I’m sending you this email as someone who has contacted me about the future of the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium. It tells you how you can object to plans to turn this land into a housing estate and instead help the campaign for a better future for this area by emailing the Mayor of London – please also share this email with friends and family in both Walthamstow and London to ask them to help our campaign. You can also find information about this campaign and this letter on my website here:
With your help we can make the case for a better future for Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium!
Waltham Forest Council have given their approval to plans put forward by London and Quadrant Housing Association to convert the site into an estate. However they still have to be approved by the Mayor of London. He has two weeks (from receipt of all the paperwork from the Council) to make the final decision about whether L&Q’s application goes ahead. He can be emailed about this matter on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor is only likely to intervene if he feels issues around this application are of key strategic importance to London itself, such as delivery of the right homes and jobs for the capital, and protecting and enhancing London’s unique status and amenities. That is why if you think a better use could be made for this site which will bring benefits to all of London it is important to let him know your views. In particular, its important both local residents and fans of the Stadium who don’t live in Waltham Forest contact the Mayor to let him know of their support for its future.
Only correspondence which addresses the planning grounds for rejecting this proposal will be beneficial to the campaign to save the Stow, so below is a suggested text for an email to send to the Mayor. This sets out two strong regional grounds for rejecting this application on planning grounds – please feel free to adapt or cut and paste into your correspondence.
Dear Mr Johnson,
Re: Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, 300 Chingford Road, London E4 8SJ
I’m writing to you as a concerned resident of London to ask you to intervene to reject proposals put forward by London & Quadrant Housing Association to turn the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium into a housing estate. I believe there are grounds for you to use your powers in relation to planning issues of importance to London on the following grounds:
L&Q’s proposal does not preserve the original use of a heritage asset of national importance, and the jobs and economic activity associated with it.
Part 12 (Conserving and enhancing the historic environment) of the new National Planning Policy Framework states:
Where a proposed development will lead to substantial harm to or total loss of significance of a designated heritage asset, local planning authorities should refuse consent, unless it can be demonstrated that the substantial harm or loss is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss, or all of the following apply:
- the nature of the heritage asset prevents all reasonable uses of the site; and
- no viable use of the heritage asset itself can be found in the medium term through appropriate marketing that will enable its conservation; and
- conservation by grant-funding or some form of charitable or public ownership is demonstrably not possible; and
- the harm or loss is outweighed by the benefit of bringing the site back into use.
The track is listed not only due to the nature of its architecture but also due to its use and the importance of this both locally and more widely. Specifically its heritage listing states that it is ‘the best surviving and most architecturally interesting vintage greyhound stadium inthe country, with bold Art Deco influences in the stepped and streamlined detailing. It is also a major East London landmark, with the neon lighting of 1951 design on earlier lettering being a fitting use of such architectural advertising. Furthermore, it has special historic interest as the best surviving and most celebrated Inter-War greyhound stadium, a nationally loved building type expressive of developments in inter-War mass culture and entertainment’.
Thus the use of the site, as well as its physical state, is relevant to analysing whether any proposed application meets the test set out in Part 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Crucial to the Mayor intervening in this matter given the framework is whether or not there is a viable alternative proposal which is in keeping with the listed status of the building, as if there is, approval would contravene national planning policy and the comments of the Minster for Heritage Assets about the intentions of the Government in this case. An alternative, viable proposal which preserves greyhound racing, provides sustainable employment and delivers new housing on the site does exist, put forward by businessman Bob Moreton. London &Quadrant have dismissed Mr Moreton’s offer to work with them and stated that they ‘have absolutely no wish to sell the site’.
National planning policy stresses that where a development will cause substantial harm to or total loss of significance to a heritage asset it should be demonstrated that there is no viable alternative use. In this case there is a viable alternative proposal which preserves greyhound racing at the site. The Moreton proposal would also provide sustainable jobs and economic activity in an area suffering from unemployment.
L&Q’s proposal does not create a sustainable and balanced mix of housing tenure, which meets local and London-wide housing needs.
Only 20% of the total units in L&Q’s scheme are ‘affordable’, less than half the target of 50% set out in ‘Policy CS2 Improving Housing Quality and Choice’ of the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s LP Core Strategy . Of these, only 40% (24 units out of the total of 294) will be for affordable rent and none will be available for a social rent. This contravenes Policy 3.11 of the London Plan which recommends that 60% of new affordable housing should be for social rent.
The housing mix offered by this development does not contribute to the Borough’s housing needs properly – with only a small proportion of affordable housing and no social rented accommodation. Part 10.97.47 of the Council’s officer’s report to the Planning Committee states that ‘The design in terms of housing unit mix and affordable housing provision is not policy compliant and this is acknowledged. ‘The lack of affordable housing provided by this proposal demonstrates its very limited public benefits, which clearly do not outweigh the substantial harm and loss of significance to this designated heritage asset.
I hope you will listen to the concerns expressed about this proposal – please acknowledge my correspondence and keep me informed of your decision on this matter.
Walthamstow only has two weeks to save our Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium and secure a better future for the site. If you ever had a good night out there or believe Walthamstow needs housing and jobs please contact the Mayor of London and ask him to intervene.
Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow