Monday, 7 January 2019

Whipps Cross Roundabout demise


On the 17th January the council (i.e. TfL) will close Whipps Cross Roundabout and open it as Whipps Interchange, a simple T junction! So what are the benefits we will get for our £4m? Some land returned to the forest and a nice place to park buses while they wait for the next leg of their journey. Will traffic flow any better - well I never noticed a problem with the roundabout!

What will happen now is traffic will be delayed more as the computer buffs at City Hall will be able to manage the traffic coming into Waltham Forest by altering the timing of the lights which they were unable to do when it was a smooth running roundabout!!

Here is the plan:

As it was:

Juniper House Planning App


I urge you to get your objection in to another Town Centre tower block this time 16 storeys opposite and higher than the Travelodge.


Brett McAllister
Development Management
The Magistrates
1 Farnan Avenue
London E17 4NX
7th January 2019

Dear Mr. McAllister,

Application No: 183989
Juniper House, 221 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9PH

No real effort was made to engage the community hence only 30 people attended. Seeing as the Council is the developer this shows a total disregard to residents.

1.     Construction Issues
a.     Before this application is presented to the Planning Committee we want to see a full report on how it is proposed to manage the construction traffic from the North Circular to the Town Centre for the C&R Town Centre Development, Central House and Juniper House all of which are expected to start in 2020 and go on for at least 5 years. Continuous disruption to the Town Centre can only act as a disincentive to people to visit the shops and the market thereby undermining the economy of Walthamstow.
b.     We are extremely concerned at the damage the construction traffic will do to First Avenue and the Town Centre generally. This site is very tight due to the surrounding houses and the boundary with the railway line. We believe this is far too large a development for a small and congested site.
c.     Juniper House has very limited access only via First Avenue. This area was held up by the council as a great Mini Holland success. The quieter roads created will now be the main routes for the construction traffic meaning the Mini Holland expenditure was a waste of public money.
d.     The corner of St Mary’s Road and Hoe Street is a major pedestrian thoroughfare and with Central House and Juniper House developments this corner will be very congested.
e.     Other sites – If the C&R Town Centre development goes ahead, which is due to start in 2020, and go on for at least 5 years the Hoe Street area will be heavily congested with construction traffic. Currently this part of the Town Centre has been a building site for at least 2 years waiting for the gyratory system to be completed and Walthamstow Gateway. No sooner will they be completed and Central House will start in 2020. Juniper House will start in 2020 and go on well into 2022. There are plans to rebuild Walthamstow Central Station which will also become a building site for many years. All this means residents of this area will have experienced building site conditions for 10 years or more. This is unacceptable and makes Central Walthamstow a very unattractive place.

2.     Design
According to LBWF Urban Design Supplementary Planning Document paragraph 5.7.3 states:

In some places within the borough, such as some Victorian or Edwardian terraced streets, the character is very distinct with strong building ‘rhythms’ and a prevalence of unifying features, materials and detailing. New development should therefore take these into account in the design response, by seeking to reflect the prevailing scale, proportion and detailing of buildings, albeit not necessarily by way of a pastiche response to context.

How can a 16 storey modern glass and brick tower block come any way to meeting this requirement? Another tower block so close to Hoe Street is going to change the whole nature of the area and overwhelm the existing 2 storey Victorian Terraces in First Avenue and the surrounding streets. Orford Road is the road that leads to the historic Walthamstow Village visited by hundreds of tourists! This cannot be allowed to happen and is contrary to council policies.

3.     Comments from the Planning Report –
A high quality and sustainable mixed-use redevelopment of an under-utilised site in Walthamstow town centre; the site of Juniper House was not underutilised – it was used by a modern day well designed office block.
91 residential units, (of which 59% benefit from two bedrooms or more) contributing towards the increased annual housing target of LBWF at both the town centre and wider borough scales;” the Draft London plan says Waltham Forest’s target for housing will be 1,794 homes per year but the Town Centre alone is providing that.
“Flexible commercial floor space providing a valuable contribution to the vitality and vibrancy of this part of Walthamstow”; - the workspace will be pokey, hard to access and service so may well not be used.
Improvements to the public realm and enhanced pedestrian permeability throughout the site”; only residents of the flats and users of the nursery will access the restricted site
“A high quality environment for future residents and occupiers including a variety of communal amenity spaces to complement the residential offer” it will be like a gated community isolated from the rest of the Town Centre.

4.     Fire Precautions
a.     Grenfell - After the Grenfell disaster it is vital a proper analysis is made of how the emergency services will access this very restricted site. Until the Grenfell Inquiry is completed we don’t believe any tower blocks should be built until it is fully understood why the regulations allowed the Grenfell disaster. A fire at this very congested point would have a massive impact on local residents and the whole Town Centre and the risk is too great so this development should not be approved.
b.     Fire Safety - It is up to the planners to make sure the design of this building meets the necessary fire precautions such as a fire lift and sprinkler systems etc. Plans need to be in place to show how evacuation of the building can be achieved and how the emergency vehicles can access it and get the necessary water supplies to fight a fire.,

5.     Transport
a.     Victoria Line Congestion - Between Tottenham Hale Station and Walthamstow Central there are over 5,000 apartments being constructed or in the planning process. This planning application highlights 1,433 new flats (homes for at least 3,000 more people) being constructed in central Walthamstow alone. The Victoria Line is already at capacity with trains every minute. This development of 91 flats is going to create a lot of tube journeys and will just help to congest the line even further. There is no more capacity in central Walthamstow for buildings that create additional tube journeys. People moved to Walthamstow because it was cheap and it was easy to get into central London. Now the tube is getting dangerously overcrowded before many of the new properties are completed and TfL have no plans for increasing the capacity of the line. The council must stand up to the GLA and demand a stop to these developments as the transport infrastructure cannot cope with the forth coming demand.
b.     Road Network - Hoe Street is often jammed with traffic as it is a major route through the Borough. This development cannot be accessed from Hoe Street without blocking the road and the buses. The only access to it is through quiet residential streets which have been made quieter by Mini Holland. This scheme cannot be built without destroying the environment of the local residents and having a significant impact on the people living on the route of the construction vehicles from the North Circular up Chingford Road into Hoe Street. Thousands of residents along the route will have their lives disrupted by all the construction traffic trying to head to the Town Centre for the various developments that are being proposed. As noted earlier this is going to go on for over 10 years.

6.     Servicing the Site
Construction Traffic - Very severe restrictions will need to be put on the construction traffic to ensure the Town Centre does not jam up and the lives of the residents in the surrounding roads is not made a misery. All construction staff will have to arrive at the site on public transport which will just congest the buses and tube more. The Planning Committee will need to see a fully worked up transport plan to show how the construction traffic will be managed and which streets disrupted.

7.     Nursery – the 35 place nursery tucked away in the service yard of the 16 storey block adjacent to a busy railway is hardly an ideal location. If this is approved once again the planning process will be failing the next generation.

8.     Social Housing – we are told there is a desperate need for Social Housing and to reduce costs the land owned by the council should be used for Social Housing. This is another good example where public land is being sacrificed for profit (same as Blackhorse Point). If this site is to be developed it should be for Social Housing and not to fund a hole in the Council’s accounts.

We urge you to reject this plan as it is out of keeping with the existing low rise Victorian terraces, is too congested a site and access is only through existing quiet residential streets. This is a bad scheme for the Town Centre and for the adjacent residents.

Yours sincerely,

Adrian Stannard
Civic Society Planning Watch