Plans for Wood Street: meeting report, and your chance to give your views

Council Wood Street report coverLast night’s Wood Street regeneration meeting – organised by Wood Street Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Wood Street Business Forum and Upper Walthamstow Action Group – saw over 80 local residents, businesses and others come together to hear about Waltham Forest Council’s plans for our area. The plans, which many in the room had concerns about, and which led to lively discussion, are open for consultation until 30 September. This post gives a brief summary of the three presentations made by Council officers.

Wood Street First believes these plans will have a big impact on our area and our community. Many people at the meeting thought that the Council had failed to fully involve local people and agencies so far. We encourage anyone with a view to get involved now, to respond to the consultation and to engage with the plans as they emerge.

The first presentation, from Joe Addo-Yobo of the Council’s planning policy team, gave an overview of the Council’s draft Wood Street Area Action Plan (AAP). The AAP sets out the Council’s view of how the housing and land uses of our area should change over the next 15 years.

AAPs can be useful in local planning. If they are done well and gain local support, they allow councils and local people to develop a shared, longer-term strategy for an area. This means they can be more proactive about what new developments are wanted, and have better discussions with any developers about how their proposals fit in with local people’s needs and wishes.

The Wood Street AAP focuses on creating new housing, and proposes an increase of aroud 800 flats and houses on 19 sites. These would be developed alongside other changes to infrastructure and local services that would be funded in part by contributions from developers. Some of these sites are owned by the Council, while others are not. At some, including the Goss site on Fulbourne Road, work is already underway. But there are no fixed plans or timetables for most sites, and hence these will need more detailed planning proposals that would go to the Council’s planning committee for consideration. (See below for more on the proposals for the Marlow Road Estate.)

The 19 sites are in 6 clusters:

  • Fulbourne Road
  • Forest Road Gateway
  • Thorpe Coombe Hospital
  • Marlow Road Estate and Plaza
  • Station area
  • Wood St south
Area Action Plan boundary and site boundaries
Area Action Plan boundary and site boundaries

The second presentation, from Sam Neal in the Council’s regeneration team, set out the Council’s plans for improving the play area in the Plaza. These changes have been funded by the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund (which also paid for the recent work on the streetscape and Indoor Market) and have been the subject of consultation over the last year or so. Work is set to begin in the play area, and and some nearby shop fronts, in October, with at least some improvements by March 2014. The changes are likely to be temporary, as they may well be affected by plans for Marlow Road and the Plaza (see below).

The third presentation, from Nick Powell in the Council’s housing regeneration team, set out the plans for the Marlow Road estate, the Plaza and the land around Northwood Tower. This land is owned by the Council, and is one of the AAP clusters that is likely to be developed in the early phases. The plan is for the demolition of the existing Marlow Road estate, and for the social housing to be rebuilt (about 150 houses and flats). In addition, 200-250 private houses and flats are planned – with the profit from the sale of these making the overall scheme viable for a developer. The proposal is that the new housing will be built on the existing Marlow Road site and on the land around Northwood Tower, including parts of the Plaza. Some Marlow Road residents will need to be temporarily rehoused under the plans.

The proposed timetable for the Marlow Road scheme is:

  • Outline scheme and Compulsory Purchase Order plans have been approved in principle by Cabinet
  • Developer partner to be appointed March 2014
  • Planning approval June 2015
  • Completion Sept 2020

A resident steering group has been set up, and consultation has been undertaken. There is more on the plans and project on the Ascham Homes website, and how to get involved, here:

Getting involved

The Council’s AAP is open for consultation until 30 Sept. The web link is here:

For the Marlow Road scheme, you may also want to check the Ascham Homes website – here is the link again:

Share your views
Wood Street First wants to support more effective community debate of, and involvement in, these plans, and  invites you to share your views here. We know that local feelings are running high on the topic. Nonetheless, we ask you to keep your contributions respectful – abusive or personal comments will be removed. We are also happy to correct any factual inaccuracies in this post.

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