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

Highams Park - Odds & Ends

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



Highams Park - Odds & Ends

This page contains miscellaneous pieces of information which residents of Highams Park might find useful.

It is hoped that it will grow over time from this basic start.

Readers are urged to send us contributions via the "Contact us" link at the top of this page. Also via this link please report any inaccuracies, out-of-date information, or links that no longer work. Thanks.

This is a long web page. You can use these links to jump to an item of interest on the page:

  1. Where exactly is the official boundary of Highams Park?
  2. Has the Ordnance Survey got Highams Park in the wrong place?
  3. Postal Address format
  4. What Wards make up Highams Park?
  5. What Ward do I live in?
  6. How can I meet a Councillor for my ward? (Councillor surgeries)
  7. What happened to "Community Councils"?
  8. What "Community Ward Forums" cover Highams Park?
  9. Safer Neighbourhoods teams - Contact details
  10. Halls & Rooms for hire in Highams Park
  11. How far is a walk round the Lake?
  12. Who are the different residents' groups in Highams Park with very similar names?
  13. What happened to the organ that used to be in The Regal Cinema?
  14. Police contact details - What number to ring for what
  15. What do I do if I am bothered by noise?
  16. Zero longitude and the secret of the Station Garden
  17. Support for vulnerable people during power cuts
  18. Links for Live Train information
  19. The IRM Plaque in Hale End Road

Where exactly is the official boundary of Highams Park?

This is a tricky question because, strictly speaking, there is no official boundary of Highams Park!

The railway station which we now know as "Highams Park Station" went through a number of name changes until it settled on the current name. Its name was intended to make it easier for inner city dwellers to find the correct stop for days out to "The Highams Park" with its forest and lake.

As houses grew up around the station, residents called the area in which they lived "Highams Park". Thus (surprisingly) the area is named after the station and not the other way round.

The Highams Park Forum needed a working definition for the boundary of Highams Park and so has adopted an approximate circle, with a radius of just over half a mile, centred on the station.

BUT, if you think you live in Highams Park, then you probably do! No one can say you don’t.

The Highams Park Planning group has had to formally define a boundary for their work. Their boundary however (for practical reasons) includes some streets which would almost certainly not be considered by their residents to be in what would conventionally be called Highams Park.

The Planning Group's boundary can be seen here: HPPG-Boundary
(together with a description of why it has been placed where it is)
The Highams Park Planning Group is described here: HPPG

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Has the Ordnance Survey got Highams Park in the wrong place?

Surprising but true: Unless your Ordnance Survey map is the very latest edition it will show Highams Park in the wrong place.

Landranger map 177 and Explorer Map 174 both show the centre of Highams Park in the fields near the Crooked Billet roundabout between Nelson Road and the North Circular Road. The Forum has maps dated 1970 and 2000 and they both have the error, so it likely that the error has been present for over 40 years.

Other maps, such as those produced by Collins, have the centre of Highams Park correctly placed next to the station.

Since many government agencies and other bodies use these base maps to construct their own special purpose maps (and make decisions based on them) this was of great concern to the Forum.

The Forum notified the Ordnance Survey of this long standing error and they responded as follows on 20th September 2004:

"Further to your recent enquiry regarding the above I can confirm that your comments have been noted on our system and will be considered when the map is next revised. Explorer 174 is due to be revised and published in summer 2006."

The Forum can now report that as at 17th May 2008 the error has been corrected and Highams Park is shown in the correct place after over 40 years. Exactly when the correction was applied is not known, but the map which can be viewed on the Ordnance Survey website is now correct.

Unfortunately it may take time before the change percolates through to all the users of the base data.

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Postal Addresses

The official Post Code Database used by many companies appears to translate all E4 post codes to "Chingford" with no mention of Highams Park. Although apparently a trivial matter, the Forum believes that this contributes to the problem of lack of recognition for Highams Park as a discreet area and the need for the resources that go with that. Members would encourage residents to use the words "Highams Park" in their postal addresses and they report no problems with addresses of the form:

123, The Street
Highams Park

When completing forms, "Highams Park" becomes the TOWN and "London" becomes the COUNTY.

