Any of you that made the time and effort to write to London and Quadrant (L&Q) may well recognise the following reply. Unfortunately L&Q did not see fit to personally respond and sent out a general and identical reply to concerned residents and Stow fans which started to be received today from Chris Middleton’s secretary Alice Williams.
Thank you very much for your e-mail regarding Walthamstow Stadium.
Walthamstow Stadium Developments Limited (which consists of yoo Capital and KW Linfoot Plc) is L&Q’s partner for Walthamstow Stadium and has led on the consortium’s purchase of the site. L&Q has been acting on behalf of the consortium when communicating with the SOS group, Waltham Forest Council and individual enquiries, such as yours, related to the site.
As a consortium we have had open and amicable conversations with representatives of the SOS campaign for several weeks now and are aware of many of the issues you raise. Some of them are genuine public concerns, the others are myths created and circulated by individuals to the media. I will address both of these in this e-mail.
L&Q are aware of the significance of the Stadium and the history it plays in the Borough. The emotional attachment people have to the stadium and its significance to the local community over the years is not in doubt.
What has to be balanced now is the need for the continuance of a sport that has been in decline in terms of popularity for many years versus the steep increase in demand for homes of all types and tenures across London and the South East and in particular Waltham Forest. The London Plan has identified a need for 30,500 additional homes per annum for the next ten years of which 665 per annum need to be provided in Waltham Forest to meet current demand and projections.
About L&Q – Our housing plans
Waltham Forest (where we own 3,000 homes already), we know a lot about. We know that there are many local people living in unacceptable temporary accommodation who need warm, safe houses to help improve their families’ lives.
The rented affordable homes are for people who are on the local Council waiting list. Those people are often homeless, in homes which are in poor condition, too small for their families’ needs or unsuitable in some other way. We take those people and put them in new homes and give them the opportunity to build their lives in a new and vibrant community in which we invest a lot of time and money. L&Q is driven by long term investment in the communities we serve. In the past year alone L&Q has spent over £35 million investing in its neighbourhoods providing community support and facilities and tackling problems such as Anti-Social Behaviour.
We build homes for all tenures and incomes to create mixed communities. Any profit from homes sold on the open market goes straight back into our next affordable development, or in supporting the communities we house. Walthamstow will be an example of this.
The plans for the site have been described by SOS as for up to 3,000 homes, all of which will be housed in 11- storey high blocks. I am afraid to say this is just utter nonsense. Our sketch plans (and that is all they are at this stage) are for somewhere in the region of 500 homes around half of which will be affordable and will be mix of family homes and apartments and none of which will be the size SOS has told the press about. As previously explained any modern development needs to be of what we call mixed tenure (a mix of residential status, incomes and family sizes) so that the community that develops there has plenty of space and can enjoy an excellent quality of life.
We investigate physical matters affecting sites such as flood risk and contamination very thoroughly before purchasing any site.
No formal planning application has been put forward at this stage but we intend to do so at the end of this year. The credit crunch and current dip in the housing market does have an affect on our outlook in some projects but as a housing association that is not-for-profit, we can still develop when others can’t due to the unique way we are funded and the fact that many of our residents rent and do not necessarily buy. We are long term community investors.
The offer we received from the SOS Consortium at the end of July was very brief and lacking in any detail and so can not be considered a proper bid at this stage. We also know very little about them, their funding or their ambitions. We have invited them to a meeting in September to let us know who they are and what their plans are.
This is not, as has been reported, a meeting to negotiate the sale of the land. No deal has been agreed between us and the SOS consortium. This meeting is an opportunity for the SOS consortium to actually introduce themselves, for them to present a more detailed business proposal and to provide evidence that funds are available for any proposed purchase. From this meeting we hope to have more detailed plans from the SOS group which we can then give our full consideration.
I am sorry if we are not in agreement as to the best use of the land but I can assure you that our plans are to give Walthamstow a community and homes that it can be proud of and that will also celebrate the rich heritage of the site.
Head of Communications,
London & Quadrant Housing Trust,