Huge crowd protests against development of Walthamstow Town Square

It was a bright, freezing cold Saturday lunchtime. Any doubts that the winds blowing in from Siberia would effect the turn-out of the protest against the proposed development of Walthamstow Town Square were dispelled as soon as I stepped onto the patch of grass that the Council want to bury beneath four mega blocks. A huge crowd were mustered in the square listening to speakers put forward the case against the development. There were even a couple of people swanning around dressed as cardboard tower blocks.

Walthamstow Town Square protest

Waltham Forest Council have got it into their heads that they need to compete with Westfield Stratford just down the road, by giving planning permission to property behemoths Capital and Regional to build a new mall and four monster tower blocks of ‘luxury’ apartments, one the size of Centrepoint. They claim there’s no viable alternative.

Walthamstow Town Square protest

The hundreds of local people in the Town Square heartily disagree. They want to see genuinely affordable homes and social housing. Just 20% of the homes in the new scheme will be classed ‘affordable’  – priced at up to 80% of market rates, in a new luxury development will mean they will be far from ‘affordable’ for the majority of local people in housing need.

The genuine question is, who benefits from this scheme? And why have Waltham Forest’s Labour Councillors enthusiastically endorsed such a plan when both Walthamstow and Leyton & Wanstead Labour Parties have passed motions calling for the plans to be reviewed and alternatives explored?

Walthamstow Town Square protest

The Mall development shouldn’t become Waltham Forest’s HDV, but the dogmatic intransigence of a minority within the Council could see this campaign snowball into something much bigger if the strength of feeling on display Saturday is anything to judge by.

Find out more about the campaign to save Walthamstow Town Square here

And there’s some good background in the Waltham Forest Echo

If you live in Waltham Forest and oppose the scheme please write to your local councillors – they’ll also be knocking on your door in the coming weeks canvassing for the local elections so ask if and why they support the Mall development.

1 Comment

  1. Andrew   •  

    Well, as it is, the square at Walthamstow Central is not the nicest of places, it’s really a route to the shops from the station.They have tried to make it appealing by putting a massive TV screen up which is not really used much at all. The famous market is extensive, but doesn’t really sell much that is interesting. The area feels unsafe after dark and dubious characters hang around the square. There have been one or two murders in the streets near the square within the last year or so. I tend not to hang around the area too much. If people want to have nice greenery to lie on on a nice day it is better to take a train or bus to somewhere nice for the afternoon.

    The main problem with this scheme is that Walthamstow tube is busy enough as it is without extra hundreds of people trying to use it to get to the city. All seats are pretty much taken up on every train from 6am onwards at Walthamstow Central. The influx of hundreds of people can only make it far worse and if most then decide to drive, then it will create much more pollution and traffic problems in the area..

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