Disruptions to council services



Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and in line with government advice we have have to close, or change the way we deliver some of our services. This is the most recent information on service changes as of 11am 21 May 2020.

The following establishments in Waltham Forest are closed until further notice:

Adult Learning Services Click to get info

The Adult Learning Service has suspended face-to-face classroom learning. The Service has moved to remote learning, in keeping with the national guidance.

This impacts the Queens Road Learning Centre, The Junction, and other community-based centres.

We will support existing learners where we can to complete their courses using online learning but during this time there will be no new learners enrolled from today. We will review this regularly and issue further updates as we receive local and national guidance.

More information, on the Adult Learning Services website.

Births, deaths, marriages Click to get info

As per Government guidelines, all public ceremonies have had to be postponed until further notice. 

The Register Office will be offering limited services, residents can not obtain a wedding or civil partnership licence, give notice to get married or register a birth until further notice. 

Deaths or stillbirths must now be registered by phone.

Residents who wish to register a stillbirth or death, will no longer be able to book an appointment online. 

Effective immediately, please call 020 8496 3708 to register a death and a member of the team will assist you.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

If this has affected you, a member of the register office we will contact you once the current regulations have been relaxed.

Whilst some of the physical Children and Family Centre buildings are closed, the services they offer are still very much open remotely to support you and your children in new and creative ways. We will be increasing our virtual offer so please like our Facebook page for up to date information.

Join the Waltham Forest Children and Families Centres on Facebook

Buildings that are currently closed are:

  • Chingford Children and Family Centre, 5 Oaks Grove E4 6EY
  • Walthamstow Children and Family Centre, 313 Billet Road E17 5PX​
  • Leytonstone Children and Family Centre, The Junction 2- 8 Cathall Road Leytonstone E11 4LF

In the light of the recent government advice and will keep updating you with new building reopening developments.

Together with all remote services open, Leyton Children and Family Centre will remain open at 215 Queens Road E17 8PJ for:

  • Pre-booked Midwife appointments by either Homerton Hospital or North Middlesex Hospital.
  • A domestic abuse "One Stop Shop" will also take place Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm – this is a drop in service.

Please do not enter the building if you have either been in contact with a person who has COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms. If you need support around domestic abuse then please call the freephone, 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 080 8200 0247.

Care and support payments Click to get info

If you buy your own care and support with a direct payment or your own money, you should follow the advice on our direct payments and personal budgets page.

Easy Read - Direct Payments Advice Provision

Following a slight change to government guidance, we are able to reopen Chingford Mount Cemetery to the public at weekends. The cemetery will be open to the public between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, but it is important that visitors still follow social distancing guidelines.

However, we regret that due to the continued need to protect mourners and cemetery staff during the coronavirus crisis the cemetery will be closed to the public on weekdays, when it will only operate for funerals.

For funeral services at graveside, families are limited to ten mourners and are asked to keep service times as short as possible and in line with government guidelines on social distancing.

We apologise any inconvenience or upset this may cause. We are constantly reviewing the situation and if needed will make further changes to these restrictions.

Queens Road Cemetery in Walthamstow will remain open from 8am to 4 pm daily.

Please remember to stay 2 metres away from anyone else using the cemetery.

Coping with bereavement and grief during the coronavirus outbreak

Bereavement, which is a difficult experience under any situation, is taking place under very challenging circumstances during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Both those who experience loss as a consequence to COVID-19, or loss through another cause may experience increased trauma and may be cut off from some of their usual support network.

Support available during this difficult time:

Domestic abuse Click to get info

A domestic Abuse "one stop shop" will also take place at Leyton Children and Family Centre, 215 Queens road  E17 8PJ from Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm – this is a drop in service.

Please do not enter the building if you have either been in contact with a person who has COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms. If you need support around domestic abuse then please call the freephone, 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 080 8200 0247.

Housing Click to get info

Waltham Forest Housing has closed the reception area at Cedar Wood House.

During this period of closure all our services will be conducted via email and telephone. In order to safeguard our residents we are asking only those that require immediate assistance to contact us.

More information

In line with government advice around Coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing, all sports grounds and leisure sites are now closed in Waltham Forest, including all pitches and courts.

To enforce social distancing we have closed playground areas and outdoor gyms.

Parks will be open as we feel that the health and wellbeing benefits of being outdoor are vital for our residents, but please make sure you observe social distancing rules, staying two metres apart at all times, this will prevent the virus spreading further and save lives.

We are constantly reviewing the situation and if needed will make further changes to these restrictions.

Libraries Click to get info

All Waltham Forest Libraries are temporarily closed

This decision means that library staff can now go on to support our essential services.

We have made a number of changes to our online and home delivery offer so that our library service can support our residents at this challenging time.

People will be able to join a library online without needing to visit, we are increasing home deliveries and all late fines will be waived for the next three months.

Request library book delivery during COVID-19

If you would like some books delivered straight to your door, just click on the button below and let us know which books you would like from our catalogue and one of our fantastic volunteers will deliver them to your door in the next 3 working days.

Request library book delivery online 

If you are not a library member already, you will need to join online.

Access the library online 

Register for a library card or manage your existing membership, through the Waltham Forest Libraries website.

Waltham Forest library card gives you access to:

  • over six million books, eBooks and eAudiobooks across 170 London library branches - via the Waltham Forest Libraries website or our library app
  • thousands of information resources and reference materials, including family history research tools, business and legal resources, and various newspapers, magazines and eMagazines
  • free Wi-Fi and PC computer use in the borough’s eight libraries
  • a range of online courses, including language lessons, driving theory test preparation and computer skills lessons.

Keep up-to-date and get involved, please subscribe to our mailing list.

For enquiries please

Markets Click to get info

Walthamstow Market is closed for all goods except stalls selling fruit and veg and grocery items until further notice. All other markets have been closed until further notice.

Parks Click to get info

Parks in Waltham Forest are now closing by 7pm each night to accommodate new government advice surrounding access to parks and outdoor space, and also to ensure we work to stamp out antisocial behaviour and address complaints of people gathering and not following Government advice. They will close by 7pm each evening and reopen by 9am each morning.

Council enforcement officers, contractors, and Met police officers will be patrolling the parks carrying out compliance checks in areas there have been reports of large groups gathering. This will help alleviate pressure as we rearrange our resources to meet the demand and ensure that parks are patrolled in times when we know there are problems.

We know how important parks and green space are to families and people for their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Closing the parks at 7pm means that during the day families and residents can still enjoy the space for exercise purposes and following social distancing. 

In line with new government advice issued in early May, residents can now spend as much time as they want in our open spaces. However, guidelines state that they must always remain 2 metres away from anyone not from their household at all times. You are permitted to meet up with ONE person not from your household, as long as you adhere to these rules. We have reopened the following facilities:

  • Tennis courts in Ridgeway Park, Lloyd Park and Abbotts Park. Book online
  • On Saturday 23 May, we will reopen Lloyd Park skate park – maximum 10 people at one time. We cannot open Cann Hall or Chase Lane skate parks due to their proximity to playground equipment which are still out of bounds.
  • On Saturday 23 May, we will allow the reopening of Lawn Bowling clubs (Walthamstow Borough, Aveling Park and Chingford Bowls Clubs)

Playgrounds, outdoor gyms, basketball/football courts remain closed.

The Government has advised that all non-essential travel should stop to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Parking controls are a key tool in controlling and reducing all but essential travel and keeping people at home. Only those in key and crucial services should be driving on the roads at this time, such as health and care workers, those emptying our bins and keeping our shops stocked with food and other critical supplies, and the volunteers delivering and supporting our most vulnerable residents.

To ensure that roads are kept clear for those who really need to be out, we will continue to enforce traffic and parking management that impacts on their ability to travel around Waltham Forest. This keeps unnecessary vehicles off the roads and supports the Government’s direction on reducing travelling and staying at home. Our position is in line with other councils across London and in line with current guidance issued across the capital. However, our efforts to combat COVID-19 are fast-moving and things are changing regularly. Please check our website or social media channels to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

We have been in regular contact with key worker organisations, including those in health, adult social care, and others to ensure enforcement isn’t taken against their staff at this time and that they can do what they need to protect us all. Our virtual permit system allows us to identify key workers’ vehicles so enforcement officers are aware that no ticket should be issued to them.

Planning services Click to get info

Our Development Management Team is continuing to run a ‘business as usual’ service as far as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are still open and accepting, validating and registering all types of planning applications, although we are asking applicants and agents to work with us to enable some of the usual processes involved in determining an application to be carried out. 

Duty Planner service

There is no on-site duty planner service at present for householder pre application advice. The Council’s contact centre is extremely busy as present and therefore we would encourage you to use our website to answer any queries you have

Pre-application advice

We will continue to offer a pre-application advice service, using virtual meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom for small, medium and major proposals.  For householder pre application advice we are offering a written response service rather than our usual face to face service, and we are aiming to get a short response to you within 28 days.

Consultation on planning applications

The Council is required to publicise certain types of planning applications and other related consents by way of a site notice in at least one place on or near the land to which the application relates for not less than 21 days.  In light of the Government’s advice regarding staying at home and social distancing the Council is unable to put up site notices at this time.

Therefore, we are emailing the site notice, for those applications, to the agent / applicant and asking them to put up the site notice. The notice must be placed on or near the land to which the application relates, where it can be easily seen, for a period of at least 21 days. This can be in the window of the property if it can be seen from the street. If it is put up externally, for example on a lamp post, fence etc, it should be laminated, or placed in a clear plastic folder/wallet.

If you put up the site notice, you must send to the Council a photograph of the site notice in situ, clearly showing where it has been placed, to the planning case officer.

Consultation letters are being sent to neighbouring residents as usual by post.

Viewing planning applications

The Council’s Planning Offices are closed to the public and therefore it will not be possible to view applications in person. Applications can be viewed on-line, via the Council’s planning search webpage.

Assessment of planning applications

Unfortunately, Waltham Forest Planning Officers are also no longer able to continue to carry out site visits for planning applications. Therefore, the case officer will be asking the applicant / agent to submit photographs of the site and neighbouring properties and a live video 360 degrees of the whole site and context. If we receive any objections to proposals, we will of course be asking objectors to also submit photographs and a live video. We will be using these submissions in combination with google earth/street view to view the site in context.

If, from the details we receive from applicants / agents and neighbours, we are concerned that this will not enable a sufficient assessment of the proposal, then unfortunately we will have to delay the determination of the application and ask applicants / agents to agree an extension of time until such time that we can carry out a site visit in person.

Set out below are the limits on the types and size of files we can receive, which is an extract from our local validation checklist.

File Type

  • All drawings should be attached as .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files.
  • Other files types that will be accepted are .jpg, .doc and .xls files only.
  • All files should be clearly labelled / named referencing the drawings they contain.

File Size

  • The maximum size of any single attachment must be no more than 5MB.
  • All drawings submitted electronically must be A3 or smaller.

For live videos please use file types that can be viewed in windows media player such as .mov (from an iphone), .asf, .asx, .wax, .wm, .wma, .wmd, .wmv, .wvx, .wmp, and .wmx.

As we are all working remotely at present, we are having issues with receiving larger files by WeTransfer, if you are using Microsoft Outlook then please use Mimecast; alternatively please save the document / video into a one drive file and share it with the case officer.

Where we are able to, the Council will continue to assess and determine planning applications.

Planning Committee

The Council successfully held its Planning Committee on Tuesday 31 March 2020, and it is our intention going forward to continue to hold virtual Planning Committees, please check the Council’s website to confirm dates of future meetings and the agendas. Details of committee and speaking arrangements will be notified to those that have made representations. The Council is taking all appropriate precautions to maintain the safety of the public, officers and Members. We will be webcasting the meeting on YouTube / MS Teams, so you do not need to attend in person. Webcast will be available here on YouTube.

Objectors and supporters/agents/applicants can register to speak in the normal way; you will be able to do this via MS Teams. If you were planning to register to speak but would rather not do so via MS Teams, you can submit a written objection which will be read out by a Council Officer.

Please email this to democraticservices@walthamforest.gov.uk

Correspondence by post

While the Council is still receiving post, there may be delays in delivery to the Council and receipt by the Planning Department. Therefore we would strongly encourage you to use electronic means instead.

Section 106 

We are continuing to negotiate s106 heads of terms and agreements virtually and are able to seal and issue agreements whilst working remotely. If you have any queries over s106 agreements please contact your planning case officer or the s106 monitoring officer.

Draft Local Plan

Work continues on developing our borough-wide Draft Local Plan, as well as more localised site-specific masterplans, in order to support economic recovery.

Although we have had to cancel all in-person engagement until it can be conducted safely, we will continue a programme of thorough, ongoing community consultation using digital and non-digital methods.
If you would like to receive regular updates

Sign up for the Draft Local Plan newsletter

Public Health services Click to get info

The following services commissioned by the Council have changed the way they are supporting residents during the current coronavirus situation:

Support with drugs or alcohol issues

Change, Grow, Live are continuing to support adults, young people, and families experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol. To comply with national guidance, where possible, individuals are being supported to access help and treatment in their own homes.

The service is continuing to take new referrals at this time and continues to provide a range of clinical and psychosocial support options. Please telephone the service on 0203 826 9600 to discuss support and treatment available to you from your home. 

Face to face support groups at Beulah Road and Café Life in Leyton are currently paused to comply with national guidance around social distancing and group gatherings.

Smoking Cessation Services

Everyone Health are continuing to support people to quit smoking. In line with national guidance, face to face appointments are paused, and individuals are receiving telephone support and treatment by post. Contact 0333 005 0095 or https://quitinwaltham.co.uk/ for support.

Sexual health

All East walk in appointments at sexual health clinics are currently paused, in line with national guidance.

