Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Move over St Mediocre, your time has been and gone.
Step forward 'Walthamstow Central Station'; for it is you that has been chosen.

BIGGER, BADDER, AND BLOCKIER than ever, the Stow has yet again been singled out for a gratuitous multistorey redevelopment.

Barry's report from the Public Consultation follows, and if you want to see the proposals in all their gory (sic) then follow these links:
The proposals
Consultation questionnaire
Please send completed questionnaires to Philippa Curran at

The exhibition itself was extremely modest covering only two display stands and with no handouts giving details of the development it was unclear how anyone could form a reasonable view about what is being proposed. So be it. This is my view on what I saw.

The central feature of the redevelopment is an hotel. The build which will front onto Hoe Street will be over a third higher than the Tower Mews block opposite the station. Behind the hotel would be a lower block containing flats and smallish retail outlets. In front of the station entrance will be a public square. Near where the existing car park is it is proposed to build housing – all flats, a mixture of social, essential workers etc, and Phase 2 would extend the housing farther into what is now the car park.

The build is modern, having little in common with the surrounding build, except possibly the unattractive Barclay Bank block on the corner of Hoe Street. Talking to the representatives of the developers, they placed great emphasis on the importance of the hotel, apparently we’re crying out for a 3 star budget hotel, and the additional jobs the hotel would provide at around 200.
To my mind it’s just another one of those modern, brutish developments which seek to wring out maximum revenue from a limited site. Nothing wrong with trying to make money, but why, oh, why is the template always the same. It is airport architecture: you could be anywhere. There is not the slightest nod in the direct of the particular Victorian size, height and mass of Walthamstow. What we’re getting is over powering towers. Tower Mews is currently the tallest building by a wide mile at the moment. If this gets the nod the sky will be the limit!!

Ironies of ironies, the plans include “respecting the local heritage status of the station.” By building a wall of brick and concrete around it.

We have a Labour controlled Council – with a full four year mandate and if its leader Councillor Chris Robbins is to be believed “We want to go forward on the regeneration with added vigour - Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow town centre, Leyton, and want to move forward at a fast pace,”

If the merits of this development are to be fully tested; all of us who believe that Walthamstow deserves more than a third rate hotel need to get engaged.

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