September Update – Update re. Bob Morton and L&Q plans for the site (15 September)
On 10 September we met Bob Morton, for the second time, to discuss his recent proposal to purchase the site. During an open discussion with Mr Morton, it became clear that no agreement would be met. He remained unable to satisfy our requests for additional information to substantiate the offer and as a result we still do not believe his bid represents a viable option for us, the site or the community. As a social housing provider – part-funded by public grants – we have a duty to ensure all investment is responsibly managed and realised and this bid allows us to do neither. Mr Morton has advised that he is not prepared to amend his offer or submit a further bid.
After having made an open invitation for any interested party to talk to us, giving Mr Morton two opportunities to present his offer and making absolutely clear what we would regard as acceptable, we have now concluded that the development of the Walthamstow Stadium site, under our ownership, will not include a dog racing track. There are a number of reasons for this, including:
- There is a serious need for housing in Waltham Forest – over 14,000 families are currently on the waiting list in the borough
- Whilst leisure facilities need to form a key part of any development, it is our view that a dog track will not match the full community’s needs. We will be consulting widely on what form and shape that leisure offer will take, and our proposals will be based on that consultation process.
We have a fifty year track record of investing in Waltham Forest and working with local people to create a place where they can be proud to live. As such, we believe a housing-led solution which provides 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom private and affordable homes and also meets local demand for leisure facilities, represents the best use of the site for residents of Waltham Forest and the best future for the local community. We will continue to progress our plans, consult with the local community and keep you informed here at each stage.