London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved Conran and Partners’ contentious £50 million housing-led overhaul of Walthamstow stadium in east London
The practice secured had already secured consent from Waltham Forest Council for the revamp of the grade II-listed stadium - described by English Heritage as ‘the best surviving and most architecturally interesting vintage greyhound racing stadium in the country’ - back in May (see AJ 09.05.2012).
The controversial project for developer London & Quadrant (L&Q) will create 294 homes, a new leisure centre, children’s nursery, parkland, play spaces a public plaza and allotments.
The Mayor’s green light follows more than two years of battles with local campaigners such as Save Our Stow (SOS), which had been hoping to return dog racing to the 1930s east London stadium. It is understood some protesters, led by local MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy, are demanding that the scheme is called in by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Creasy added: ’ [This] news is a bitter blow. There are now very serious questions about the financial viability of L&Q’s plans and what this means for the public purse.’
However Lee Davies, director of Conran and Partners, said Johnson’s decision meant the development team could ‘focus on delivering well-designed housing and bringing benefits to everyone living in the borough’.
He added: ‘We’re committed to preserving the heritage of the site. The plan for the site brings its listed buildings into long-term sustainable use for all ages within the community and will deliver a community-based development that will provide new homes, a modern leisure centre, children’s nursery, allotments and jobs.
‘The development will also see this iconic heritage asset preserved and brought back to life for the wider community and future generations to appreciate and use.’