Speeches read out at the 8th May Walthamstow Stadium Planning applications 2011/0898  and 2011/0907

Speech by Pamela Fleisch - Association Secretary

Myself, Karen, Toni and Gail speak tonight on behalf of Walthamstow Stadium Area Residents Community Association members.

Gail’s speech will be longer as it incorporates matters relating to the 2nd application to demolition and listed buildings.

I also need to point out that the plans this evening are not the ones residents have been consulted on and that one resident is still waiting for a response from a labour councilor, having been told answers and comments could not be given before speaking to the chief whip.

We truly hope that Councillors on the Planning Committee will make independent and impartial decisions tonight and take on board everything said here this evening.

We do not need inappropriate, unaffordable housing designed to maximize private rents and landlord subsidies.

The impact of this scheme on the area would be devastating. It does not compensate for the “broadly positive elements” referred to in the Officer’s Report – residents concerns have not been adequately addressed.

L&Qs shameful rejection of good practice guidelines needs to be seen for the cynical tokenism it is.
The plan will provide housing, but is it appropriate?

L&Q openly agree that this scheme will not supply the recommended 50% quota of social housing. The best estimate,  in a plethora of confusing documents, appears to be 20% of which only 24 units are “affordable rent”  and there is no social rented provision at all.

Additionally, L&Q only provide 27% of homes with 3+ bedrooms, barely half the requirement of local policy.

There is a difference between quality affordable family homes, and packing as many units as you can into a relatively small, unsuitable space.

Within CS2,  properties in the town Centre, Blackhorse Lane, Wood Street, the Northern Olympic Fringe  and Highams Park already exceed the 10,320 new homes needed in the planned period.
There is no necessity for dense housing on the stadium site. 

L&Q have agreed to contribute £4m through Section 106 towards alleviating the negative impacts and shortcomings of the scheme. This is not sufficient  to compensate us for them not complying with good practice guidelines. We have to live with the outcomes.

Section 122 of the Localism Bill states we should be consulted on major changes. The decision not to deculvert the river and to re-route it, is a significant change with potential major impacts.

Ching Brook may be an insignificant culvert to English Heritage and L&Q but it is a much loved patch of biodiversity to us. It’s in desperate need of a major makeover. Local money should be spent here.

These issues should be resolved before planning permission is given.

Can we trust L&Q?  Their process of consultation has left a legacy of mixed and contradictory messages, failure to turn up for meetings they have called, contradictory answers, false reassurances and unacceptable delays.

They have produced misleading representations and models.

Can we rely on them in the future? Will they comply with any conditions imposed or will they, yet again, renege and “re-interpret” such things as the distances between buildings and boundaries, heights, design features, etc in the name of expediency or loss of profit?

If you approve this application, how can we be sure we ALL don’t all end up paying for a very costly mistake – in the long term as well as the short term.

Speech by Karen Thwaite - Association Street Representative Wadham Avenue

Residents question the validity, viability and currency of documents which support this application. Reports  appear out-of-date, inadequate or lacking with some documents contradicting others.

Insufficient consideration has been given to the impact of traffic, noise, parking and pollution as a result of the planned increases in the residential population specifically in the stadium area - never mind the additional 5,000 people L&Q expect to visit the estate facilities.  

Health and educational services are already under significant strain. This  is added to by the number of other local developments already in place or being planned in the local area, such as  :
the Tesco site
Banbury Park
the former stadium car park. 

Compensation “donations” are inadequate.

Not only will our area decrease environmentally it will also be less safe as defined by The CABE report  
The plan flouts policy CS16  and Secured By Design principles and practices -  an initiative recommended as a condition to any planning permission. Examples include:

undercroft car-parking
combined walkways, and cycle paths

increased opportunities for crime and poor supervision to prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour
Such issues are given scant consideration but are crucial to safety and well being.

Lack of consultation and discussion about change of use from leisure is only mentioned in passing in the report. This is dismissive of genuine local needs and the local policies designed to protect these.  It gives the impression that it is a “done deal”.

Yet we do need more generic leisure & entertainment facilities.

We already have an abundance of fitness centres and community sports facilities. It would be more appropriate for them to increase access and  inclusivity rather than create more.