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What Wards make up Highams Park?

Councillors are elected to the council of the London Borough of Waltham Forest based on Electoral Wards. Three councillors are elected for each Ward.

Highams Park is covered by four wards:

1) Hatch Lane Ward
2) Larkswood Ward
3) Hale End and Highams Park Ward
4) Chapel End Ward

If you would like to see the boundaries of these wards, a good website is:
but it is potentially a bit confusing. Here’s a few tips:

  • After clicking the above link, press the "Launch map of Great Britain" button found on the right if you scroll down.
  • Click on the "Boundary" tab on the left.
  • In the left hand pane, scroll down and click to put a tick in the box next to "London Borough Wards".
  • Enter your post code in the search box at the top of the screen and press Enter.
  • Use the + and - buttons of the zoom control on the left to change the size of the map.
  • The boundaries of the wards are shown by the purple lines.
  • To find the name of a particular ward, click within its boundary. It will shade itself in pale orange and the name of the ward will appear at the top of the screen.

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What Ward do I live in?

There is an easy way to find out the name of the ward in which you live by following these steps:

  • Click on this link: myplace.walthamforest.gov.uk
  • Enter your postcode (in the box on the left under My Place) and press Enter.
  • Click on your house number in the list that appears.
  • Click on the tab "Places and services near me" just above the map.
  • Your ward will be shown together with lots of other relevant information.

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How can I meet a Councillor for my ward? (Councillor surgeries)

Ward councillors hold surgeries at regular intervals to meet residents of their ward.

To find the dates and times of the surgeries for your councillors, follow the instructions in the "What ward do I live in?" in section (above). This will show the names of the councillors for your ward. Click on the name of the councillor and it will give their details and their surgery times.

It is not usually necessary to make an appointment, but it is important to take along all relevant correspondence regarding the problem to be discussed.

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What happened to "Community Councils"?

"Community Councils" were replaced in 2011 by "Community Ward Forum's" (see explanation in the next item below).

LBWF originally divided the borough into six Community Councils. Each Community Council comprised a group of Wards and met several times a year at local venues for residents of the Wards which comprise it.

Highams Park straddled the boundaries of three Community Councils as follows:

1) North Chingford Community Council (for Hatch Lane Ward)
2) South Chingford & Highams Park Community Council (for Larkswood Ward, and Hale End and Highams Park Ward)
3) Walthamstow West (for Chapel End Ward)

The new "Community Ward Forums" are generally based around single wards (with some exceptions).

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What "Community Ward Forums" cover Highams Park?

"Community Ward Forums" were introduced in 2011 to replace "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.

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

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 two of the main wards of Highams Park thought it would be helpful to have one meeting for their two wards.

As a result, three Community Ward Forums cover Highams Park:

1) Hatch Lane Ward joint meeting with Hale End and Highams Park Ward
2) Larkswood Ward
3) Chapel End Ward

In 2015, 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.

For details of all LBWF Community Ward Forum's (incl. details of dates and venues for meetings) click the link below:
Community Ward Forum Details

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Safer Neighbourhoods teams - Contact details

Safer Neighbourhoods is about local policing; police and partners working with you, to identify and tackle issues of concern in your neighbourhood.

Each team is normally made up of Police and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Their aim is to listen and talk to you, and find out what affects your daily life and feelings of security. These might be issues such as anti-social behaviour, graffiti, noisy neighbourhoods, yobs or vandalism. Then, they work in partnership with you and other agencies to find a lasting solution.

The Safer Neighbourhoods teams are organised by Electoral Ward (see above). To contact your ward team, proceed as follows:
1) Click this link: www.met.police.uk
2) Enter your postcode into the box below the words "Find your area"
3) A page will appear for your ward. If you scroll to the bottom you'll find details of the team, where you can drop in for a chat, and how you can contact them.

