Press Comment from Stella Creasy MP:
“Like many residents in Walthamstow, I’m gutted to see Boris Johnson’s support for the popular Walthamstow Dog Stadium before the mayoral elections disappear after them. Ever since they bought it in a private sale, both Iain Duncan Smith and I have argued L&Q’s plans don’t represent the best deal for the taxpayer or local residents. That’s why along with many others we’ve worked to provide an alternative proposal that will not only restore our dog track as a going concern but also bring living wage jobs, housing and investment to our area.
Today’s news is a bitter blow to those of us who want the best for Walthamstow. However, we’re not giving up just yet- I made a pledge to residents at the election to fight for our stadium because of the future potential it offers our community and I owe it to them to continue to explore who can hear our concerns now. That’s why I’m now making a public plea to the Government to listen to Walthamstow and asking residents to make their feelings known to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
There are now very serious questions about the financial viability of L&Q’s plans and what this
means for the public purse- that’s why I believe there is a case this could be considered a matter
of national importance and so something in which the Secretary of State could intervene if he so
chooses given his powers. Indeed, he has previously expressed concern for the fate of the Dogtrack.
The questions this development in its current format raises around value for money in housing
developments, the status of social and affordable housing in planning and the role of section 106
agreements in the current financial climate have implications far beyond E17. I hope Eric Pickles sees
this and exercises his right to call in this decision and scrutinise it to show he is serious about getting
the best for British tax payers.”
Please find below a suggested email to send to Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – he now has 21 days to decided whether to intervene.
Suggested email to send to Eric Pickles MP-
Send your email to email@example.com and please include your name and address in all your correspondence with the Secretary of State.
“Dear Mr Pickles,
I’m writing to you as a concerned taxpayer to ask you to exercise your power as Secretary of State
for Communities and Local Government to call in the decision by Waltham Forest Council and the
Mayor of London to approve planning for the Walthamstow Dogtrack to be turned into a housing
estate. This is because I believe this development raises serious questions of national importance
about value for money to the taxpayer.
In particular, I’m deeply troubled by the evidence that this development will lose money for L&Q
– who receive public subsidy as a registered social landlord- given their own viability assessment
which they sought to keep out of the public domain shows a loss of £14m. Furthermore, the nature
of the section 106 agreement for this proposal is also unclear and there is a lack of any social
housing in this development, despite being in an area with a need for such properties. Therefore,
without scrutiny I am concerned that if this development goes ahead it may set a new and troubling
precedent on questions of value for money for housing, not just in Walthamstow but across the
country. The existence of a viable alternative that is in keeping with the heritage of this site and
would provide not only leisure facilities but also housing and living wage jobs further compounds
the concerns many have about the decision to approve L&Q’s plans. As someone who has previously
shown a strong interest in this development, please urgently exercise your power as Secretary of
State to call in this decision to ensure the public purse is not at risk from this proposal.
I look forward to a positive response and thank you for help in investigating this matter.
Send this email to Eric Pickles by clicking here.