There is a brand new Skateboard Park in Lloyds Park. Why do we need one on top of a listed building?
Rather than allocating £1.75 million on the Pool and Track, we should enhance leisure and entertainment facilities this side of the Billet?

Finally, the proposal claims that the plan will   enhance open space provision and urban design objectives which promote biodiversity and wildlife habitat in line with  the Landscape, Biodiversity and Open Space Strategy.  

Typically, however, the policies that would support this have been adequately applied in planning. Conservation and environmental officers concerns have not been resolved

There is no reference to the local badgers in the documents.  Planning law states that their habitat cannot be disturbed. There have been reports of bats and other protected species taking up residence.  The application has to be refused on these points alone.

If you read beyond the statements and look at the plans, only lip service is paid to these issues.

Where is the joined up thinking?

Speech on education by Trevor Calver - Friend of our Association

The importance of school places cannot be ignored when decisions have to be made on planning applications. So, let's look at the facts.

Of all London Boroughs, in 2010, Waltham Forest had the third largest percentage of children to their total population.

According to the Council's formula, this application will produce a Child Yield of 180 based upon the 2, 3 & 4 bedroom properties. Using the same scale, 50 of the 60 affordable housing units will be allocated to Waltham Forest.

It means only 35 school places will definitely be taken by children from within the borough. ALL THE REST COULD WELL BE TAKEN BY CHILDREN CURRENTLY LIVING OUTSIDE WALTHAM FOREST.

I have left copies for each of you on the committee showing the Education Departments projections for Primary (reception year) & Secondary (year 7) places as at 19th January 2012. You will see that the combined figures show ANNUAL  DEFICITS OF 628, 939, 1,043, 1,002, 1,222, 1,504
1,568 & 1,538 for the years 2013 to 2020 respectively.

Whilst I understand an undertaking has been made to commence provision for an additional 13 reception classes or 390 places, IN NO WAY DOES THIS ALLEVIATE THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM ESPECIALLY AS ALL THE 129 AVAILABLE PLACES SHOWN ON THE PRIMARY LIST WILL BE TAKEN BY THE END OF THIS JULY.

Please remember these figures DO NOT take into consideration:

Any new residential arrivals into the borough whether through reduced housing benefits or otherwise.
Increases in birth rates.
New housing or redevelopments such as the 95 units on the old council
building site on The Ridgeway, 9 units at the old Garfield Road car park
site & the Tesco at Highams Park premises under construction.

In case you have not had the opportunity to read the report on last years riots, I have left copies of
various pages for you which make specific comment & recommendations regarding schools. You will see there is a strong emphasis on the responsibility & part schools should take whilst children are under their supervision. It also recommends "primary & secondary schools failing to raise the literacy rate of a child to an age appropriate minimum standard should receive a financial penalty to cover
the cost of raising their attainment as they move on to a new provider".

Surely this implies the s106 education amount needs to be increased.

Speech by Toni Phipps - Street Representative Grove Park Avenue on flooding

Having read through the flood risk assessment and associated documents from MLM, Boyer and Scott Wilson, along with the revised plans available to me on the 2nd of May 2012.

I would like to outline the concerns from the Walthamstow Area Residents Association.
Across the reports there would seem to be conflicting information regarding the definition of a
functional floodplain, including flood probabilities from between a 1 in 20 year, to 1 in 100 year flood scenarios even though the area has been referred to as having an essential role to play in the effective long term flood risk management of North London and is a designated floodplain.

As existing residents, we can advise you that many of our gardens are frequently flooded from heavy continuous rainfall.
We do not know if our gardens being water logged is only caused by rainfall or whether the water content within the soil also rises dependant on the level of water within the River Ching.

However, I can inform you that during the recent downpours, when my garden was flooded from rainfall the void under my house was also flooded.

London and Quadrant have owned the land for over 4 years, giving them ample time to employ experts and carry out tests to ensure fully workable flood systems had been tried and tested to ensure all proposed and existing properties would be protected from any flood issues.

For the properties currently affected by the River Ching, those that pay either an exorbitant premium, cannot find or afford cover, it would have provided them with time to take consultation and involve the insurance companies to ensure theirs and any proposed dwellings will actually be insurable
against flood risk and damage.
The environmental agency letter states that they have discussed with L&Q changes in flood risk both
on and off site, yet no-one has discussed this with us.

