Council leader Clare Coghill stands down

Waltham Forest Council’s first female leader announces she is stepping aside after “fulfilling the ambitions” she set in 2017…

Council leader Clare Coghill is stepping down from her role as leader, after four years in the job.

In a lengthy statement posted on Friday 18th June, she said: “To be made the first-ever female leader of Waltham Forest Council in May 2017 and see the borough achieve as much as it has fills me with pride.

“But after fulfilling the ambitions I set when I became leader, now is the time to stand aside and I will not be seeking re-election next year.”

Cllr Coghill first became a councillor in 2010, when she was selected to represent High Street Ward in Walthamstow – which she says “was the start of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting journey of my life”.

She was elected leader in 2017, and increased the council’s Labour majority in the 2018 local election. She oversaw the Mayor of London’s first ever Borough of Culture in 2019 – and the same year the council was titled Local Authority of the Year by The MJ.

In her goodbye statement to residents, Cllr Coghill highlighted the ongoing Whipps Cross Hospital redevelopment, expressing her pride in “achieving the long-held ambition of getting the government to see the desperate need for a new hospital at Whipps Cross”.

“At long last,” she added, “the wonderful staff that have been even more heroic during the pandemic will get to care for the people of our borough in state-of-the-art facilities.”

She praised those who work in youth services, the borough’s social workers and the council’s response to Covid.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how effective local authorities are in making huge differences to the lives of residents,” she said.

“Council officers have been selfless on the frontline making sure our most vulnerable residents are kept safe, that children continue to learn, and that our businesses and high streets are well placed to recover economically…”

“I am absolutely confident that, even as I depart, improvements will continue and that the council will build on its status as one of the most progressive, forward-thinking, and bravest local authorities in the UK.”

A response on Waltham Forest Council’s Twitter account read: “We know that residents will join council staff in thanking Clare for her dedicated service to #WalthamForest and its residents, and we wish Clare all the very best for the future.”

In her statement, Cllr Coghill also paid tribute to former council leader Cllr Chris Robbins CBE, who sadly passed away in April 2021.