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  • Katy Andrews
    I have sent the following to the WF Guardian. This is just for information. Katy. Dear Sirs/Mesdames, I was interested to read the letter from Mr. Kevin
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2008
      I have sent the following to the WF Guardian.
      This is just for information.

      Dear Sirs/Mesdames,

      I was interested to read the letter from Mr. Kevin
      Wyatt-Lown, Chairman of North Chingford Community
      Council, in this week's WF Guardian. He says that
      community champions are supposed to represent local
      issues “at higher levels than we can attain,” a phrase
      which itself shows up how far from democracy - meaning
      'the authority of the people' - public life and civil
      society in Waltham Forest have fallen.

      Quite apart from the obvious conundrum of why a
      Councillor representing a ward in the south of the
      Borough should be appointed as community champion for
      the very northernmost part of the Borough, I would
      like to comment on the remarks made by Mr. Wyatt-Lown
      regarding Cllr. Terry Wheeler’s presentation to his
      local Community Council on the Olympic Games.

      It is a matter of simple public record that Cllr.
      Wheeler sits on the Planning Committee of the Olympic
      Development Authority (ODA). The ODA was set up by
      the government as a development and planning authority
      within the boundaries of the Thames Gateway Urban
      Development Corporation (UDC). The ODA and UDC have
      sweeping planning and development powers which are
      outside the control of local and national planning
      authorities such as local Boroughs and the Greater
      London Authority. The ODA can intervene in any local
      planning application which it deems could impact upon
      the 2012 Olympic Games and has the power to decide
      whether more trivial matters in its own area should be
      decided by itself or by local authorities. Most of
      the Planning Applications which come before the ODA’s
      Planning Committee are in fact applications from the
      ODA to itself. These are considered and voted upon by
      the members of its Planning Committee, including Cllr.

      This has not prevented Cllr. Wheeler from giving his
      personal opinion on several occasions in the Waltham
      Forest Council Chamber concerning matters surrounding
      the Olympics development which have affected our
      Borough, such as his support for the pointless
      proposed wind turbine at what used to be the Eton
      Manor Playing Fields (Eastway Sports Centre) in Leyton
      and his even more vehement support for the destruction
      of the Eton Manor Gardens allotments at Waterden Road,
      Hackney Wick and their supposedly temporary relocation
      last year to former Lammas Land at Marsh Lane Fields,

      Local councillors who sit on the Borough’s Planning
      Committee are not supposed to voice prejudged opinions
      on planning matters in public, but this seems not to
      be the case with those making decisions on behalf of
      the ODA; or at any rate, if it is Cllr. Wheeler seems
      unaware of it. I was therefore most surprised to read
      that he “achieved so little in promoting the Olympics
      in a positive light.”

      As one who feels that the Olympic circus is a
      gargantuan waste of public money which will succeed in
      little more than disrupting the lives of thousands of
      local people, and is essentially an excuse for a
      massive speculative land-grab of our local open spaces
      and recreational facilities, I can only say I am
      relieved that this so-called community champion is now
      at last being shown up for what he is.

      Cllr. Wheeler’s (and other Labour councillors’)
      abusive behaviour towards me the last time I attended
      a Community Council meeting was enough to convince me
      that my time would be better spent in more useful
      pursuits, such as watching TV soap operas or picking
      my nose whilst staring out of the window. I imagine
      the citizens of north Chingford may well be reaching a
      similar conclusion.

      Yours truly, as ever,

      Katy Andrews.

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