Waltham Forest 2021 Year in Review: July-SeptemberThe borough's biggest headlines from July, August and September
As we approach the beginning of a new year in the borough, it’s a good time to look back at everything that’s happened in the last twelve months.
This is the third of a four-part series reflecting on the biggest local stories of 2021. You can read part one here and part two here.
Due to our unique position as the only independent paper dedicated to the borough, many of these stories weren’t covered anywhere else and would have gone unnoticed without us.
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Nadia Zamin (credit: Penny Dampier)
Single mum and lifelong borough resident Nadia Zamin was told to move to Stoke-on-Trent in a matter of days by the council and then booted out of her temporary accommodation when she refused. Nadia has since become a “symbol” of the borough’s housing crisis for campaigners and continues to fight attempts to move her out of Waltham Forest.
Flooding in the borough this July (Credit: Twitter/@TheOneException)
Disastrous flooding hit the borough at the end of the month, damaging hundreds of homes and causing a power cut at Whipps Cross. Residents said the water in their homes reached knee-height, while hundreds of patients had to be evacuated from the hospital.
Murdered dad James Markham (credit: Met)
Chingford dad James Markham was stabbed to death outside his home and a 14-year-old boy was charged with his murder. In November, the teenager in question pleaded not guilty at the Old Bailey and will face trial in June.
An inquest into the death of a 67-year-old Whipps Cross patient at Whipps Cross found he was given a “suboptimal” dose of medication, according to the hospital’s own guidelines. Coroner Nadia Persaud said Raymond Maxwell’s death in 2019 from a pulmonary embolism was “closely connected” to “poor clinical decision making” at the hospital.
A Freedom of Information Request submitted by a driver hit with three fines from the same bus lane in one week revealed it earns the council more than £1million in fines a year. She argued the way Green Man Roundabout is set up makes it easy to accidentally stray into the bus lane, however deputy leader Clyde Loakes pointed out that that the “vast majority” of drivers are able to avoid it.
A secret plan to open a university campus in the borough was revealed, after more than a year’s worth of talks between the council and the University of Portsmouth. The location for the campus has yet to be decided and both the university and the council will chip in for some of the cost. The campus is expected to open at some point in 2023.
Now-abandoned plans for the new venue
A developer set to reopen an iconic music venue in Walthamstow folded, casting doubt on if the plans will ever materialise. The council granted The Collective permission to build a replacement for The Standard in Blackhorse Lane - plus 300 flats - in December of 2020, despite concerns over the size of the planned homes. Following the news, cabinet member for housing Simon Miller said the council is looking for another developer to work on the site.
Rogue Walthamstow landlord Mohamed Lahrie (credit: LDRS)
“Rogue landlords” who rented a handful of properties in the borough to “ghost tenants” to avoid paying HMO fees to the council were fined almost £190,000. A court heard that Mohamed Lahrie and his wife Shehara, who live in Hoe Street, claimed they were renting six of their properties to a single tenant, which was in fact their letting agent. Following the council’s legal action they were forced to sell their entire portfolio, according to their lawyer.
Award-winning bus driver Mohammed
An award-winning bus driver, known for driving the W12 route through the borough, decided to retire after 19 years. Mohammed Shabir won TfL’s Year of the Bus award for exceptional customer service in 2014 and silver in the Top London Bus Driver category at the UK Bus Awards the same year.
Come back tomorrow for the fourth and final part of our series, looking at the biggest headlines from the last three months.