Outline of the Meeting 23 January 2012
This does not include all that was said, but has been put online to give an idea of the points made, questions asked, the answers given and a description of how it was facilitated.
Resident Gail Penfold who chaired this meeting welcomed all to the meeting and explained she lived in Waltham Forest nearly all her life and near Walthamstow Stadium for the past 12 years. She pointed out that she does not work for L & Q, Waltham Forest Council, Save our Stow or any of their affiliated companies or contractors and is not involved in the racing industry.
She drew attention to the Model of the Stadium at the back of the Hall -note this can be viewed at LBWF Sycamore House which is sited within the Town Hall complex on Forest Road E17 during their opening hours.
It was explained that the evening was not about whether the stadium should return to being a dog track, but purely about what London and Quadrant have submitted to the Council’s planning department. The meeting had been arranged is to help all understand the revised plans because the applications made by L & Q are complex, have been changed and the large quantity of documents submitted not the easiest to trawl through, especially for anyone who has never been involved in planning.
The purpose of the meeting was for Planning Officers to explain the planning process and to provide information on the amended plans that have been submitted. To provide information on points residents need clarifying & take questions.
The LBWF officers agreed that if a question could not be answered that they would send written answers to those who gave their name and addresses.
Speakers were David Scourfield LBWF who talked on the background and development principles and explained how the planning process works.
Stanley Lau LBWF Planning Officer responsible for the London & Quadrant application who talked on the revisions to the scheme.
The other LBWF staff on the top table were Ron Presswell and David Boyes who answered questions
The Chair started the question session with 3 questions from residents who couldn’t attend.
Q1 L & Q state in their documents that LBWF advised them that the site was suitable for high rise tower blocks. Is this true. If so
how did LBWF reach that conclusion and why were residents not consulted by LBWF prior to reaching that conclusion.
Mr. Presswell referred to the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium Urban Design Guidance which was updated with a final report dated 1 July 2009. He explained that this was only guidance that LBWF had not advised L&Q that the site was suitable for high rise tower blocks.
Q2 Why are all the properties not full life properties. The population is getting older and whilst older properties will still be standing there is a need for more full life properties.
It was explained that all properties should be full life properties and there was a difference between this and properties that are specifically adapted for people with disabilities. Full life properties have the ability to be adapted.
Q3 The last question is from a 12 year old girl who is wheelchair bound. She would like to know why all the all the sporting activities planned on the stadium site are for able bodied people. What about me and others who have disabilities. They are putting in disabled properties so what about providing entertainment and leisure facilities for us too.
It was stated that this would be taken back to London & Quadrant as LBWF wanted all parts of the community to feel included.
Mrs Penfold asked a question on her own behalf - The question I would like to ask so that we are all clear is can you confirm that the
documents that have been submitted prior to your letter to residents in January 2012 including the amendment documents are the actual documents that will be presented to the Planning Committee and that these wont be changed without residents knowledge in the meantime.
It was explained that there could be changes and LBWF could not guarantee there would not be changes prior to this being presented to the Planning Committee.
David Scourfield responded - Its difficult to say they wont be changed at all. If there's significant changes then of course we will be reconsulting at some stage. It's normal on a large scale for minor issues to arise that means one or two units need to change position slightly. We have to gauge whether that warrants a full blown consultation.
She then requested that all changes made between now and the Planning Committee meeting are advertised and placed on the Council website to ensure full transparency.
It was agreed that this would be looked into.
The Chair then started to take one question per road listed on the LBWF website neighbours list to ensure each street had the opportunity to ask a question relevant to their area. Questions were then opened up to all present.
A Grove Park Avenue resident explained about the water table and the flood plain that surrounds the Properties including those in Grove Park Avenue and Empress avenue and on which properties are built and adjoin. She pointed out that she had a survey done because of the amount of damp in the house. That the local houses are built on pillars with slate damp courses that due to the age of the properties is starting to break down. She explained that having had a look at the plans for the build although it talks about what L&Q will do to stop them from flooding but nothing about what effect this will have on the surrounding already existing properties. If the excess water from the Stadium build flows into the Ching this could have an adverse affect on surrounding properties. As we are on the other side of the River Ching it could come into our gardens. It was pointed out that there had recently been a press release on future flooding and water table levels rising over the next 100 years. She asked what steps would be taken to stop surrounding roads from flooding.
Stanley Lau replied that he had spoken on 23 January 2012 with the Environment Agency but did not have a definitive answer at that point but are working on a model system to see how water run-off is addressed
Resident Minerva Road raised worries about privacy saying You will be put eight-storey buildings that will look into our gardens, taking away the privacy of my children and I. What will you do to ensure my privacy isn't taken away?
David Scourfield explained that LBWF were considering the privacy issues and we will make a note of the point and do an assessment about the distances.
Resident Nelson Road pointed out the severe shortage of school places in this borough both primary and secondary at the moment. What proposals will address that issue? It was also added that a local school is apparently changing to Church of England which will bring in students from other boroughs.
