is now considerable scope for confusion with the Highams Park Forum bearing a name similar to this Community Ward Forum. We will need to be careful in using the term "The Forum" since this will be ambiguous in future.



21APR: New ZigZag for Nursery


21st April 2011
New Zig Zags in Handsworth Avenue

The Forum recommended to the council via ward councillors that yellow zig zag lines should be added to Handsworth Avenue outside the Nursery. Following a period of public consultation these were added yesterday (20th April). See photo (left). It is hoped that this will add to the safety of youngsters travelling to and from the nursery by discouraging thoughtless parking



21APR: BT Fibre rollout started


21st April 2011
Fibre Optic Broadband rollout started

We reported in a news item dated 9th November 2009 that Highams Park had been chosen for a Super Fast Broadband Trial using "Fibre To The Premises" technology (FTTP), where fibre optic cables are run all the way into homes and businesses instead of using traditional copper cables. This approach removes the technical limitations associated with providing fast broadband over copper. (See that news item for more details.)

BT have now started to officially market this technology to customers under the brand name "BT Infinity". We understand that Highams Park exchange is in the process of being upgraded for this and it will soon become generally available. The following website enables people to check availability and register interest (consumers or small business):


Unfortunately the exchange boundary straddles the North Circular Road and chunks of Highams Park proper may not be covered initially.



11Mar: Interesting change to recycling arrangements


11th March 2011
Interesting change to recycling arrangements

The Forum understands that some interesting developments are underway that change the method by which household recycling will be collected.

From Monday 11th April 2011, recycling materials will not need to be sorted, either by residents or by operatives at the kerbside. Sorting will take place later in a factory setting. This brings a number of advantages: faster progress of the collection lorry, less mess, and better quality sorting.

In October 2011 green recycling wheelie bins will be introduced. Residents should continue to use the normal black boxes until then.



03Feb: Tesco development to go ahead


3rd February 2011
Tesco development to go ahead

Back in 2003 Tesco started the process of applying for planning permission to redevelop the former C&A site on Larkshall Road near the level crossing. In the intervening years there have been objections, appeals, revisions to plans, and complete redrawing of plans. But now the Forum understands that the saga has finally reached a conclusion. In the past few days LBWF and Tesco have signed documents that mean that the development will finally go ahead.

Given the long running nature of this application, readers could be forgiven for forgetting exactly what this development will look like. If you want to refresh your memory, the following link points to a website, set up by Tesco, which shows the plans: www.highamsgreen.co.uk

Council officers have produced a two page briefing note for councillors which summarises what has been agreed. The Forum received a copy of this today and it can be read by clicking this link: Briefing Document

The Forum has tracked the progress of the Tesco planning applications since day 1. The Forum was never against the principle of a Tesco development on the site, but believed that any development should be of a scale appropriate to Highams Park and that it should enhance the shopping centre rather than harm it. The early plans for the site failed on both counts: a huge ugly store, badly integrated into the centre, and having a major impact on the adjacent housing. The latest plans (though still too large in the Forum's opinion) are a massive improvement over the earlier plans and the Forum is pleased that its activities (in conjunction with other campaigners) contributed to the improvements in the plans we see today.

The Forum will continue to monitor this development and will seek to maximise the benefit of the development to Highams Park whilst minimising the downsides.



28Jan: Pothole reporting for techy types


28th January 2011
Pothole reporting for techy types

We are informed by council officers that they appreciate residents' help in reporting potholes to them. They say that residents are their eyes and ears; if they don't know the potholes are there then they can't do anything about them. Council officers consider a pothole to be significant and deserve urgent attention if it is 40mm or more deep.

You can of course report them to Waltham Forest Direct, but if you are of a techy persuasion then you might be interested in a phone app to do it! The relevant links are below:
Explanation here: www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/27/iphone_app_pothole_spotter
iPhone app here: www.fillthathole.org.uk/iphone




For older news, click here: News in 2010
For news archive, click here: News archive

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