Walthamstow Stadium – Open letter from SOS to Mayor Johnson

Dear Mayor Johnson,

You are due to shortly be making a decision on the future of Walthamstow Stadium. We urge that you see through the conspiracy that has evolved between Waltham Forest Council and London and Quadrant and act in the interests of the people of the East End of London, the people that voted you in to office. We urge that you call the site in.

L&Q’s plans are not supported by the vast majority of locals and local MP’s Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy are vehemently opposed. They offer nothing for the local community-no housing for social rent, minimal affordable housing, no worthwhile leisure and precious little in the way of real jobs-all at a cost to the public purse of multi millions.

We know that Waltham Forest council encouraged L&Q to buy the site. Since then they have worked in partnership to ensure that L&Q get their way-at the expense of local democracy and pure common decency. Indeed, they have reserved the ‘best’ until last-they know that the viability assessment that must be sent to us by 31 October under a Freedom of Information judgement, six days after you are due to make your decision, will prove what we have been saying all along-that their plans are quite clearly non-viable and cost the taxpayer multi millions. But rather than act in the interests of the people of the Borough and send it to us now, LBWF have chosen to push through the application before it is ready with a draft S106 agreement just so this viability assessment is not in the public arena until after your decision. This is simply a public disgrace.

Mr Johnson, please demonstrate that proper democracy and common decency still exist. Do not condone the shady and complicit actions of LBWF and L&Q. The underhand encouragement to buy the site, the flouting of planning laws and regulations, the lies and deception of L&Q including to a Government Minister, the whipping of councillors to vote in favour of L&Q by a now suspended councillor at a planning meeting where the only ‘independent’ spokesman in support of the development, Gary Ince (sponsored by both LBWF and L&Q), has since lost his job amid accusations of wrongdoing. And now the final act of betrayal to the general public of hiding the viability assessment as detailed above.

These actions should be publicly abhorred, not supported.

There are legal and planning obligations why you cannot approve this application and we have written to your officers advising them of these. Change of use of a viable listed building, no public consultation of late changes to the scheme, Flood Risk, lack of affordable housing, density and housing mix are examples of how L&Q’s plans fall woefully short of agreed limits and lawful practice.

We would understand the quandary if there was no alternative. But there remains a £16m bid on the table by Bob Morton and Frank Taylor to ignite the East End of London in to what the people want-several hundred proper London Living Wage jobs, ancillary business to locals, more affordable housing than L&Q offers, inward investment and a night-time economy and the return of the Neon Lights and social identity of Walthamstow/Chingford-all at no cost to the taxpayer.

So the choice is clear and simple, Mr Johnson. You can approve L&Q’s plans and offer nothing for the people but placate L&Q and LBWF-all at a cost of multi millions which will be made public soon after your decision. Or you can call in the site and explore the alterative that has the full backing of both democratically elected MP’s and the vast majority of the general public.

In your letter to us of 13 April 2012, you stated that ‘viability and consultation will be major issues’ when making your decision. Well, L&Q’s plans are simply non-viable and the locals have not been consulted on the plans that you have before you.

So please honour your pre election promises and support the people of East London and not the lies and deception of L&Q and the wrongdoings of LBWF.

Please call in the site.

Yours sincerely


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