Report by Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter
Plans for a 21-storey block of flats opposite Blackhorse Road Station have been given the go-ahead.
Waltham Forest Council’s planning committee unanimously approved plans for 350 homes on a site in Forest Road, where Blackhorse Lane car park now sits.
Half of the homes will be designated ‘affordable’ housing – split between 40% affordable rent and 60% shared ownership – with 43 wheelchair-accessible homes also included.
The site, which is being developed by Barratt Homes, will also house space for businesses on the ground floor and will be mainly car-free, with 663 cycle storage bays.
No members of the public came to Tuesday’s meeting to raise any objections to the plans and a spokesman for Barratt Homes said they had conducted an “extensive” consultation of those living and working nearby. According to their figures, 83% of people responded positively to the proposals.
The developers also said they had “done all they could” to publicise the loss of the Blackhorse Road car park as a result of the scheme, with the help of Transport for London, which carried out its own consultation on the issue.
Councillors on the committee raised concerns about the loss of disabled parking bays right next to the only step-free access station in the borough, but were reassured that developers would work to replace these as part of the plans.
Cllr Marie Pye praised the scheme, calling it “a really exciting, good development which has been well designed and has flats of a good size.”
She did, however, express her “deep concern” that only five wheelchair access homes would be for either affordable rent or shared ownership. Cllr Pye said: “It is wholly unacceptable that only one wheelchair accessible unit is for affordable rent and 90% is for private sale.
“There are dozens of people waiting for wheelchair accessible homes at affordable rents in this borough and it is not acceptable.”
Developers reassured her that this would be looked into and negotiated with council officers as a condition of the planning permission being granted.
The issue of overcrowded trains at Blackhorse Road Station was also raised by Cllr Alan Siggers. He said: “I have a real concern for the direction we are travelling in at the moment, I know people who have to go all the way to Walthamstow Central just to get on a train.
“We are ramming stuff in around transport links with no thought to capacity. This is an overdevelopment, but what are you going to do?
“I just have a generally uncomfortable feeling about this. I am kind of unhappy but I am a pragmatist and I know which way this is going to go.”
Cllr Jenny Gray, the committee chair, said: “I do not want to lose such an important scheme with such a fantastic affordable rent split over a few car parking spaces.”
Developers reassured the councillors that the affordable rent flats were “genuinely” affordable and that they would be offered to people on the council house waiting list.
The plans were unanimously approved with all councillors voting in favour of granting planning permission.
Blackhorse Lane is one of London’s designated ‘housing zones’ where thousands of homes are either being built or are being planned.
This report has been published by the Echo as part of the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service. For more information: