Tuesday, 29 April 2008

How to object to the giant telly

We've had lots of emails (thank you!) about the giant telly planned for Walthamstow town square and asking for more details on how to object...
The deadline for objections is Monday 5 May. And seeing as that's a bank holiday it's probably best to send your objections by email, to Rachel.Jagger@walthamforest.gov.uk
Below are three links to Word documents that should help you draft your own objection. The first two are the official objections from Cleveland Park Residents' Association and Waltham Forest Civic Society. They go into lots of detail in terms of what's wrong with the current plans and the planning arguments against them. The third document is a template to make it easy for you to write your own objection letter/email. It basically says that you support the main points in the CPRA and WFCS objections and then gives room for you to add your own comments/points (which is important because the council will take your letter far more seriously if you personalise it). Enjoy!!!
CPRA objection letter
WFCS objection letter
Objectional letter to personalise

Read More......

Friday, 25 April 2008

Arcade site: giant Primark spells disaster for Walthamstow Market

"Over 75,000sqft of new shops, cafes and restaurants" claim the new Arcade site hoardings this week... What they don't tell you is that more than two-thirds of that floor space is set to be a massive, two-storey Primark store that could spell disaster for the many Walthamstow Market traders whose livelihoods depend on selling clothes.
We were told directly by the developers St Modwen at a recent meeting that the development would include a 53,000sqft Primark store and just one other shop (10,000sqft), plus two restaurants (hmm, we're thinking fried chicken), an eight-screen cinema and probably a coffee shop.
We've contacted the Market Traders' Association and they agree that a huge Primark could be a nightmare for the many clothing stalls and also the countless clothes shops up and down the High Street.
Call this regeneration?
Remember, Waltham Forest council decided to redevelop the Arcade site specifically to kick off "regeneration". Does a massive cheap clothes shop, a boarded up high street and decimated market sound like regeneration to you?
By way of contrast, the previous developers Henry Boot were in negotiation with Marks & Spencer! It just goes to show what the council and St Modwen think of Walthamstow: the current plans for the Arcade site are literally "pile it high and sell it cheap".

Read More......

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Giant telly planned for town square

Not a tall building, but still definitely an issue of height - the council's Olympics team are planning a giant telly for Walthamstow town square. And when we say giant, we mean HUGE, it's set to be approx 7m wide, 3m high and 3m off the ground. The one pictured here is a similar screen in Canary Wharf.
If it gets planning permission (which they have just applied for) the screen will be erected by August in time for the Beijing/London handover and then by a PERMANENT fixture, switched on and blasting out sound a minimum of 16 hours a day. What's more, it will back onto the children's playground!
To see the plans for yourself, and then object if you want to, visit the council's planning department (which is now at Sycamore House, tucked beside the town hall) and ask to see application 2008/0566/LA. We're encouraging people to object to the location (we think it'd be better placed against BHS's ugly side wall), noise issues and hours of use (surely it should only be switched on when there's something worth watching?!).
While you're at the planning office, you might also like to see 2008/0554, an application for a 5 storey block of flats in Tower Mews.
Click on the "Read more..." link below to see an aerial photo of the location proposed for the screen, to see for yourself that it's bigger than a double decker bus, and to find out what we can expect to see on the screen...

Where will it be? See the orange line on the aerial photo above (click on the photo if you want to see it bigger). The screen is planned for the grass beside the "stage" on the town square and, as you can see, would directly back on to the children's playground!
What will the screen show? Aside from lots of Olympics stuff, there will be programming from the BBC and also content within council control (which on the bright side could mean arts programming for local filmmakers and film groups... but could equally turn into an Orwellian TV version of the council's propaganda rag WFM). Oh and allegedly there will be no adverts. But the screens are sponsored by Lloyds TSB and the Olympics are sponsored by everyone, so presumably the telly will be awash with corporate logos all the same.

Read More......

Here's one they regenerated earlier...

News reaches us of another grand "regeneration" project from St Modwen: the destruction of Farnborough town centre.
According to a detailed UK Indymedia article, Farnborough used to have a viable town centre, a large number of small independent businesses, many family owned, many had been in the town for 30 years a more (sound familiar?!). The town centre now lies derelict, little more than a ghost town. About ten years ago Farnborough town centre was bought by KPI (apparently a Kuwaiti-financed front-company for St Modwen). Last summer half the town centre was demolished. During the demolition and other work , the remaining shops have regularly had their services cut, electricity and telephones cut, access blocked. All of which has hit businesses. Within the last few months, more shops and businesses have pulled out or been driven out - the catalogue of local businesses lost according to the Indymedia story is quite tragic.
See the picture below for St Modwen's broken promises... No amount of pretty pictures on hoardings boasting the new shops coming to Farborough can disguise the fact that the town centre has lost all these local businesses - and that in the current financial climate there is no guarantee that the new shops will be built at all.
Join the fight to make sure this doesn't happen to Walthamstow town centre - please see the Join Us section at the top right of this page.

Read More......

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Arcade tower to grow?

