Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Speakers' Corner for east London

Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park
Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park was built in the 1870s

A new Speakers' Corner has been proposed for the east London borough of Waltham Forest in a bid to improve local democracy.

The stage in Walthamstow's Stoneydown Park is inspired by the central London Hyde Park spot where Karl Marx, George Orwell and Lenin addressed crowds.

The hexagonal area will be the only other site of its type in the capital.

It is the idea of teachers from four local schools who are working on the idea with the Speakers' Corner Trust.

'Fantastic initiative'

Two meetings took place at Stoneydown Primary School earlier this year at which local people gave the project their backing.

An extensive consultation was started by St Martins College in June on the design of the new Speakers' Corner.

People will have the chance to be heard by policymakers and decision takers among them
Peter Bradley, Speakers' Corner Trust

Councillor Marie Pye, cabinet member for communities and housing, said: "This is a fantastic initiative which will stimulate debate and provide a forum for a wide range of issues to be raised by residents.

"I know there are lots of residents who will be itching to get involved in a Speakers' Corner and on behalf of the council I would like to offer my full support to this wonderful initiative," she added.

Peter Bradley from the Speakers' Corner Trust said the corner would offer "new opportunities for people to express opinions and ideas to each other about the things that matter."

"People will have the chance to be heard by policymakers and decision takers among them," he added.

The new Walthamstow plan follows speakers' corners that have been set up in Nottingham and Litchfield in recent years.

The Speakers' Corner Trust has plans to set up similar projects in Bristol, Lincoln and overseas in Nigeria.

A meeting will be held later at Walthamstow's Queens Road Community Centre to discuss the plan and a committee will be established to oversee the project.

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