Anger as area omitted from borough branding campaign (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Highams Park does not feature in material promoting Waltham Forest
A neighbourhood said to be struggling to find its identity is being ignored by a new council campaign to promote business, it is claimed.
Waltham Forest Council has launched an initiative to raise the profile of the borough, which has one of the smallest economies in London, and attract inward investment.
‘Waltham Forest London’ includes a range of promotional measures, such as a website, a magazine and advertising, but Highams Park is not mentioned at all.
Residents and businesses have reacted angrily to the ommission, claiming it the latest example of the Town Hall ignoring the area.
Since the official campaign launch on Monday, the campaign has come under a barrage of criticism on its Facebook site and Twitter.
Bea Taylor is the founder of the Facebook group Let's Inject Some Life into Highams Park, which has more than 800 members.
The Selwyn Avenue resident said: "It is a contentious issue and rightly so.
"We're desperate for investment and the area is littered with empty properties.
"We're fed up of not being recognised. Highams Park is striving to find its own identity but we will struggle to do that if we're ignored."
Steve Herbert, 49, of Coolgardie Avenue in Highams Park, has reacted to the ommission by adapting the campaign’s logo to include Highams Park on the sign design.
Highams Park and Hale End councillor Sheree Rackham has written to the council asking why the area has been omitted.
She said: "This has always been a problem; it has always been the other side of borough that has been given more attention.
"I'm not happy, but it is not unexpected. With all the development at Tesco and empty units, we need to be included.
"We've always been overlooked, it's not right. They are here to serve the public and yet it's always a constant battle."
Reacting to the Facebook criticisms, a post from Waltham Forest London said Highams Park was a very important part of the borough, but the campaign is aimed at people outside the area who would not recognise the name Highams Park.
Oliver Shykles, chairman of Highams Park Forum, said the council is refusing to amend its mistake.
Addressing the council on the campaign’s Facebook page he said: “We don't think you understand how exclusionary the logo is, how imbalanced the articles, events and locations are on your website.
“Sadly, this is not the first time Highams Park has been ignored, this has been going on for years - investment, publicity, and support in general from LBWF has been terrible.
“This branding exercise just epitomises that situation. You need to sort the logo out and focus more on the less well known parts of the borough.
“This two-tier approach is tired and very unhelpful to a community with huge potential."
Waltham Forest Council has been contacted for a comment.
More on this story in next week's Chingford Guardian.
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