As if 12-18 storeys wasn't high enough, at a Local Forum meeting last week, St Modwen's development director said that the tower block could be "one or two storeys higher".
When you consider that a 23-storey tower block is also plannned for Blackhorse Road, it looks like High Rise Walthamstow is getting higher by the minute...

Read More......

St Modwen fail to get claws into Walthamstow Central

News just in... Kier Property beat St Modwen to the Walthamstow Central contract. See the story in Property Week

Read More......

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

St Modwen in E17 land grab

St Modwen – the company planning to overshadow Walthamstow High Street with an 18-storey tower block – is one of three developers shortlisted by Network Rail to revamp Walthamstow Central station, according to Property Week.
It’s terrible news for residents fighting overdevelopment. As if the tower block plans that St Modwen and the council have cooked up for the Arcade site weren’t bad enough, the council has long hinted that the station and its car park could be the site of another major (and highrise) development, possibly containing a hotel or conference centre. They’ve even suggested that this could be built over the top of the overground station.
This amounts to a land grab by St Modwen. Friends of Queen’s Market campaigners, who are also fighting St Modwen, believe the property developers are currently trying to get a foothold in East London. If these plans for the Arcade and the station go ahead, they will land both their big boots into Walthamstow…

Read More......

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Tower block plans hit house prices

Residents backing onto the Arcade site who recently had their flats surveyed were shocked to discover that they were worth £10,000 less thanks to the tower block plans.
This stands in stark contrast to the previous plans for redevelopment. When the council was working with developers on a seven-storey scheme, property experts told us that the area would be improved and prices would go up.
"I’m appalled that my flat is worth £10,000 less thanks to the development. I’m going to lose my view, my light, my privacy... and now a large sum of money,” said Carolyn Magson, whose garden will literally be overshadowed by the tower block.
“I’m sure values will be reduced,” said Philip Waterfield of surveyors Strettons, who blames the tower block but also market conditions. “Speaking personally, I wouldn’t want it at the bottom of my garden full stop!”
This council is hell bent on dropping skyscrapers into traditional low-rise areas. It could be your back garden next. This affects all residents in Waltham Forest, so if you don’t want your garden overshadowed or your house price to drop, please join our Fight The Height campaign – click on the Join Us link at the top right of this page.

Read More......

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

See the tower block plans for yourself

Want to see what's in store for the Arcade? The council and St Modwen aren't all that good at consultation. So most people haven't had the chance to see what's planned for the Arcade site. Fortunately, we've managed to get hold of a set of the presentation St Modwen put on display at their brief consultation event. It should give you a feel for the monstrosity planned for Walthamstow.
Click on the "Read more..." link below to see all of the initial plans.

Simply click on one of the pages if you want to see it big enough to read the words...

Page 1
Note how the tower block bit is hidden as much as possible!

Page 2 Ah, there's the tower block looming over low-rise Walthamstow.

Page 3 St Modwen shows that it understands the site's context. And then blatantly disregards it with plans that don't include the EMD and that overshadow the surrounding houses and street market!

Page 4 The immortal words "It's (sic) elegant form could be as high as 18 storeys".

Page 5 Design philosophy: "The investigate the opportunity to incorporate a landmark tall building". Developer speak for £££.

Page 6 Some waffle about how they can make their huge metal and glass tower block sustainable by putting a bit of grass on the roof of one bit.

Page 7 Interesting they flag up Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, which locals tell us has been the kiss of death to their own street market.

Page 8 What happens next? If you don't want to see this 18-storey tower block in Walthamstow then get involved with Fight The Height!

Page 9 "Your views contribute"? The brief consultation has been and gone. Your only official chance to get involved now is with the planning application. But it's crucial that residents unite to tell the council and St Modwen that this tower block is not welcome...

Read More......

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

IPPF: Council says the sky's the limit!

We’ve noticed something of HUGE importance about the council’s IPPF document. It fails to set any limits on building heights!
This is shocking, considering that this is the document that is meant to take the key findings of the Prince’s Foundation’s consultation and turn them into local planning policy. And their consultation had concluded that the tallest new buildings in central Walthamstow should be no higher than 6-8 storeys. (The Prince’s Foundation were excluded from commenting on height for the Arcade site, but that’s another story.)
So… if you haven’t yet commented on the IPPF then please click here to do so – and please be sure to say that it must include area maps that set limits on building heights and densities, based on the Prince’s Foundation’s findings.
See our other IPPF story below for more on what we think of this important council document. Note: the deadline for commenting is this Friday (the 4th).

Read More......

Here’s what we could have won

3W, the architects for one of the Arcade schemes that didn’t get chosen by the council, have put their designs online. It’s well worth taking a look at them.
What’s striking is that the building 3W proposed, at half the height of the one St Modwen have planned, is clearly more than tall enough to work as a “landmark building” – i.e. you can see it for flipping miles and it towers over its surroundings.
It’s an interesting illustration of what a fairly tall building would look like on the site. Just think what a ludicrously tall building would be like! More proof that the 18-storey plan St Modwen has proposed doesn’t bear thinking about.

Read More......