Conran and Partners has had to delay planned public consultations for its Walthamstow Stadium housing scheme due to ‘fears for staff safety’
The events, organised to hear local residents’ views on the proposals, were cancelled after developer London & Quadrant (L&Q) received ‘individual and collective threats to members of staff.’
The company said it is in the process of lodging a formal complaint with the police.
Any plans that fail to return greyhound racing to the site are being ‘aggressively’ opposed by some local residents, claimed the company. .
Conran and Partners’ scheme consists of 320 units of one to four bedroom homes with both public and private gardens and allotments and leisure facilities.
A local resident event on Thursday night (2 December) was overrun by members of the Save our Stow (SoS) campaign. The developers claim campaign leaders had sent ‘increasingly aggressive’ messages to L&Q employees.
Staff were subject to repeated incidents of ‘aggressive behaviour and insulting comments’ and felt ‘their personal safety was threatened’, it is alleged.
A statement on the SoS Campaign’s website however refuted the allegations. It said: ‘SOS would like to publicly say that we totally refute L&Q’s claims that we have threatened or insulted any of their staff in anyway.’
Steve Yianni, L&Q’s regional director, said: ‘It is with deep regret that we are postponing these events but we cannot put our own staff’s personal safety at risk from those who oppose our plans for redevelopment of the area. ‘
David Montague, the company’s chief executive added: ‘We will not be bullied or bow to an orchestrated public campaign by greyhound pressure groups and local MPs, which is clearly aimed at applying undue pressure to a charitable housing organisation in order that we sell land at a heavy discount when there is a dire need for housing in the borough.
‘If elected MPs are telling us that housing is not important to their constituents then we will listen. But in no circumstances will I or my staff be threatened by those who oppose our plans.’
Details of future consultation will be available via L&Q’s website www.lqgroup.org.uk
A formal complaint is in the process of being made to the police.
L&Q will look to find alternative ways to engage with residents in consultation with the Local Authority.
Postscipt: David Montague, L&Q chief executive
L&Q has withdrawn the press release issued on 3 December regarding the Walthamstow Stadium site.
L&Q wishes to make it clear that Iain Duncan Smith MP and Stella Creasy MP do not support people who use intimidation or improper conduct and that both MPs take the issue of housing within Waltham Forest as an important matter.
We apologise for any confusion and offence caused and have apologised personally to both MPs. We in no way sought to imply inappropriate or threatening behaviour from the MPs and apologise sincerely for the personal offence caused and the implication that they would use their public position in this manner.
The safety of our staff is of paramount importance to L&Q and it is with regret that the public consultation on the regeneration of Walthamstow Stadium had to be cancelled. Following the initial event on Thursday evening, we have contacted the police in regards to the behaviour of some of those attending the consultation.
We will continue to maintain our dialogue with the local MPs in relation to our plans.