‘Unique’ Pastures sports hall saved from housing development

Pastures Youth and Sports Centre (Credit: Elaine Kasket)

Though a campaigning community group, Save Our Pastures, say much work has yet to be done to preserve the Leytonstone centre’s uniqueness and community potential…

The Pastures Youth and Sports Centre on Davies Lane, Leytonstone will not be redeveloped into housing – following the launch of a local campaign to save the site.

A community group entitled Save Our Pastures – whose neon green and orange posters are visible all around Waltham Forest – aim to protect the sports centre, the neighbouring Good Shepherd Building and its surrounding grounds.

The group cites an independent report from Sports England about a shortfall of sports halls in the borough – as well as the East London area’s “rich ecology” of trees and wildlife – as two of many reasons it should be revitalised and invested in as a resource for the community, as opposed to being redeveloped into housing.

At the time of writing, more than 1,315 people had signed a change.org petition supporting the cause to save the site.

And the campaign was tentatively bolstered by news that a proposal from Waltham Forest Council-owned housing developer Sixty Bricks was withdrawn by in March 2021, subject to formal confirmation.

Leytonstone Ward Councillor Clyde Loakes said the “unique nature” of the Pastures site, as well as “the future and existing community provision” provided there made it untenable for the proposed housing development to go ahead.

A campaign poster from Save Our Pastures

Of the decision to withdraw, he said: “Following feasibility reviews and discussions with council officers and councillors from both Leytonstone and Cann Hall Wards, it has become clear that the unique nature of the site and the complexity of working on the site, as well as the existing and future community provision delivered there, makes it unviable for Sixty Bricks to take forward at this time.

“Consequently all proposals to date are being withdrawn, subject to confirmatory processes which will take a few weeks to complete.”

And while Save Our Pastures welcomed the withdrawal of this specific proposal – it made clear much work is yet to be done to restore the Pastures to its former glory.

In a statement, the group told the Echo: “Save Our Pastures is pleased to learn from local Cllr Clyde Loakes that it is unviable to take the proposed redevelopment forward.

“The current proposals have been withdrawn, subject to formal confirmation. The shared vision that we will create with local businesses, organisations, residents and current and future site users will embrace the creative sector, community services, culture, education, sport, youth engagement, and business and employment support. It will be underpinned by a comprehensive and robust business plan.

“This work will be undertaken within the context of recovery from the pandemic emergency, planned population growth in the south of the borough and Waltham Forest Council’s Public Service Strategy priorities – designed to encourage safe and healthy lives, promote the concept of ‘15-minute neighbourhoods’ and build confidence in our future.

“Save Our Pastures will continue to oppose any inappropriate redevelopment and looks forward to formulating plans for the site that will enhance the area and support the aspirations of the community in Leytonstone and throughout Waltham Forest.”

To read more about the campaign, visit Save Our Pastures