Waltham Forest residents in Grove Green and Lea Bridge go to the polls today to elect their new local councillors.

The Grove Green by-election is being held due to the unexpected death in April of former mayor Cllr Chris Robbins CBE, who had represented the ward since 2002.

Cllr Yemi Osho, a nurse and another former Mayor, stepped down as councillor for Lea Bridge on April 22, having been first elected in 2014.

There are five candidates to choose from in each election. Below are their promises to the people of their ward.

Grove Green

Uzma Rasool - Labour

Uzma, Labour candidate for Grove Green

Uzma, Labour candidate for Grove Green

Uzma Rasool, a Grove Green resident for 23 years, is a teacher and researcher who describes herself as “passionate about improving the lives of young people”.

She said: “If elected, I will build on the legacy of much-missed Cllr Chris Robbins, CBE - doing everything I can to help improve our area.

“I am proud that our vibrant community is my home. I have also worked with local community groups and the council to stand against abuse, hatred and harassment and make our area safer.”

She intends to focus on support for renters and businesses, community safety, improving public services and the area’s environmental footprint.

Shahamima Khan - Conservatives

Ms Khan is another teacher, whose two boys attend school within the ward, and says her working-class background instilled her with “aspiration, determination and motivation”.

She said: “The qualities I have developed as a teacher are the same qualities that I intend to use to represent you at the decision making table in the council.

“After all, the decisions made by the council impact our lives and families. For too long, this Labour council has been ignoring your voices, it is now time to change that.”

She plans to campaign to reopen road closures and for 15 minutes' free parking near businesses, to identify funding to repair potholes and to start a business networking forum and jobs fair.

Arran Angus - Liberal Democrats

Arran, Lib Dem candidate for Grove Green

Arran, Lib Dem candidate for Grove Green

Mr Angus has lived in the ward for a decade. He helps organise the Francis Road Street Party, chairs the ward’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team panel and is a researcher for Citizens Advice.

He said: “I am delighted to stand in a community I have spent so much time in. I will continue to work hard to make the ward and borough a better place to live for everybody.

“We can improve air quality, defend our hospital services and make the council listen to residents.”

Mark Dawes - Green Party

Mark, Green candidate for Grove Green

Mark, Green candidate for Grove Green

Mr Dawes has lived in Leytonstone for more than 30 years and is a campaigns officer for the environment and animal rights.

He was active in the campaign to stop dog racing returning to Walthamstow and has been a vegan for a decade.

He said: “It is time for a genuine green voice in Waltham Forest to help address the serious issues we face – like climate change, pandemics –and to work towards a better quality of life for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

“The Green Party believes all life should be respected and that we should live in harmony with the planet.”

Kevin Parslow - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Kevin, TUSC candidate for Grove Green

Kevin, TUSC candidate for Grove Green

Mr Parslow promises to fight for working-class people, particularly renters, by opposing council cuts and the sale of public land to developers “for unaffordable flats in monster blocks”.

He said: “I would propose that the council links up with other Labour-led councils to fight for extra funding from the Tory government, with the backing of residents and trade unions.

“This is a rocky government that could be shaken by a mass movement of workers and their families.”

He promises to “oppose all cuts” and put forward a “people’s budget, based on what the borough’s residents need”.

Lea Bridge

Jennifer Whilby - Labour

Jennifer, Labour candidate for Lea Bridge

Jennifer, Labour candidate for Lea Bridge

Ms Whitby is a life-long Waltham Forest resident, born to Jamaican parents, and an NHS worker for 32 years.

She is a member of the Queens Boundary Community, Friends of Queens Road Cemetery and Friends of Lea Marsh.

She said: “If elected, I promise to bring my experience as a community activist and will always stand up for Lea Bridge residents.

“My priorities would be to make our streets safer, support a new Whipps Cross, tackle the climate emergency, invest in our libraries and support local businesses post-Covid.”

Sazimet Imre - Conservatives

Ms Imre lives and works in the borough and promises to “work to reverse” some of the “disastrous decisions” made by the council.

In particular, she hopes to reverse road closures, stop the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone and halt the Lea Bridge Gasworks development.

She said: “Helping people is vital to me. During lockdown I delivered fruit & vegetables for free to those in need and did shopping for vulnerable residents.

“I've volunteered with organisations who help immigrant women settle in Britain and have helped organise events to fundraise for Great Ormond Street Hospital, underprivileged children and cancer charities.”

Naomi McCarthy - Liberal Democrats

Naomi, Lib Dem candidate for Lea Bridge

Naomi, Lib Dem candidate for Lea Bridge

Ms McCarthy has lived in the area with her family since 2012 and promises to fight for improvements to local schools and the environment and for more affordable housing in the area.

She said: “My main concern is the proposed development on contaminated land at the Lea Bridge gas works site.

“I will stand with residents against this dangerous development and for everyone to have a home where they can be happy and healthy.”

RoseMary Warrington - Green Party

RoseMary, Green candidate for Lea Bridge

RoseMary, Green candidate for Lea Bridge

Ms Warrington has lived in the borough since 1981 and campaigned against the building of a temporary Olympic training facility on Leyton Marshes before the 2012 games.

She is involved in Transition Leytonstone and Bushwood Residents Association and volunteers with OrganicLea.

She promises to campaign to halt the construction of the new Edmonton incinerator and to support the Low Hall Fields campaign against Secret Cinema.

She said: “We are in a climate emergency. Waltham Forest council passed a motion on this but they need to be continually reminded of it in everything that they do.”

Claire Weiss - Independent

Claire, Independent candidate for Lea Bridge

Claire, Independent candidate for Lea Bridge

Ms Weiss describes herself as the only candidate to actually live in the ward and says she left the Labour party because she was “unable to get community demands even considered”.

She hopes to pause and review regeneration schemes at Lea Bridge Gasworks, Lea Bridge Station and Estate Way and wants to see a new health centre built for the ward.

She said: “The council’s main thrust on housing should be to provide genuine social housing… (which) should not be undermined by the mass building of high-cost cheek-by-jowl towers.

“I am a trusted and energetic campaigner for the causes that are important for the ward. I am well-known in Lea Bridge and have led campaigns, including stopping the Aldi store from cutting down its mature trees.”

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