This affects us, yet we have been completely left out of consultation and discussion.

We have not been afforded the courtesy to be able to seek expert advice on this or consult the insurers.

The proposed plans could result in all our properties becoming uninsurable.
Detailed recommendations and restrictions have been advised to prevent flooding for the proposed development within the stadium.

Including the identification and provision of safe routes into and out of the development.

Have you or will you be providing existing local residents with such essential information and have the
additional costs and financial implications been added to the viability study?

The most recent reports show that the surrounding areas to the Stadium are at a higher risk of flood than the proposed development, if this is the case should all local roads not be relaid with the permeable paving and road systems as outlined in the proposals.

The residents would like to know what contingency plans and drainage improvements will LBWF be putting into place for the existing dwellings within the floodplain and what preventions will be applied to prevent the corrosion of the existing river bank

These are all major issues and significant factors when the planning committee make their decision

Speech by Gail Penfold  - Association Chair on 2011/0898
It is not the resident’s fault L&Q paid over £18million for the stadium site.  It should not be the residents who suffer because of it

The reality is that if the Urban Design Team had consulted with local residents a housing scheme could have been designed that was acceptable and complimented the area . They didn’t. 

Our council forced the Chandlers to block out the windows in the stand backing onto Empress Avenue due to privacy and overlooking issues. L&Q  & Waltham Forest kept referring to the height of the stands as a guide however your predecessors actions prove that CS15c is not applicable and the area does not fall into the limited circumstances relating to medium rise taller buildings 5-9 storeys high.

The Urban Design guidance and L&Qs plans before you tonight do not correctly address issues of height and scale sensitivity. Again it does not comply with CS15.

A scheme of similar height and density to those properties surrounding the stadium would have been approved long ago.

L&Q had the ideal opportunity to create an iconic village in London comprising houses and low rise maisonettes with some leisure that was fully inclusive of age and disability where people, particularly families, would flock to live and quirky shops that people would travel to visit.  

Instead, they designed a modern version of estates demolished for good reason, ones which encourage crime disrespect and where people feared to walk.

The scheme before you does not design out crime it encourages it.

CS10 creating more jobs and reducing worklessness is vital to our borough.   We desperately need long term jobs to support sustainable economic growth and neighbourhood improvement.

Out of the 8000 homes listed under CS1 only 1,000 jobs are being created. Just One job for every 8 properties.   L&Qs permanent job to property ratio should be far higher

For our borough to thrive in the future Councillors and Officers need to ensure that the ratio of jobs per new properties built is increased substantially.

We want you to refuse the application. If you decide to approve it, your constituents and residents require the following additional conditions are attached.

1.  We respectfully insist that you DO NOT allow plans to go ahead until ALL the suggested pre-planning researches are undertaken and fully reported upon.

2. We require an additional sum of £180,000 to be secured.  This is to be specifically spent on raising the banks and providing additional shoring of the ching banks both around and in the Walthamstow Stadium Area. Properties in Empress Avenue are still in flood alert status, instituted 10 days ago.

3. When CPZ in re-installed, that the residents permits are free of charge. It is not our fault that L&Q are not providing adequate parking and we should not be financially penalised.

4. We require an additional payment to be secured to fund installation renewal and enlargement of the the gulleys and drains to take additional surface water flow . in our roads and all along the alleyway between Empress Avenue and Cavendish Road and insist this work is completed prior to the L&Q build being finished.

5. We ask you to insist that L&Q reduce the density to within 250 habitable rooms per hectare and maintain, if not increase, the proposed green corridors more appropriately.  They need to comply with the 3 bed plus quotas.

6. Institute procedures that will ensure that L&Q do not increase heights, decrease distance estimates or dilute the proposed design features which they currently suggest will maximize safety and privacy, particularly in relation to surrounding properties.

7.  Given the council’s responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 if this application is approved we will hold the approving councillors, personally and collectively responsible with the Council for the consequences of any flooding to our properties and our land.

