Waltham Forest Council initially thought they owned the land but after visiting the site, they discovered it belonged to TfL

Two shacks used for shelter and sleeping

Two shacks used for shelter and sleeping

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Waltham Forest

A site neglected for years and described by residents as a 'shanty town' belongs to Transport for London (TfL), not Waltham Forest council, it has emerged. 

Set underneath Wadham Road on the border of Highams Park and Walthamstow, the derelict site formally home to two rough sleepers over a four month period, may finally be cleared. 

Earlier this month, the council appeared to claim it owned the the land and said it would be taking action to clear the site, but after several visits by environmental officers, they discovered it belongs to TfL. 

After several enquiries into the piece of land, TfL has proclaimed ownership and the homeless men will be removed shortly.  

 A TfL spokeswoman said: "The occupants on TfL land under Wadham Road in Waltham Forest will be served with eviction notices shortly.

"Once the occupants have left the site, we will take swift action to clear and secure the site."

The two middle-aged men of Polish nationaility became desperate after falling on hard times including a marital breakdown, and alleged exploitation of labour by two seperate groups of travellers. 

A 48 year-old man who would only give his name as Robert said he had been living at the site for four months and was joined one month into his stay by a second Polish man.  

After visiting the site today, some their personal possessions have gone and the makeshift shower has been dismantled.

Bedding materials including duvets and mattresses remain as well as tons of waste including plastic bottles, cigarette ends, clothing and electrical goods such as an old washing machine and DVD player.   

Conservative councillor for Hale and Highams Park Sheree Rackham would like the site renovated into a workshop space for residents looking to build on their vocational skills. 

 

Comments (3)

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6:20am Tue 22 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

Conservative councillor for Hale and Highams Park Sheree Rackham would like the site renovated into a workshop space for residents looking to build on their vocational skills.

Why doesn't she move her office there and work from under a main Roland and let people use her office as a place for residents to build on their vocational skills.
Conservative councillor for Hale and Highams Park Sheree Rackham would like the site renovated into a workshop space for residents looking to build on their vocational skills. Why doesn't she move her office there and work from under a main Roland and let people use her office as a place for residents to build on their vocational skills. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -7

8:18am Tue 22 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

Typo 'under a main road'
Typo 'under a main road' Villagecranberry
  • Score: -5

12:35pm Wed 23 Jul 14

wadhamview says...

I was very interested to see this article regarding the land underneath Wadham Bridge at the end of Guildford Road and Cllr. Rackham's comments.
Once again the council is playing the game of pretending that this piece of land is not their responsibility and that it is owned by TfL. Having lived in the area for over twenty years. In that time each Conservative councillor has used the excuse that they cannot do anything as the land does not belong to the council.

I was assured some years ago that TfL handed it over to Waltham Forest Council after the building of the then new roadway. The only stipulation being that there had to be access to the railway for maintenance.
Since then each time this matter is raised it is past back and forth, with the council just quietly forgetting. The area is a disgrace and is used as a drop off for drugs and drug taking, as well as fly tipping on a weekly basis, which I might add nothing is done about.
The walkway under Wadham Bridge which connects to Beech Hall Road is unsafe as it is used by local gangs as well as by young people openly drinking during the day. The Community Centre on the opposite side (which the council own) is also left overgrown with weeds and no proper fencing, and like the surrounding area regularly covered in graffiti, empty lager cans and half eaten takeaways.
Rather than airy fairy ideas about the site being “renovated into a workshop space for residents looking to build on their vocational skills”. How about just cleaning the area and at least putting up a notice about illegal fly tipping and CCTV and then prosecuting those who dump building waste in the street, which wouldn’t cost a lot.

It will be interesting to see if TfL do now admit to owning the land and if they carry out their promise to clear the land (Does this include replacing the badly damaged fencing, which allows anyone access?). Does the council have anything in writing about who actually owns the land and who is responsible for maintaining the ground, or is it lost in the paperwork in the Town Hall basement?
Will Councillor Rackham actually pursue this and ensure that TfL (if it is in fact them) do anything or will we wait another ten years or so, for another councillor to just make a political sound bite.
I was very interested to see this article regarding the land underneath Wadham Bridge at the end of Guildford Road and Cllr. Rackham's comments. Once again the council is playing the game of pretending that this piece of land is not their responsibility and that it is owned by TfL. Having lived in the area for over twenty years. In that time each Conservative councillor has used the excuse that they cannot do anything as the land does not belong to the council. I was assured some years ago that TfL handed it over to Waltham Forest Council after the building of the then new roadway. The only stipulation being that there had to be access to the railway for maintenance. Since then each time this matter is raised it is past back and forth, with the council just quietly forgetting. The area is a disgrace and is used as a drop off for drugs and drug taking, as well as fly tipping on a weekly basis, which I might add nothing is done about. The walkway under Wadham Bridge which connects to Beech Hall Road is unsafe as it is used by local gangs as well as by young people openly drinking during the day. The Community Centre on the opposite side (which the council own) is also left overgrown with weeds and no proper fencing, and like the surrounding area regularly covered in graffiti, empty lager cans and half eaten takeaways. Rather than airy fairy ideas about the site being “renovated into a workshop space for residents looking to build on their vocational skills”. How about just cleaning the area and at least putting up a notice about illegal fly tipping and CCTV and then prosecuting those who dump building waste in the street, which wouldn’t cost a lot. It will be interesting to see if TfL do now admit to owning the land and if they carry out their promise to clear the land (Does this include replacing the badly damaged fencing, which allows anyone access?). Does the council have anything in writing about who actually owns the land and who is responsible for maintaining the ground, or is it lost in the paperwork in the Town Hall basement? Will Councillor Rackham actually pursue this and ensure that TfL (if it is in fact them) do anything or will we wait another ten years or so, for another councillor to just make a political sound bite. wadhamview
  • Score: 0

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