Monday, 26 June 2017

Tower Block Safety in Walthamstow: Update from Stella Creasy MP

In her Working for Walthamstow newsletter this week Stella Creasy MP reports

"Further to last week's e-newsletter I have had more updates from
Waltham Forest Council and local housing associations regarding the fire safety measures they have reviewed in our local tower blocks. To date, all the cladding tested by the Government in the light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has failed safety testing, and there has been extensive discussion of this issue in parliament. 

Locally, Waltham Forest Council are updating residents via their website regarding the 21 blocks over the height of six storeys in Waltham Forest. They state the following: 

"We know that many people in the borough and across London have valid concerns about fire safety in high-rise buildings following the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower. The safety of residents and tenants should always be paramount for local authorities. A small number of tall buildings are under construction in the borough, including the Hill Residential scheme at 97 Lea Bridge Road. We are liaising closely with the developer and contractor through our Building Control team to ensure that design and construction maximises the safety of occupants. As a new-build development the installation of sprinkler systems will be required to comply with modern fire safety regulations. This development will not use the cladding system that was used at Grenfell Tower.

The major refurbishment of Lea Bridge House is being undertaken by Paradigm Housing through the contractor Rydon who completed the works at Grenfell House. The council is working closely with Paradigm to ensure the 10-storey building meets and exceeds mandatory safety regulations.

The project involves the refurbishment of the original 1960s residential block, with the addition of two four-storey wings. It does not involve the installation of external cladding. As part of the scheme fire prevention and safety measures will be implemented including a fire-suppression sprinkler system, a measure that exceeds current fire safety regulations for renovation of older properties, and the existing windows will be replaced with powder-coated aluminium frames that are far less combustible than the more traditional UPVC type.

It is important and right that we continue to provide high-quality, affordable housing for the residents and workers of the borough. To maintain the balance between housing and essential infrastructure such as parks, schools, shops and health centres we sometimes have no option but to build upwards. At the same time, we will keep a keen watch on the investigation into the Grenfell Tower disaster so that we can immediately implement any recommendations to maximise the safety of our residents."

In addition to the local authority, other Housing Associations are also reviewing the safety of their buildings. As part of this London and Quadrant have written to me regarding the Walthamstow Dog track site - now called Stadium Place- and state the following: 

"Our surveys have found that there is aluminium cladding on a block at Stadium Place. This cladding is being tested as a matter of urgency. We have employed security personnel who will patrol the block 24 hours a day, until we receive the results of the test. We have written to residents to let them know. We have also notified the fire authority. Our staff are on site to offer guidance and reassurance.

If the test results tell us that the materials pose a fire risk, they will be removed and replaced as soon as possible. If there is an immediate risk to our residents, we will move them to suitable alternative accommodation until we can resolve the problem."

Furthermore, I can also confirm that Waltham Forest Council are following up on residents concerns about the Travelodge next to Walthamstow Central Station and the Scene development on Walthamstow High Street. I will continue to update residents on the information I receive on these issues via this e-newsletter. 

Residents may also be interested in supporting this action along with other Walthamstow neighbours to help a nursery which was based in the Grenfell Tower - you can find more details here."
To subscribe to the Working for Walthamstow newsletter email Stella Creasy MP

Where, this week, to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow

  • Monday 26th June to Wednesday 28th June - returning to parliament to work on fighting for equality to be a priority in the Queen's Speech - see here for details. 
  • Thursday 29th June - voting on the Queen's Speech and then helping campaign in the William Morris By-election.
  • Friday 30th June - visiting local community projects including Locus Walthamstow. 
  • Saturday 1st July - Holding a drop in advice surgery in Walthamstow town square 2-4pm. Please note this is tbc so please follow Facebook and Twitter for confirmation of venue.

The Government must show it is not willing to use women’s bodies as bargaining chips

Walthamstow CLP women's officer Jade Azim has written in support of the Queen's Speech amendment to secure equal treatment under the NHS in England for women who live in Northern Ireland (more here on this blog). In inews - the online tabloid newspaper from the Independent group - she writes:

"Last week’s Queen’s Speech was delivered by a government that has dragged the DUP – who have wreaked havoc for women and LGBTQ people in Northern Ireland – into the mainstream of British politics. It could be an era in which women’s reproductive rights come under attack – if we let it. 

