Leader of Waltham Forest Council to stand down

Waltham Forest Council’s first ever female leader is standing down after four years.

Cllr Clare Coghill (Lab, High Street) became council leader in 2017, having already been a councillor for seven years.

In a statement today (June 18) she said that while being a councillor had been the “most rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting journey” of her life, it was now “time to stand aside”.

She becomes the latest of four London borough council leaders to step down since the start of the pandemic, joining the leaders of Croydon, Lambeth and Islington.

Her successor has not yet been announced.

Cllr Coghill said: “I am particularly delighted that not only did the people of Waltham Forest elect me three times, but as leader we increased our majority in the 2018 local elections.

“To have that vote of confidence in the work we are doing for Waltham Forest was a moment I will cherish forever.

“But after fulfilling the ambitions I set when I became leader, now is the time to stand aside and I will not be seeking re-election next year.”

She said she was particularly proud of seeing Waltham Forest named the first ever Borough of Culture, winning funding for a new Whipps Cross hospital and of the Children’s Services department receiving the highest possible rating from Ofsted in 2019.

She added: “The hard work of our social workers and those who assist them across many services often goes unnoticed.

“One of my favourite things about being leader was being able to see first-hand their hard work, skill and dedication to support the most vulnerable in our society, as was evident when our social workers enabled the first prosecution for FGM in the country.

“I cannot say goodbye without mentioning the huge contribution my predecessor, Chris Robbins CBE, made to not only the work of this council but to the people of the borough as a whole. His recent passing was a shock to us all and Waltham Forest continues to mourn a legend.

“I am absolutely confident that, even as I depart, improvements will continue and that the council will build on its status as one of the most progressive, forward-thinking, and bravest local authorities in the UK.

“The future wellbeing of this borough is assured because of the amazing energy of our people, and this council is well placed to continue to deliver excellent local services of which residents can be proud.

“This borough’s real strength is its amazing, diverse, and talented residents: artists, makers, doers, creatives, and radicals all coming together in fellowship to create something unique. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity Waltham Forest, I will miss you all.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter