Report by James Cracknell
Developers want to build 700 homes in a series of tower blocks up to 18 storeys tall – on the site of Homebase in Walthamstow.
A scoping report submitted to Waltham Forest Council by developer Inland Homes revealed plans to develop a major new housing scheme that would become one of the biggest in the borough.
The land title register shows that in January this year Inland Homes bought the 1.76-hectare site in Fulbourne Road – about the size of two football pitches – for £28million. The company is a major developer of brownfield sites in London.
Although no planning application has yet been submitted, the report submitted to the council in April states: “Proposals comprise demolition and clearance of existing structures on the site and the provision of up to 700 residential units in buildings up to 18 storeys.
“The development will be taller than development in the immediate surrounding area, however it will be well designed and will include landscaping proposals.
“Principal environmental effects will relate to the height of the new buildings associated with the development, however the design seeks to safeguard residential effects through careful design.”
While its Walthamstow branch remains open, Homebase announced 40 store closures last year as part of a plan to “turn the business around and return to profitability”. A Homebase spokesperson told the Echo: “Staff have been informed of the plans. There are no current timings around store closure.”
As part of its Local Plan 2020-2035 document, which has yet to be officially approved, the council earmarked 1,250 new homes for an area dubbed “Forest Road corridor”. It includes Waltham Forest Town Hall itself, where the authority is currently developing plans to build 450 homes on pockets of land adjacent to the Grade 2-listed building.
The council says of the Forest Road corridor, which includes the Homebase site: “There is significant opportunity for growth and regeneration in the area which includes quality new homes… New development should build on the existing character, including heritage and cultural assets of the area.”
The Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) is located approximately 500 metres away from Homebase.
Adrian Stannard, a local campaigner who has previously opposed other large developments in Walthamstow, writes for this month’s Echo letters page: “If it went ahead it would be as bad as the mega-developments at Tottenham Hale.”