To: All Decision Makers
We are writing to you as those attending the recent consultation about the plans for the Town Centre were concerned at the lack of consistent information given over the 2 days. If you expect the public to support this scheme then at least provide them with the full details they need to assess it.
a. The reason given for felling the avenue of lime trees was because the council is insisting the area is all at one level. This seems a feeble excuse for felling so many trees.
b. Another reason given was that 3 trees have roots that will be damaged during the works.
c. Is the true reason to clear the view from the bus station to the shopping centre?
2. CLIMATE EMERGENCY
a. The Council has issued a Climate Emergency and will be developing a Climate Change Strategy. Surely this ensures existing mature trees are properly maintained so how is this compatible with the felling of 80 mature trees in the Town Centre?
b. Planting new trees does not create the same benefits to the climate that mature trees offer so for some decades the environment of the Town Centre will be damaged instead of improved.
c. What is the Council doing to ensure the plans for the Town Centre are energy efficient? Will the scheme have a neighbourhood energy scheme, solar panels etc.?
d. Surely building over the Victoria Line is going to increase the energy needed to create this scheme as the foundations will be extremely complex.
3. GREEN SPACE
a. The green space is being reduced by 30% despite even more people living in the area. This is bad planning as it does not provide for the openspace residents living near the Town Square or shoppers visiting the Mall and market need.
b. Surely a properly designed scheme would ensure a better public realm with enough space to cater for the growing number of people using the Town Square?
a. From the information available the new play area has been moved from beside the bus station to the centre of the openspace but very little information about the play area was provided. Can a fully worked up plan of the equipment being provided be made available on a web site? How many children and what ages will it cater for?
a. From Tottenham Hale to Walthamstow Central getting on for 20,000 flats are being built. Meridian Water will be providing 10,000 new homes adjacent to Waltham Forest so is there any need for adding more flats into an already saturated Town Centre?
b. Juniper House is about to start being constructed, Whipps Cross Hospital site will be mainly housing and the Town Hall complex will have more flats and over a thousand flats are under construction in Lea Bridge Road and Leyton. Surely these are more than enough to allow the Council to meet its housing target from the GLA of 1,800 per year? We can’t continue to pack in people without social cohesion breaking down especially over a short period of time.
c. The proposed flats are for rent – what does that mean? If the rents are at market rates there will be no housing for those on limited incomes. If the rents are only affordable by those in city jobs paying large bonuses will the flats just be occupied by a transient population who add nothing to the community of Waltham Forest?
6. TOWER BLOCKS
a. Height – 31 storeys is totally out of keeping with the street scene around the Town Centre being more than twice the height of any nearby building. This is very bad planning and will make it an unattractive place.
b. Massing – we are not clear how the reduction from 4 to 3 blocks improves the massing as the same number of flats will be built and the blocks appear, in the limited information available, to be squashed together making the massing worse.
c. Building over the Victoria line – the consultation says the scheme re-design allows the scheme to be built quicker. From the limited information available to the public the tower blocks still seem to be being built over the Victoria Line tracks which would involve massive foundation construction works so what is it that has changed to make the scheme easier to build?
d. Full planning permission has not been obtained for the tower blocks and it appears the second partner, Mount Anvil, has pulled out as the consultation admitted a partner was not yet in place. When is the consultation on the full planning application for the tower blocks to be carried out?
e. Grenfell – only the first report from the Grenfell Inquiry has been published. Surely no tower block of 31 storeys can be considered until all the building regulations relating to tower blocks have been reviewed in the light of the results of the Grenfell Inquiry?
7. WALTHAMSTOW CENTRAL
a. Congestion – the Victoria Line is already at capacity so where is the sense of creating more demand for the tube adding more flats right beside the new entrance?
b. When are TfL going to reveal their plans and consult the public?
c. Is TfL rebuilding their existing station as well as creating a new entrance from the Mall via escalators down to the platforms?
8. C&R TAKEOVER
a. What impact does C&R’s financial situation and its talks with Growthpoint Properties about a takeover affect the funding of this scheme and the new tube station entrance?
b. Why have they not been able to get a partner to fund the tower blocks? They lost Barratt Homes before the first planning application was submitted and subsequently Mont Anvil seems to have withdrawn.
9. SECTION 73
a. This process is normally used for minor changes to consented planning applications. The changes C&R are proposing are not minor i.e. 3 tower blocks not 4, new entrance to tower blocks and new entrance to tube station.
b. It is not clear why any of the changes will reduce the time taken to build this development. Surely if that was true C&R should have made it clear at the consultation why using Section 73 makes a significant difference.
10. OTHER TOWN CENTRE DEVELOPMENTS
a. Construction Traffic – with Juniper House about to start, Strettons site not far behind and the council’s plans to refurbish the EMD and redevelop the Town Hall site there will be major congestion on Chingford Road, a residential street, as the construction traffic makes its way from the North Circular.
b. Despite asking the council various times no clear answer has been given as to how the construction traffic will be managed. This route is already heavily congested and this will make a mockery of declaring a Climate Change Emergency.
We believe the residents of Waltham Forest should be shown more respect and a proper consultation held making the plans available for the whole scheme as well as CGI images of the main features so the public can really see what the impact of this scheme will be and the many years the town centre will be disrupted.