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Halls & Rooms for hire in Highams Park

The Forum has collated a list of Halls and Rooms available for hire in Highams Park.
Click here to view the list

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How far is a walk round the Lake?

At Highams Park Day a visitor asked the question "How far do I walk when I walk round Highams Park Lake?". We didn't know the answer so we set about finding out. We used Google Earth which has a feature where you can plot a series of points and it measures the distance.

And the answer is........ If you start on the landing stage and walk close to the lake until you come back to where you started you will have walked 0.72 miles.

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Who are the different residents' groups in Highams Park with very similar names?

At the Forest Festival a visitor expressed confusion over the different residents' organisations (all with similar names) in Highams Park. I tried to explain, but as I did so it struck me too how confusing it was. The visitor laughed and said it was a bit like Monty Python's Life of Brian where there are numerous organisations based on rearranging the words "The People's Liberation Front of Judea" (or is it "The Judean People's Liberation Front").......[you need to have seen it to think this is funny !]

Follow this link for our attempt at an explanation: Monty Python's life of Highams Park?

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What happened to the organ that used to be in The Regal Cinema?

Answer: It now resides in the St. Albans Organ Theatre
Website: www.stalbansorgantheatre.org.uk

To see a picture of the organ and hear a sound clip of it being played, click this link and then scroll down to the bottom of the page: Regal Organ at St Albans

The former Regal Cinema (in Hale End Road) is now the home to a snooker club, bar, and nightclub.

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Police contact details - What number to ring for what

There are three different ways of contacting the police depending on the urgency and nature of the problem. This is a summary of our understanding of what number to use when:

1) In an emergency call 999
An emergency is when a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, someone is injured, being threatened or in danger. For example:
If your house is being burgled (or the suspect is nearby) call 999
If your car is being stolen (or the suspect is nearby) call 999

2) In case of a non emergency call 101
Call 101 when you need to report crime that is not an emergency. For example:
If your house has been burgled call 101
If your car has been stolen call 101
Further explanation is available by clicking this link: MP non emergency number
The 101 number replaces the old 0300 123 1212 number.

3) To discuss an ongoing issue or concern contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team
These are community based police officers who are helpful and very resident focused. They are organised by electoral ward so you need to know which ward you live in. Highams Park comprises 4 wards. The section above (myward) might help you identify your ward if you are not sure.
Having identified your ward, the contact details for your safer neighbourhood team are available here: www.met.police.uk/teams/walthamforest/index.php (click on the ward name on the left).

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What do I do if I am bothered by noise?

Our local police team explain as follows:
Noise Complaints: Should you be affected by loud noise of any kind, including overnight, then please contact Waltham Forest Council on 020 8496 3000 and ask for the noise team (ideally whilst it is going on). If they feel it is appropriate, they will attend and witness the offending sounds. The team will keep a record of complaints and take positive action against offenders who can be fined and can even have electrical equipment seized from them.

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Zero longitude and the secret of the Station Garden

At Highams Park Station, on the Liverpool Street bound platform, is a delightful garden that is maintained by a group of residents from the Highams Park Society. Train users often relax on the seat in the garden whilst waiting for a train. Little do they realise that the location holds a secret. The line of zero longitude (known as the "International Reference Meridian"), on which all of the world's mapping is based, runs right through the garden. So the eastern hemisphere officially meets the western hemisphere right here in our garden.

If you want to prove it to yourself, you can perform a little experiment next time you have a few minutes to spare whilst waiting for a train. All you need is a smart phone with GPS capability and an app that displays latitude and longitude. Stand in the garden and look at the longitude reading. You can expect it to display a number very close to zero. Unfortunately, due to the inaccuracies in the circuitry of the phone it will naturally tend to drift back and forth (even when you are stationary). One minute it might show you slightly east of zero and the next slightly west of zero. As a result it is impossible to narrow down the precise location of the zero point without using more sophisticated equipment.

Health and Safety Announcement: Speaking from personal experience, the changing numbers can be rather hypnotic and absorbing. Wandering around while looking at them, stubbornly trying to find the zero point, is definitely not recommended when the edge of the platform is close by.

The line of the International Reference Meridian (or "IRM" for short) has superseded the Greenwich Meridian as the basis for worldwide mapping. The historic Greenwich Meridian also passes through Highams Park and runs 102 metres to the west of the IRM and parallel to it. One interesting feature is that the Greenwich Meridian actually passes through the main pedestrian entrance to Tesco in Signal Walk.

If you'd like to see where the two meridians are in Highams Park, click the link below. It will take you to a screenshot of Google Earth with the meridians marked on it. It is centred on the station and the level crossing. The red line on the left is the Greenwich Meridian and the one on the right is the IRM.
Meridians in Highams Park

UPDATE: A new pavement plaque has been installed in Hale End Road to mark the IRM as it passes through Highams Park. It is described below on this page. To jump to it, click here.

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Support for vulnerable people during power cuts

The following information was received (December 2015) from UK Power Networks regarding support for vulnerable people during power cuts:

We are UK Power Networks. We keep the lights on in your area regardless of your chosen energy supplier (the company that you pay your electricity bills to). We own and maintain the electricity lines and cables in London, the East and South East of England. We understand that power cuts can be worrying.

Do you need extra support during a power cut? Our services are free to customers who need support.

Power cuts don't happen very often but if the electricity network is damaged or develops a fault it's our job to get your power back on. Our engineers will work around the clock 24/7 to restore your power as quickly and as safely as possible. If you live in London, the East or South East of England, then being on our Priority Services Register will ensure you will receive extra support if you experience a power cut. Who can register to receive extra support? The elderly, those dependent on medical equipment or who have a disability or young children.

What help should I expect to get during a power cut? A priority number that you can call 24 hours a day if you have a power cut and regular text messages or phone updates during a power cut.

Extra support from our partners, such as the British Red Cross, to visit your home during an emergency (we'll check with you first).
You can also email: PSR@ukpowernetworks.co.uk or call: 0800 169 9970

See here for full details and registration form: Link to UK Power Networks Website

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Links for Live Train information

If you've not already come across them, you might like to explore (and copy) a couple of links which show the live departure board information for Highams Park Station.

The first is operated by TfL and the second by National Rail but although they look different, they display the same information.

The TfL one seems good for phones (larger icons) whereas the National Rail one has more detail. It also has an interesting (but not very useful) feature: if you click the "details" button against a train that is "on its way" it comes up with a diagram showing where the train is.

TfL link: https://tfl.gov.uk/overground/stop/910GHGHMSPK/highams-park-rail-station

National Rail link: http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/ldbboard/dep/HIP

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The IRM Plaque in Hale End Road

You may have arrived here because you noticed an elegant pavement plaque in Hale End Road (near the corner with Beech Hall Road). This was created by local residents and unveiled on 29th October 2019. It is there as an "initiation to the curious", highlighting Highams Park's unusual position in respect of Global mapping.

The plaque marks the International Reference Meridian (IRM) which replaced the Greenwich Meridian as the agreed line of zero longitude in 1984. The Greenwich Meridian also passes through Highams Park and is marked by a stone and brass marker near the corner of Winchester Road and Selwyn Avenue. The two lines neatly frame the centre of Highams Park, one on either side of the level crossing. If you use an app on your phone to display the Longitude at the IRM Plaque you will find it will be (almost) zero. Irritatingly, the value displayed will slowly drift slightly, either side of zero, east and west, because of the tolerances of consumer grade electronics.

If you would like to know more about the plaque and the IRM please click the link below which will take you to the plaque's information page on The Highams Park Portal.

For more information on the IRM plaque: Click here.

The IRM passes through the centre of the station garden. This is described on this page above. To jump to it, click here.

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