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Interesting article in the Waltham Forest Guardian this week claiming that the proposed development of a 18 storey tower block on the former Arcade site has hit prices for houses in its shadow.

“When a resident next to the site went to a surveyor she discovered the preferred design that St Modwen has suggested for the site would overshadow her garden, meaning her home will be worth £10,000 less than if situated elsewhere.”

Caramel Quin of Fighttheheight.co.uk had been told that earlier plans for a seven storey development would have boosted prices: “property experts told us the area would be improved and prices would go up“.

Developers will of course make plenty of money from the new tower blocks planned at the Arcade, and the 23 storey Blackhorse Road development.

When residents who currently look out on playing fields and reservoirs find that view replaced by 23 storeys of flats, will they also find the price they can get for their home has fallen too?

Send the developers PR team your views on the proposed Blackhorse Land development here.

As previously reported Prince Charles’ Foundation for the built environment has stated (here) that high rise’s are both unnecessary and inappropriate for Walthamstow.

“Waltham Forest called in the foundation to masterplan the Town Centre of Walthamstow. (Foundation executive) Dittmar says the foundation was interested to explore how Walthamstow, in an outer London borough, could meet mayor Ken Livingstone’s target for affordable housing and how greater residential density was compatible with Walthamstow’s Victorian terraced houses.

Dittmar asks: ‘How can you increase density without sticking people into tower blocks? If you ask Londoners about tower blocks, you find that they are only liked by investors in property.’

The foundation looked at other boroughs and concluded that the four-storey houses of St John’s Wood or Swiss Cottage and the mansion blocks of Kensington and Chelsea provided density without towers”.

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The battle to find out which high rise will be the largest, most unpopular, and least wanted by the community is on. 18 storeys are planned on the old arcade site, along with the 15 and 23 storey flats planned for Blackhorse Road.

In response local campaigners have set up a website Fighttheheight.co.uk to try and pressure the council to retreat from their mission to build them high, pack them in, and whatever you do, don’t ever include community facilities!

The site spotlights the much heralded Prince’s Foundation report on the redevelopment of Walthamstow, and how it specifically stated that housing development should be “compatible with Walthamstow’s Victorian terraced houses“.

In an interview with Property Week, Prince Charles & the chief executive of his Foundation, Hank Dittmar talk how high rise housing is inappropriate in an area such as Walthamstow.

They recommended a maximum height of 8 storeys for Walthamstow Town Centre, and neatly summed up the views of the community as: “If you ask Londoners about tower blocks, you find that they are only liked by investors in property“.

Read the interview with Prince Charles in Property Week (scroll towards the end for Walthamstow).
Visit Fighttheheight.co.uk for more on the opposition to high rises in Walthamstow.
The Walthamstow Town Centre Consultation website
Send the developers your views on the 15 & 23 Storey block’s of flats planned at Blackhorse Road.

The exhibition of plans for the Blackhorse area may be over but there’s still time to let the developers know your views. Visit their website to enter feedback and also join the debate here by adding a comment.

Many residents have expressed horror at the high rise plans which include a 23 storey block of flats that the developers themselves boast can be seen from Tottenham Hale“.

Most agree that the site needs redevelopment, but question how a 23 storey building can possibly be inkeeping with an area with no other buildings over 4/5 stories, not to mention on the doorstep of a Ramsar-listed nature reserve, canals, and the SSSI Walthamstow Marshes!

There are also major concerns that all traffic from the site comes out straight onto Edward/Hawarden Road (see plan here).

Resident Helen points out that the development offers nothing to the local community in the way of mixed use or community facilities and is a council led attempt to cram as many living spaces into a small area as possible:

418 units are proposed ie very high density – no community facilites or mixed use – one way sytem proposed all traffic for the site will enter via Blackhorse Rd and exit at corner of Hawarden and Edward Rd therefore this proposal will definitely impact on traffic/ noise / pollution on all of Edward Rd. I found them quite reasonable – it is clear that they are working to a specfic brief from Waltham Forest as to how many units must be fitted in to this site. More evidence of this council’s subterfuge and dirty dealings since for the best part of a year Waltham Forest refused to answer my specific questions raised at the Walthamstow West Community Council about the amount of units planned for this site on the grounds that they hadn’t had a planning application“.

Diana, another visitor to the exhibtion pointed out that the “trend country-wide is to move away from the concept of high-rise residential blocks“.

WILLOWFIELD SCHOOL

The developers have not been consulted on the councils renewed plans for the school on Douglas Ayre Playing Fields. They stated that their plans allowed no access to a school through the development. They also questioned the feasability of a school on a 3A Flood risk site (High Probability).

Resident Helen again writes:
They have not been informed that school is being considered again for Douglas Eyre. I spoke at length about this issue to more than one rep from the stakeholders and they were of the opinion the Council would not get the go ahead because the Environment Agency would block it. A huge school will obviously affect the prices they can get for their units as it will mean hordes of students walking through their estate. and of course more traffic. They are not at all in favour of the school proposal. This is the second attempt by Waltham Forest to sneak through this proposal without giving proper consideration to alternative sites which would cost more money“.

Please give your feedback and opinions to the developers on their website, which should contain more examples of the plans. Also join the debate here by adding your comments.

Want to know what the developers have in mind for Blackhorse Road?

The “revised” plans for the redevelopment are going on public display for three days only.

If you have objections, opinions, or even just fancy a nose, this is your chance. Decisions on every aspect of Blackhorse Road’s future are being taken, from the number of storeys flats might have right through to access to reservoirs and green spaces.

Thursday 28 February from 6pm to 8.30pm
Friday 29 February from 6pm to 8.30pm
Saturday 1 March from 10am to 2 pm

Venue:
Stoneydown Park Primary School
Pretoria Avenue, Walthamstow E17 6JY – MAP here

Should you miss the public display, you can also submit your views to the Blackhorse Road developers website.

On their website the KLA invite all residents to come along and give feedback on the plans. The only slight snag being – as of today – the website doesn’t actually give any address for the exhibition! Also has anyone received any information through the post that might actually inform residents its on?

All of which brings to mind Douglas Adams on public planning displays:

“But the plans were on display …”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”

(UPDATE: One day before the exhibition and an address has now appeared).

Just uploaded a .pdf file of the ‘vision’ for the BHL2 site. This, basically, summarises the results of a brainstorming session on the 12th November at which Members spoke of the sorts of things they would like to see on the site. Read it here.

Obviously, this is pretty much a wish list, but it’s a starter for ten that will help us frame discussions with the Council and developers.

Don’t forget to go along to the developers’ exhibition either tonight, tomorrow or Saturday – details here.

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