"But there is nothing more powerful than a group of determined sisters. Stella Creasy MP, supported by progressive MPs and activists from British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) and UK Friends of Planned Parenthood (UKFPP) are working to do the opposite: use this moment in time –in the 50th anniversary year of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act – to extend the enshrined rights of women in mainland Britain to Northern Irish women, by tabling an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would extend NHS cover for abortion procedures to Northern Irish women. 

"The law cuts out the poorest women. Currently, Northern Irish women often have to travel to England to terminate unwanted pregnancies, facing distress and considerable costs that can lock out the poorest women. More than 700 women and girls from Northern Ireland travelled to England in 2016 to access abortion clinics. For many of these women, this journey is desperately expensive. A recent court case was brought to the Supreme Court – narrowly being overturned – by a woman who travelled to England with her mother when she was 15 for an abortion in Manchester. It cost her £900. That’s a £900 price tag on services other British women can rightfully access freely."

Jade is also organiser for UK Friends of Planned Parenthood. She worked with Stella Creasy on the amendment to the Queen’s Speech tabled to call for women from Northern Ireland to have access to free abortions in England.

Read the full article by Jade Azim here
Read Stella Creasy MP in the Guardian here
Contact your MP to support the amendment: My Pledge Her Choice

"Let’s make this moment in British politics a positive one for women’s rights."

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stella Creasy MP coordinates cross-party amendment to NI abortion rights

The Guardian today carries news of a cross-party campaign to bring abortion rights under the NHS for women in Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. The amendment is coordinated by Stella Creasy Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the support of the Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley. It asks the government to consider legislating so women from Northern Ireland have NHS abortion provision when they travel to England to terminate a pregnancy.

The DUP, with whom Theresa May is seeking an agreement to support her minority Conservative government, have historically taken a hard line on abortion, and Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. No deal has yet been reached by the Conservatives with the DUP, but Stella Creasy said parties needed assurances not only that any pact with the DUP would not affect current equalities law, but that it would not tie the government’s hands when future legislation was needed.

“In this parliament it is not just a matter of whether hard-won progress on issues like inclusive sex and relationship education or access to services for same-sex couples will be under attack by this coalition, but also what issues don’t get addressed and are ignored. It is vital we do not let the fight for equality be sidelined, as it is clear without action Northern Irish women will pay the price for the government doing a deal to stay in power.”

In the general election earlier this month Stella Creasy was re-elected MP for Walthamstow with a majority of over 32,000 - an increase of more than 8,800 over her majority in the 2015 election.

Read the Guardian article in full here.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Where, this week, to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow

  • Saturday 17th June- helping to run the Great Get Together in Walthamstow Town Square. All residents welcome.
  • Sunday 18th June- attending further get togethers and street parties in Walthamstow.
  • Tuesday 20th June- supporting the fight to re-open the Dubs amendment and help refugee children. 
  • Wednesday 21st June- attending the Queens Speech to parliament 
  • Thursday 22nd June- hosting a thank you event for all those who helped with my general election campaign and attending the Walthamstow Labour Party General meeting.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The great Walthamstow get together - this Saturday 6-10pm Town Square

On Saturday 17th June Walthamstow will be coming together in our town square from 6pm to show we have more in common than divides us - you can win prizes including nandos vouchers and cinema tickets by making your own social media shareable content about this and sharing your entries to this competition with local MP Stella Creasy via her facebook: or her twitter: @stellacreasy. Click the image to watch the video . . . 

 Watch the video!
Watch the video!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Where, this week, to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow

  • Monday 12th June - returning to parliament as the Labour and Cooperative MP for Walthamstow.
  • Saturday 17th June- helping to run the Great Get Together in Walthamstow Town Square. All residents welcome- please see below for full details and how to register for free food or help with this volunteer led event.