David Scourfield explained that the educational aspects are also something we consider. He said We will give details of the planning
application to our colleagues in the education department.
Questions on employment were raised
An audience member said that the alternative plans for the site would create over 500 permanent jobs for local residents and that people in the borough want jobs and not more unemployment or more dense housing. It was stated that LBWF are building loads of properties but not doing anything to provide the number of jobs needed to go with this.
It was pointed out that many local residents became unemployed when Walthamstow Stadium closed.
LBWF explained that L&Q were creating 250 jobs
An audience member pointed out that these jobs would not go to locals
A resident pointed out that the majority of jobs created by L&Q would be jobs for the demolition of the stadium and the rebuild so those
were not permanent jobs.
An audience member pointed out that the housing will be built by no-one from this borough and they will be gone once it's built.
David Scourfield explained that in terms of the overall employment that will be something we will be discussing. The construction stage we require through agreement must be undertaken locally. Local people do benefit in the construction stage.
Questions on Parking were raised
Resident Empress Avenue pointed out that there is currently not enough parking in our area for those who live here without any overspill from London & Quadrant site. It was pointed out that Empress Avenue and Grove Park Avenue, being a U shaped Road and next to the Billet Roundabout had nowhere to expand on parking.
Another resident pointed out L&Q documentation state the parking spaces within their site will be leased or rented out and that residents cannot overspill into the L&Q site if their visitors or residents use the free parking currently available in the streets surrounding
An audience member pointed out that there were only 7 disabled bays for visitors to anywhere on the proposed site
A resident who works in a nursery pointed out that they had not supplied sufficient spaces for the nursery staff or those dropping off and collecting the children considering how much they predict it will be used and gave details on how many staff would be needed to run a nursery of that size, together with scenarios.
LBWF explained that there were 45 spaces for leisure, eight for the nursery and 211 for residents and that there was the possibility of
converting a disabled bay into another electric car/car share space and that there cycle racks.
A resident explained that this was not sufficient and asked “how is that not going to impact on surrounding streets? I have to park three roads away at the moment.
A resident from Grove Park Avenue pointed out that they often had to park overnight in Sainsburys Car Park and a resident from Empress Avenue stated this was the same for them too.
An audience member asked if L&Q are expecting 5000 visitors a week to the leisure facilities where would they park? And pointed out the parking for the site was totally inadequate.
Stanley Lau responded that he was currently getting feedback from Highways department on this issue.
Questions on the sites viability were raised.
Ricky Holloway Save our Stow asked: L & Q value the site at £18.1 million, they won't accept Bob's offer of £10 million yet in planning
you're supposed to do like for like replacement so why does the council value the site at £1.75 million when L & Q value it at £18.1
David Scourfield explained that the £1.75 million is a leisure-related figure and the other is the price of the site. The former is the amount we would require from L & Q if they built the site, as a contribution to local leisure facilities.
A resident pointed out that this £1.75 million would not be spent near the stadium but the other side of the Billet Roundabout and that isn’t what like for like is about.
A save our stow member asked Why has the site cost the tax payer a £26.1million loss? Why won't the council disclose that viability figure and they will see what a loss for the tax payer you're covering up?
DS: There are certain aspects of that that are considered financially sensitive. They are commercial concerns and if that's released into the public domain that can affect their commercial viability.
An audience member demanded to know why L&Q were not present at the meeting.
The Chair explained that this had been her decision in conjunction with LBWF. L&Q were not invited because this meeting was not a
consultation meeting and that had L&Q wished to consult with the residents that could be facilitated. She explained the meetings purpose was for the LBWF planning department to explain the planning process, how they work and to give their interpretation and understanding of the plans that L&Q had submitted as amended.
More questions could have been asked however time was restricted so the open question time was ended to ensure those who didn’t want to ask questions in open forum could ask questions of the Officers on an individual basis.
The chair pointed out that residents had asked about setting up a residents association and others asked about having a wider association to include the school and local businesses. She asked people interested to fill in the forms at the back of the hall. She also drew attention to the comment/objection sheets revised as requested, for those streets involved in the consultation were located at the rear of the hall stating there are only a few forms left so please only take one if you havent already had one delivered. These needed to be returned to LBWF Planning no later than the last day of February 2012.
She invited residents to stay and talk individually to the Planners, myself and local councillors - and Councillors identified themselves so residents could find them easily.
The Chair then thanked;-
* Councillors for taking time to attend and listen to the comments and questions of the local residents.
* Save our stow who ferried some residents to the meeting and thanked their members for their assistance.
* Rushcroft School and their staff and to Waltham Forest Council for paying for the hire of the hall and for the Planning Staff who have
given up their evening to speak to us.
* Metropolitan Police Service as the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams and local Officers had been out patrolling our streets to ensure there were no nasty surprises when residents arrived home.
The Chair said she hoped everyone had found the meeting useful and then closed it by wishing everyone a safe an uneventful journey and all were thanked for attending.