Gone to the dogs: Walthamstow Stadium flats need £10m of repairs

Numerous issues found at estate built just five years ago
By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Retired musician James Mitchell says he has mould problems in his home at Walthamstow Stadium (credit LDRS)
Retired musician James Mitchell says he has mould problems in his home at Walthamstow Stadium (credit LDRS)

A housing association is spending at least £10million repairing defects to homes built at the former Walthamstow Stadium.

London & Quadrant (L&Q) completed the 294-home redevelopment at the former dog track in 2017 but so many faults with its construction have since emerged that some residents are having to temporarily move out while repairs take place.

The housing giant has now apologised and pledged to fix issues that include “inadequate” cladding, “incorrectly installed” windows and problems with the roof.

L&Q, which manages 95,000 homes, has pledged to cover the costs of fixing the problems, but claims the exact amount is “commercially confidential”.

Public accounts for Quadrant Construction, which managed the stadium build, show that by April 2021 it had set aside £10m for “build defect costs on one development”.

When approached for comment, Vicky Savage, L&Q’s group director of development and sales, apologised that residents have been “let down”.

She said: “We have identified issues at Walthamstow Stadium which date back to the construction of the development.

“These include inadequate cladding and cavity barriers within internal and external walls, incorrectly installed windows and doors, alongside problems with the roof and ground drainage and cracking in paving slabs in the external areas.  

“We’ve addressed the highest priority cladding and fire-safety issues, and work on the other issues is ongoing.”

Savage did not respond when asked what the cause of the issues is, saying only that they are “common themes being faced across the UK construction industry”.

National House Building Council (NHBC), which provided a building warranty for the development, was approached for comment but did not respond.

When asked whether it carried out inspections during construction, a Waltham Forest Council spokesperson responded that the scheme was “overseen” by NHBC.

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) visited the site, part of the road had been dug up and scaffolding was erected against one building with small sections of cladding removed.

Residents were reluctant to speak on record, speaking anonymously, but some said L&Q has announced they will have to temporarily move out while remedial works are carried out. A schedule for this has not yet been agreed.

James Mitchell, a retired musician, said L&Q warned him about potential mould issues soon after moving in and advised him not to place furniture against the walls.

In one higher-rise part of the development a ‘waking watch’ patrol officer was present to warn residents in case of a fire. Cladding there was first found to be defective just weeks after the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017.

None of the residents who spoke to the LDRS were clear about the scale of repairs needed or what went wrong during construction.

On behalf of L&Q, Savage said: “Due to the nature of the works required in the apartment blocks, we’re preparing a programme for temporarily rehousing these residents whilst working in their homes.

“The safety of our residents is our utmost priority, and we’ve prioritised works related to building safety – such as upgrades to cladding, fire stopping and cavity barriers inside the buildings.”

Controversy stalked the redevelopment of the 1930s Art Deco greyhound-racing stadium following its purchase by L&Q for £18m in 2008. But a bid to save dog racing at the stadium, supported by local Conservative and Labour MPs, a dog-track businessmen and campaign group Save Our Stow was unsuccessful.

Aside from losing the greyhound racing tradition, some criticised the level of affordable housing on the site and suggested L&Q would lose £14.5m through the scheme, some of which came from public funds.

L&Q has denied the problems stem from cost-cutting due to its poor financial viability for the scheme.

If you wish to share housing or construction issues, please contact [email protected]

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations