“Hands off our town centre!” say Walthamstow campaigners

The next Waltham Forest Council’s Planning Committee meeting will be massively important for residents: it is to discuss proposals from developers Capital and Regional to change Walthamstow town centre beyond recognition.

The meeting has been rescheduled twice but we now have a firm date of Wednesday 13th December at 7 pm in the Assembly Hall, next to the Town Hall on Forest Road. On the agenda will be Mall owners Capital and Regional’s plans to build four blocks of high-rise luxury flats behind the existing facade of the Mall and extend the shopping centre itself out into the existing public open space of the town square.

David Gardiner, of the “Save Walthamstow’s Town Centre” campaign says: “The proposal will do nothing to help local housing problems – the 1,600 people on the Housing List will experience no positive benefit, as even ‘affordable’ units, if there are any, will be far beyond the pockets of people on average or below average incomes.

 “The impact on the whole character of the area will be dramatic, with blocks of up to 132.5 metres in height – 15.5 metres higher than Centre Point on Oxford Street – blocking out the light and affecting the microclimate. At the same time, a third of the open space in the town centre – valued by residents and visitors alike – will be removed, including more than half of the mature trees. The children’s play area will be replaced by a smaller one which will be closer to the diesel fumes of the bus station.“There will be a massive environmental impact in terms of overshadowing, wind-tunnelling effects, loss of trees and detriment to air quality, and neither full nor outline planning permission should even be considered without the publication of a full independent environmental assessment and proper public consultations instead of the completely tokenistic ones we have had.

“Existing services such as GP’s surgeries, schools and transport will be put under intolerable strain.

“There are no positive benefits in the proposal to meet the needs of local inhabitants and businesses.”

He is encouraging as many people as possible to attend the meeting on December 13th:

 “The Council clearly expects large numbers to come – that’s why they’ve booked the Assembly Hall. Let’s not disappoint them.

“It is patently obvious that this ‘regeneration’ and ‘redevelopment’ is aimed at maximising the profits of the developers rather than benefiting Walthamstow residents and their families. Please come to this vital meeting and make your voice heard loudly and clearly. There won’t be a second chance.

“There is still a little time left to lodge objections to the scheme by emailing  dmconsultations@walthamforest.gov.uk and quoting the Planning Application No which is: 171355″

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