L&Q’s plans will lose the tax payer tens of millions-are they being assisted by Waltham Forest Council to keep this under wraps?
THE AGREEMENT between Waltham Forest Council and London & Quadrant that L&Q’s Walthamstow Stadium planning application can be submitted, and indeed validated by Waltham Forest Council, without the viability assessment being published is another example of the inappropriate relationship that exists between these two bodies.
We have always maintained that, should L&Q’s current planning application be approved, the development will lose tens of millions of part public money and this is a fact L&Q is desperate to keep under wraps. It now appears that they are receiving assistance from Waltham Forest Council to do just that.
Please remember this is hot on the heels of clear evidence of inappropriate relationships existing between the organizations, such as Simon Baxter of L&Q asking Head of Planning ‘Have you gleaned any more intelligence in respect of this situation?’ and L&Q passing on confidential information relating to Bob Morton’s bid to Councillor Pye.
The matter of viability runs to the very heart of this issue and we insist that the council provide complete clarity in this connection. Questions so far asked by our team to the council have received inadequate replies.
The council’s reply to us included:
‘This is an approach which has been taken in relation to other large scale developments where there is an issue of commercial sensitivity / confidentiality in the viability information.
In the case of the current application this would have been agreed with the agents by David Scourfield, as Strategic Lead Officer for the development, in consultation with relevant colleagues within the Council.
I would stress that this is not a position adopted to prevent the local community from considering the implications of the scheme. However, the commercial sensitivities do need to be recognized’
On further questioning, the council advised that this approach has been used in relation to the EMD Cinema, the Billet Road Works andEssexWharf. We do not think that this approach was used in these schemes and have asked the council to check again and advise.
More worryingly, when we queried what precisely is the commercial sensitivities of this case bearing in mind L&Q have always said that they intend to build the scheme, the Council’s reply was ‘We are awaiting a response from our viability consultants in this regard’. Why is this information not readily to hand –as they have agreed the procedure, surely it has already been thought through?
We have asked that a full response is with us within the next 7 days and we will make this response public.
We repeat the council’s own comment ‘this is not a position adopted to prevent the local community from considering the implications of the scheme’. Alas, we just do not believe you.