The following is Gail Penfold's speech on the Listed building concerns relating to application 2011/0907.  She was not allowed time to read this so Cllr Paul Douglas kindly came to our Association's rescue and read it out on behalf of the residents of our Association.

With regard to application 0907 and this also applies to 0898.  The officer’s report fails to detail residents concerns adequately so that the Committee can understand and appreciate them and then make an informed decision.

Loss of heritage/identity and demolition of listed buildings and impact just don’t detail concerns.
Concerns remain about demolition and building here, particularly as new reports emerge about re-routing the river and potential contamination.

The stands foundations were built to enable the stand heights to be doubled so the foundations are very deep.

Surrounding houses are built on pillars, not modern foundations. What impact will the vibrations and piling work necessary to build multi-storey dwellings have on these properties and the flood plain?  
These issues should be resolved before planning permission is given.

There are no stands like these anywhere in Waltham Forest in fact hardly anywhere at all.

We are extremely concerned that LBWF has not received a response from the Twentieth Century Society and ask that this is followed up.

The second  dispatch has an alarming amount of “no responses” which to ordinary people is cause for concern in itself.

We ask that the decision on 0907 is deferred until responses are received.

Within the second dispatch there are items relating to 0898 which have been confusing in trying to understand the relevant policies for the 0907 application.

Core planning principles to conserve heritage assets indicates that we should not be letting any of the buildings be demolished.

Many residents feel the red and white fencing on the front enhance the building.  They also want the round lights to stay which when lit, give a positive impact on the building.  None of this has been reported to you yet representations regarding this have been made.

Some also want the white building behind and to the right of the stadium to remain. (popular building and entrance)

Some residents in Empress Avenue want the stands to remain and specifically bought their properties because they were not overlooked.

The spectator stands are curtilage listed and part of the site is an archeological priority zone.  Yet there is no reference to the artesian well or how this is being kept, protected etc.  If items are being demolished what archeological digs will take place.  If these haven’t already been incorporated, they need to be.

The committee need to consider whether a café is appropriate for the front listed building and whether any fire that may occur would result in this listed buildings destruction.

English Heritage have been unable to send in a final report due to the lack of information.  This is unfair and we ask that the matter be deferred to enable L&Q to supply all the information that English Heritage need to enable them to submit a final report.

Residents don’t want this left to yet another condition

If you have looked at our website you will see that the buildings including the 8 storey block do interfere with the silhouette.

Appreciation of the tote and other views from surrounding streets and vantage points have been removed.  Many properties that currently surround the stadium and have views of the various buildings will no longer enjoy them.

The kennels will not be a focal point due to the size and height of nearby buildings that diminish them into near insignificance.

Residents have grave concerns that L&Q will not correctly and fully maintain the listed buildings that are remaining on the site.  There has been no evidence of them showing any care or respect for the listed buildings so far. 

The Kennels do not have lead on their roofs any more and are therefore no longer “original”.

The front of the stadium looks pitiful.  The neon tubes have all been removed, the flags of all the countries that gave an impression of inclusiveness are something some people want brought back.

Weeds are being allowed to grow into the ramp leading to the first floor car park and left unchecked the roots could cause irrepairable damage.  There is paint peeling off the front of the building and it really is a sorry state.

On the listed buildings application we formally request deferment for a suitably long period of time to ensure matters that have not been adequately addressed can be dealt with properly.

Section 106 payment after payment after payment

Condition after condition after condition

And schemes that are not finalized or properly consulted on with residents are not acceptable in 2012.

Had the localism bill been in place years ago the reality is that residents that really care about their area would have had a greater voice on what is acceptable and what really does enhance our local area.

We have here copies of our speeches to be forwarded on to the Mayor’s Office so that they have everything said tonight on behalf of Walthamstow Stadium Area Residents Community Association.  Thank you for listening to us, we hope you appreciate our concerns and understand why we feel so strongly that the plans should be rejected.

COMMENTS:-  The above speeches are in the order that they should have been read It was interesting that although LBWF were given the speakers names and the order of speaking as our speeches followed on from each other, this was not adhered to.  Yet L&Q were asked who they wanted to speak and when.  Letters were received by residents separately relating to each planning application number giving the impression you could request to speak for 3 minutes on each separate application.  This however did not occur.