Sexual health support

If you have an urgent sexual health problem, including emergency contraception (e.g. the morning after pill), urgent contraception or need HIV post exposure prophylaxis, please book a telephone appointment by visiting the All East website  https://booking.alleast.nhs.uk/

Pharmacies which offer emergency contraception (e.g. the morning after pill) can be found here.

HIV support from Positive East and Body and Soul is being delivered virtually (telephone or digital support). Please do not visit their offices and contact them by phone or e-mail to receive support.

Testing for sexually transmitted infections

For routine testing for sexually transmitted infections (no symptoms), please order a home testing kit from: https://www.shl.uk/ or, if aged under 25, from: https://www.freetest.me/

Healthy child services

Health visiting and school nursing services

NELFT (North East London NHS Foundation Trust) provide health visiting and school nursing services for children and families in Waltham Forest.

Child health clinics for 0-5 year olds are suspended. The Health Visiting antenatal contact and new birth visits are continuing virtually. In line with national guidance, the 6-8 week review, 1 year review and 2-2.5 year review appointments are temporarily suspended for most families. Health Visitors and School Nurses continue to have ongoing contact with vulnerable families.

You can speak to a health visitor or school nurse to discuss health, wellbeing and child development issues by contacting the Healthy Child Clinical Duty team within the Single point of Access Monday to Friday 9am to5pm either by phone 0300 300 1970 or email 0-19universaldutywf@nhs.net.

Best start services for 0-5 year olds

HENRY provide infant feeding, healthy eating, oral health and speech and language support to families with children aged 0-5 years.

The HENRY infant feeding helpline continues to provide practical and emotional support to families on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, mixed feeding and starting solids.  In addition to being able to speak to a dedicated infant feeding practitioner by phone, HENRY also offer the option of video calls.  HENRY are introducing new virtual workshops to explore common topics with families for babies under 1. 

To contact an infant feeding practitioner or find out more about the workshops, contact us on 0208 496 5222 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or email wfsupport@henry.org.uk

To ensure safety of all staff and residents during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Waltham Forest Enjoy walking and cycling road improvement schemes will stop all work until further notice.

Waltham Forest Council confirm that all road improvement construction work is being shut down immediately. Work will continue this week to demobilise all sites and ensure resident safety, with the aim of stopping all works by Friday 27 March.

For the foreseeable future, the only work that will take place will be essential reactive maintenance and any essential third party work, such as telecoms, electric, gas or water works. 

More information on  Enjoy Waltham Forest website

Large item collections

Following government guidance on COVID-19 we are cancelling our reuse collections until further notice. Meaning none of our contractors will be entering peoples homes.

Other large item collections where items are usually left to be collected from front gardens are running as normal.

Reuse and recycling centres

King’s Road RRC, Gateway Road RRC and South Access Road RRC are currently operating a restricted service to allow people to dispose of any household or garden waste items while sticking to social distancing guidelines.

A new booking system has been introduced to minimise queuing time but queues are still expected.

Please make sure you have a valid booking and have checked the conditions of entry on the Wise up to waste website before you leave home. These are in place to ensure the safety of site staff and visitors. If you do not comply with the conditions of entry you will be turned away from the site.

For more information, visit our Local reuse and recycling centres webpage.

Tissues and sanitary waste, such as face masks, should never be put in the recycling. Contaminated or potentially contaminated tissues and sanitary waste should be double bagged, the bags closed, and left for 72 hours before being put out with the general household waste. This is to reduce the risk of infection to collection and disposal crews. We are monitoring the developing situation around the COVID-19 outbreak. Further updates will be available on the Wise up to waste website

Reuse large item collections

All charity collections taken through our reuse collections have been cancelled until further notice. Ensuring none of our contractors enter peoples homes to collect goods.

How to dispose of your waste if you've been affected by COVID-19

If you or anyone in your household have had symptoms of Coronavirus, or it’s been confirmed that someone in your household has had Coronavirus, all contaminated waste materials from your household should be disposed of as follows:

  • All contaminated items produced, including tissues, cleaning cloths and wipes and masks, need to be put into a plastic bag. Tie the top of the bag to prevent escape of the material
  • Put the bag inside another bin liner and tie the top of the bag.
  • Keep the bagged waste for a period of 72 hours in a place that cannot be accessed by other people or pets.
  • Put the bag in your wheeled waste bin for safe collection by our crew. The bagged waste must be contained in your wheeled bin and the bin put out to your normal collection point. If you have a communal bin area, please ensure your bagged waste is contained within the communal bin so other residents don’t have to come into contact with it.
  • If you live in a flat above a shop, you will need to ensure your contaminated waste is appropriately bagged following the above guidelines, and then put it onto your collection point on the street for the day of your collection.
  • If you have an assisted collection, bag the waste as described above, and put it out in your usual assisted collection point in your wheeled bin.