Wood Street wins international award

Colvins, Wood Street

Street art collective Wood Street Walls has helped improve Wood Street’s image (credit Mark Rigney)

Wood Street in Walthamstow has been voted as the best street in the UK and Ireland by a group of leading architects, planners and developers.

The award is one of five given out annually by The Academy of Urbanism to recognise the best urban environments.

Wood Street, which has seen a recent surge in popularity thanks to a number of new independent traders, beat Lark Lane in Liverpool and Newry Street in Banbridge to the award. The street has also benefited from a series of publicly-funded projects, including Waltham Forest Council’s shopfront improvement scheme.

Catherine West, who runs creative social enterprise Significant Seams in Wood Street, said: “There are so many inspirational people and great independent and community-minded businesses in our neighbourhood. Its really empowering to have that set of values validated by such an esteemed body.

“We at Significant Seams greatly appreciated the opportunity to get to talk about our neighbourhood with the assessors and really appreciated the residents and council officers who brought us all together.

“I hope people will second The Academy of Urbanism’s award by shopping in Wood Street this holiday season.”

The assessment team, which visited Walthamstow during the summer, praised the diversity of retail and social enterprise as well as the “sense of discovery” from hidden avenues that make Wood Street inviting and refreshing.

Wood Street

Wood Street in Walthamstow (credit Mark Rigney)

Steven Bee, the academy’s chair, said: “Recovering from the riots of five years ago, the local authority and community representatives have worked hard to reshape and redefine Wood Street as a successful, safe and attractive local centre.

“Traffic management has made the street more attractive to all and especially to those using the school buildings at either end. Local community and arts initiatives create a distinctive atmosphere and attract an enviable diversity of businesses that serve local people and bring in others from a wider area.

“A worthy winner indeed.”

Councillor Clare Coghill, cabinet member for high streets, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Wood Street has won this award, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this happen.

“I’d also like to thank the local residents and councillors, who rightly take great pride in their neighbourhood and doing their bit to support it.

“Wood Street has a fantastic range of shops and facilities and a wonderful community of spirit, so it’s great to see it getting recognised as the great street that it truly is.”

A collective late-night opening event is being planned for Wood Street on 15th December.