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If you haven’t seen it already, the Walthamstow Guardian has a piece in it about the Council’s plans to build a new Willowfield School on the playing fields behind Edward Road. A couple of BAG members got themselves quoted, which is nice!

Read the article here.

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Hi all,

Since the Council has put the rebuilding of Willowfield School on green belt land back on the agenda, we thought that a reminder of the actual flood risk would be a good idea.

Remember, the Council’s argument is based on the idea that the Douglas Eyre Playing Fields are not as much at risk of flood as had been previously thought; this view is based on historical records, despite warnings from various agencies that flood risk assessments should be revised upwards to take global warming into account.

Take a look at the Environment Agency’s flood map, here.

The proposal to build Willowfield School on the Douglas Eyre playing fields (which is green belt land) is back on the agenda!

The following has appeared on the council’s website, tucked away in the “schools/BSF bulletins” section: http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/bsfmonthly_bullentin_sept-oct07.pdf

Willowfield School Governing Body and the Council met on 14th October to discuss the effects of recent further changes in the nature of restrictions round building on the Douglas Eyre Playing Field. These changes have opened up again the possibility of using the DEPF as new site for Willowfield School, with all the advantages that offers both to school, pupils and he local community…Further work will be carried out over the next few months to test out the feasibility of the approach, most particularly round the need to secure planning permission.

The council was well aware of local residents concern over these proposals the last time they were on the agenda – so when was it planning on telling us about this? If you look at the official communications on the ‘blackhorse regeneration’ pages of the website, the last mention of Willowfield school is in June where it is stated that “Waltham Forest Council has decided not to proceed with plans to move Willowfield School to the Douglas Eyre Playing Fields following advice about flood risks.” Further updates were published in October and December – but they say nothing about the change of plan for Willowfield.

Chris Robbins, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said in June (in regard to the search for a site for Willowfield school), “We will consult with the community on any new proposals.” But this seems to have slipped his mind. Perhaps he has been too busy meeting Bouygues, the huge French conglomerate who have won the privatised building schools contract for LBWF?

You would have hoped, though, that the officers running the overall regeneration scheme might have told residents what is going on, otherwise what is the point of their updates?

Blackhorse Action Group has written to the regeneration officers asking what is the nature of the ‘changes in the nature of the restrictions’ and whether this plan is really back on the agenda. We are extremely surprised that the council would try and get round what seemed to be clear restrictions on flood plain building – particularly given that only last week, a report into this summer’s flooding said that such restrictions must be strengthened even further.

Does anyone have any further information? We would particularly like to hear from anyone with children at Willowfield school, to see if we can work together on this. We understand that the school was told that the council had failed to find any other site, so would have to re-build Willowfield on its existing site. We understand that after that, it told the school that doing so would be more difficult than originally anticipated.

We are also curious as to whether the proposed waste disposal facilities in Blackhorse Lane, which the council is being less than clear about, might have something to do with the changes of plan.

If you would like to help, feel free to email the Blackhorse regeneration officers at blackhorselane@walthamforest.gov.uk

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