Concern over plans to build on ‘pocket park’

Proposal for 300 homes in Lea Bridge Road unveiled by council

Protest in Lea Bridge Road

Residents demonstrate over new council plans to build on three areas of green space surrounding Lea Bridge Station in Leyton (credit Karl Weiss)

A new town centre could be created in Leyton as part of Waltham Forest Council’s plans to build thousands of homes in the area.

The proposal to develop three areas of open space surrounding Lea Bridge Station were unveiled by the council in December, with residents being invited to have their say. It includes a ‘landmark’ 22-storey tower adjacent to the railway station, plus a 14-storey and six-storey block on sites either side of Orient Way.

However, local people have already voiced concerns around the loss of a ‘pocket park’ home to dozens of trees and a further increase in housing density.

Construction of 300 homes in three towers up to 18 storeys tall is already under way at another site opposite the station, which was formerly home to industrial warehouses used by small businesses. While no planning applications for the three other sites surrounding the junction are likely to be submitted for at least 18 months, residents are concerned about the impact of a proposed further 300 homes in the area.

A demonstration in Lea Bridge Road was held by residents last month to raise awareness of the council’s plans. Claire Weiss, who is part of a group representing people living in the Lea Bridge area, said: “We are extremely concerned on the environmental issues of flood risk, wind tunnels, excess urbanisation and density. The idea of a Lea Bridge town centre sited on the crossroads with the heavy-traffic Orient Way and Argall Way is madness.

“We also are very anxious that any new build by the council, especially on its own land, should be for social housing. As we understand it, the cost of building high towers on the edge of the river valley will put the costs of flats here out of the reach of those on the council housing waiting list.

Lea Bridge Station plans

Waltham Forest Council’s proposal includes the option to build a new entrance for Lea Bridge Station

“We can’t see the sense of crowding this part of Leyton with higher-income people whose move here would clearly not release any housing for the less well-off.”

At least 35 percent of the homes proposed for the three council-owned sites in Lea Bridge Road would be designated for ‘affordable’ housing, according to plans presented at a recent exhibition.

On its website the council states: “We are at the early stages of development proposals for the sites and as such, this represents the early stages of public engagement for this specific site, following the conclusion of the broader consultation undertaken in respect of the Lea Bridge and Leyton Vision.

“An initial brief has been developed with BPR Architects and AR Urbanism… The process of consultation and engagement for these three sites will be ongoing with several additional opportunities for the local community to engage in the process prior to the formal planning consultation.

“At present, it is anticipated that an application for planning will be submitted during the summer of 2019.”


To read more about the council’s plans for Lea Bridge Road:

Visit walthamforest.gov.uk/content/town-centres

,