World famous “Stow” left in Ruins: Local MP calls on Council to Compulsory Purchase site

Saveourstow was shocked to find that, despite numerous claims by L&Q of community involvement in the planning process of Walthamstow Stadium, numerous residents even next to the track have never been consulted.  Local ward Councillors were inundated by complaints from residents in the road adjacent to the stadium (Rushcroft Road) with objections against L&Q to the consultation process. Their whole process is now flawed and a “sham”. Questions asked by L&Q on their questionnaires were ‘leading’ and the community was never given the option of greyhound racing despite 94% of residents wanting the track restored when given the option in the largest survey carried out within the Borough.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindale today stated:

“I am appalled to hear that L&Q have once again delayed on submitting their planning application for the Walthamstow stadium site.  This repeated delaying whist they play the property market is wholly unacceptable and yet another example of their mismanagement of the iconic stadium site, which they should never have been allowed to acquire in the first place.  With over 94% of local residents supporting the plans of Bob Morton to regenerate the site and restore the famous stadium to its former glory, surely it is time for Waltham Forest Council to take decisive action and order a compulsory purchase.  This way greyhound racing can return to Walthamstow, local jobs will be protected and the public purse will not have to foot the bill.”

L&Q now have the opportunity to adhere to the residents’ wishes and stop wasting further tax payers’ money with their ill fated plans. Despite assurances to MP’s and local councillors that their planning application will be in this month, L&Q have mislead the Borough yet again with their tenth date now doomed. We call upon the Board of Trustees to stop further humiliation to the name of L&Q by meeting with Stella Creasy and Ian Duncan Smith to agree a solution that includes greyhound racing which is what this Borough demands. Bob Morton will also attend talks, if invited to do so.

Residents claimed they had already completed questionnaires at the last consultation and nothing had changed with the plans that were shown yesterday. It was plain to Saveourstow that Conran & Partners, who have no experience of ever building a Housing Estate, were out of their depth. We also question why L&Q did not have independent advisers running the public consultation in line with the planning process and why they were in control themselves.

No planning application will be submitted by L&Q for years with L&Q now refusing to name any date despite land banking for the last 2 1/2 years. The Borough now has the problem of the most famous land mark in East London left in ruins and Historical Buildings rotting under the care of L&Q. We ask the council to intervene with an emergency meeting to discuss the world famous “Stow”. Our message to Waltham Forest Council is clear-please do not bury your heads in the sand and hope that this problem goes away-instead show leadership and find a solution that complies with the wishes of the vast majority of people that voted you in office.

This week the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, controllers of attendances  and tote returns, confirmed that Walthamstow Stadium was a viable track and in fact the leading in the Europe so L&Q can never obtain change of use in any event . Mr Bob Morton can start work immediately upon the restoration of the famous track and be ready to accept visitors for the Olympics next year however that deadline can only be met if he acquires ownership of the site soon. He will even provide the same number of affordable housing that L&Q will but by using private funds rather than part taxpayer monies.

We urge the Council, MP’s and the Mayor of London to intervene in order to save the public purse from the further draining of millions and to give residents of London their jobs back from L&Q who put an option on the track in 2007 while it was still operating as a viable track and employing many locals.

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