Chingford Comment

Councillor comment: Sazimet Palta-Imre, Chingford Green

Backbench councillors give their views on ward issues in our regular comment series
By Waltham Forest Echo

Cllr Palta-Imre (courtesy of Waltham Forest Conservatives)
Cllr Palta-Imre (courtesy of Waltham Forest Conservatives)

I was not born in Waltham Forest, nor in England for that matter, but as soon as I moved with my family to Chingford I knew that I was home. The fantastic community spirit here means we experience all the resources of town living with a unique village feel, while sitting on the border of one of the world’s most beautiful forests.

It was my experiences here that inspired me to stand for election so I could give back to the area that has given me so much. What quickly became clear to me as I began campaigning was that what enables many of the fantastic aspects of Chingford life is the way it was built and how important it is to preserve the integrity of that fabric.

We need new housing for many reasons: as many of our children grow up, our parents look to downsize and more people are drawn to our amazing area. However, that new housing must be constructed in a sensitive way which preserves the foundations of Chingford and provides the appropriate, affordable homes people really need.

That’s why I and my fellow Conservative councillors in North Chingford launched a campaign for a new conservation area in Chingford Green. There is currently one small conservation area covering the immediate surrounding of the green, by the Library and Assembly Hall, but we are surrounded by heritage buildings, greenery and historic architecture which needs further protection as we move into a new modern era of development.

For a year, we’ve been championing the argument for a new wider conservation area to protect our historic high street and the neighbourhoods surrounding Chingford Station. I’m pleased to say our council have finally listened and launched a public consultation on our idea. This is extremely welcome news and means our community must once again come together and respond strongly and clearly to articulate Chingford’s needs.

With our Labour council pushing what I feel is an over-development agenda across the borough, this conservation area could protect the suburban character of our community and the unique ‘city-meets-forest’ living we enjoy.

There will be many battles over the next few years as we look to strike the right balance of building new homes while protecting local character. This will be one of the key pillars of my focus over this term as I look to make Chingford a better place to live, work and enjoy!

Respond to the consultation here.