Highams Park residents to develop local plan

Submitted by: Gordon Turpin and John Moss

More than 450 residents have signed up to help prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the Highams Park area.

The residents have joined the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG) which was formally designated as the neighbourhood planning group for the Highams Park area by Waltham Forest Council in July. The group will oversee the preparation of planning policies for the Highams Park area and a list of community projects local people want to see delivered.

The Council Cabinet approved the area to be covered by the plan, which stretches from Waltham Forest’s eastern boundary with Woodford across to Wadham Sports Ground, the Ropers Field conservation area and Larkswood Playing Field in the west.

The planning group hope this will be a great step forward in giving Highams Park a clear identity and recognised place within the Borough.

Gordon Turpin, Chair of the HPPG, said: “This is a great opportunity for the residents of Highams Park to work together to protect and enhance what they love about Highams Park and to try and change those things they don’t like.

“We expect it will take anything from nine months to one year to put the Highams Park Plan together and we will consult the residents for their ideas and suggestions for the plan as we go along.”

He added: “The area covers around 384 hectares and is home to over fifteen thousand people and lots of squirrels, so we have a lot of work to do.”

The Highams Park plan will be drawn up with help from Waltham Forest Council, who received a £20,000 grant from the government to help cover the cost of preparing it. Those working on the plan are already developing ideas for what new housing should be built in Highams Park, where it could go and what it should look like, how to breathe new life in to the shopping centre, improvements to the railway station and on limiting the number of fast-food takeaways.

Some of the community projects being looked at include: a café and toilets in Highams Park (including a better children’s play area), a multi-functional community arts centre, and a “bottom up” review of parking provision.

The Planning Group is open to all residents in the area who want to get involved, whether to help develop the policies, or just volunteering with one of the Community Projects. You can contact email them or visit their website to find out more.