Letter from Councillor Wheeler and SOS response back

Dear Mr Holloway

I would like to correct your assertion that I had hatched a plot with L&Q with respect to the Greyhound Stadium. It could not be further from the truth.

I am pretty certain that I had no meetings with L&Q about their scheme. The only discussions I had were with Officers and I certainly and I believe Officers thought the original scheme was awful.

The only meeting outside of officers I can recall was with Save Our Stow with Clyde Loakes. At that meeting we were both warm to the SOS/Morton proposal.

I also at about the same time ensured that the Planning Brief would insist there was a leisure/community element to any planning application in the context of ensuring that Planning delivers neighbourhoods that work. This approach should have been helpful to the Bob Morton proposal which was interesting

Development Control is a quasi judicial process and has to operate independently within Planning Policies i n making its decisions.

There is a “duty” on Council Planners to work with major developers to improve their proposals so they conform with Policies and are potentially successful.  I am not familiar with the application that ultimately went to committee; but would expect that it would be very different from the original

In this case in a local context the Development Control Committee may see that an application complies with policy and should be approved- even if they personally would prefer an alternative use. It is likely that a Bob Morton application could also gain approval- as I am sure you know it is not usual but there can be more than one valid planning approval for a particular location.

The decision is a local one albeit it has to take account of the Mayors Policies. It may well be if the Mayor has called it in that he could legitamately  reach a different decision because he has a wider remit than a Local Council Development Control process.

L&Q  who “own” the site do not have to proceed with this particular scheme and this where the argument has always needed to be made- it is perhaps a pity that they were hemmed in by the price they paid for the site- it was in my view a wrongheaded decision made worse by an initially awful scheme.

Terry Wheeler


Reply sent back by Barrie Clegg

Dear Councillor Wheeler

The point is that L&Q’s plans do not comply with policy-nowhere near.

Unfortunately, as you are aware, this was a carefully contrived plan from the outset. Its a shame that you did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. You would have seen David Scourfield warmly greeting L&Q’s representatives like family. You would have seen the planning committee completely ignoring planning policy. You would have seen 100% of the gallery angry with the Labour Council and L&Q. You would have seen your old colleague Gary Ince tell a pack of lies-I understand that he was invited by a member of the planning committee. You would have seen hundreds of good, decent people standing up for local democracy but witnessing a local disgrace orchestrated by Labour Councillors such as Marie Pye who I am copying in on this e mail. I will never forget her smug face after the meeting-job well done Marie. You would have seen two Labour members of the planning committee virtually silent and voting in line with the party whip.

Its very interesting that you chose to contact us after the decision, not beforehand. You and your colleagues have no interest in the well being of this Borough. Please can you or Marie advise me in simple terms just what L&Q’s plans will bring to this community?  As a Waltham Forest resident there seems hundreds of properties available in Estate Agents windows if you have the money to buy. L&Q’s plans offer hardly anything for the less fortunate who quite rightly need help with their housing requirements. And please do not insult my intelligence with their ‘leisure proposals’. It is quite clear that Marie’s relationship with L&Q was/is completely inappropriate evidenced by L&Q sending her Bob Morton’s plans as just one example.

So to you, Marie and your fellow Labour colleagues-well done-congratulations-job well done. Don’t bother about representing the people that voted you in to office. That’s an inconveneniece I’m sure you can manage,


Barrie Clegg

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5 Responses to Letter from Councillor Wheeler and SOS response back

  1. Mark Hobson says:

    Keep at it Barrie utter disgrace

  2. sally button newly elected councillor for Bowthorpe Ward, Norwich. says:

    Well said Barrie. Long live the fight for the Stow….Bring back our beloved greyhound track.

  3. andy bishop says:

    Great letter and a copy should go to every council officer in the borough who know in their hearts a poor decision has been made. The original scheme was awful…what makes the approved one any better. L and Q know the first one is never approved because they try it on. Their “concessions” and S106 contributions are meant to display certain understanding of local needs and give any subsequent application credibility. You can hear the claim and suggestion in the councillors letter “we as a planning authority have got the best deal for the community”…..under the circumstances…What are the circumstances then councillor? Winners are L and Q with guaranteed income streams from sales, rentals,, mortgages, maintenmance and leisure sales. The council with improved council tax of at least 700K per annum plus S106 of 4 million ( I wonder if these are ring fenced or end up in the general fund) and the fullfilment of certain council members agenda. The S 106 payments are one off and will soon be eaten up by what appears an incompetent council. The legacy is a council housing waiting list that this development will not help one bit and local residents suffering the crap it will bring. Sorry.. they can always pop in the juice bar and have a coffee while tying to find a parking space or as the author of all this once stated ” if they dont like it they can always move to surrey.” The SOS campaign deserves better as do the local residents…local democracy has taken a hit over this

  4. Junior says:

    If I was looking for something obscene, it would be that there are thousands of projects being built across the country that have NO SOCIAL RENT, whilst the number that do is probably in two figures. THIS IS A QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE ASK

  5. Junior says:

    The secretary of state for work and pensions has threatened to challenge London & Quadrant’s status as a social housing provider.

    Iain Duncan Smith has warned 66,000-home L&Q that he will contact communities secretary Eric Pickles to question its housing association status if it refuses to meet a millionaire keen to redevelop Walthamstow dog track in east London.

    L&Q bought Walthamstow Stadium in 2008 but does not plan to build social homes on the site due to viability concerns after the government ended capital grant for social rent. Mr Duncan Smith claims L&Q is acting like a ‘property speculator’.

    The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green is backing investor Bob Morton who is offering L&Q £16 million for the site to re-open it as a dog track.

    L&Q received planning consent for a 294-home development on the site from Waltham Forest Council in May. The plans have been referred to the mayor of London.

    L&Q does not want to sell the land and is refusing to meet Mr Morton.

    Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘They absolutely must meet. If they don’t then I would have to go back to the secretary of state to question their right and status as social housing providers.’

    Mr Pickles has no power to order the de-registration of a housing provider. However, the regulator can de-register an association if it no longer meets criteria, which includes the provision of homes for below market rents. Mr Duncan Smith has attacked L&Q for including just 60 homes for affordable rent, and none for social rent in its plans, although the government has effectively ended support for new social housing. A spokesperson for L&Q said its plans would bring £50 million of investment into Waltham Forest.

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