News Walthamstow

Tower almost half the height of the Shard proposed for Blackhorse Lane

Outline plans for the mammoth project have now been submitted
By Victoria Munro

An illustration of the proposed redevelopment (Credit: NEAT)
An illustration of the proposed redevelopment (Credit: NEAT)

“Outline” plans for a mammoth development of up to 1,800 new homes in Blackhorse Lane have now been submitted by the world’s largest investment manager.

American company BlackRock Real Assets, who own the largest chunk of the Walthamstow industrial area after purchasing 11 acres for £51million in 2017, are partnering with housing developer NEAT on the project.

Waltham Forest Council has received detailed plans for one 18-storey block of 119 flats in Uplands Business Park and outline plans for eight further blocks, ranging from just over 22metres high to 145m high.

This means the largest tower could be as tall as Maine Tower in the Isle of Dogs, which is 42 storeys, and almost half the height of the Shard, which is 310m tall.

(Credit: NEAT)

This project forms a key part of Waltham Forest Council’s “masterplan” to gentrify the Blackhorse Lane area, which is also set to receive a £60K rebrand, including a new name.

A website dedicated to the development reads: “Waltham Forest is home to some of London’s most exciting cultural offerings. 

“Vibrant entertainment, excellent food and drink, dynamic local businesses, and interesting places to explore – these are the qualities also associated with Uplands Business Park which we want to promote.”

The developers state they will “replace the bulk of the industrial space first” and create over 1,000 “new high-quality jobs” by doing so.

(Credit: NEAT)

They also insist the project will cement “the borough of cultural [sic] legacy” and create a “major new waterside park open to all” in a site only a short distance from the Walthamstow Wetlands.

Of the initial block of 119 homes being built first, they state that 35% “will be affordable to rent and buy”, although this can include flats that are only 20% cheaper than local market rates.

A press release sent to the Echo promises a “large increase in the cultural offer on site” and that the developers are “guided by an ambition to be as sustainable as possible”, such as by planting over 100 new trees. 

Brian Reynolds of NEAT Developments said: “Following close to two years of engagement with the local community, we are delighted to have submitted our plan for a new neighbourhood on Blackhorse Lane to Waltham Forest Council. 

“Our proposals will ensure that modern, industrial floorspace is provided for local makers and creators, combining with new homes and a wide variety of cultural uses to create an exciting new future for Uplands Business Park. Innovative ‘stacked industrial’ units will increase the amount of employment space overall.

(Credit: NEAT)

“Many in the community told us that they were excited about the creation of access to the Wetlands alongside new café, restaurant, shopping and leisure options in the neighbourhood. We want this to be accessible to everyone and created with the highest sustainable methods, prioritising cyclists and pedestrians over vehicles.

“We look forward to working with Waltham Forest Council over the forthcoming months as we progress towards a Planning Committee date.”

In the August issue of the Echo [p13], Blackhorse Lane resident Bea Aladine wrote she was surprised to read of the initial plans and questioned how much residents had been consulted.

(Credit: NEAT)

She wrote: “I would like to challenge the claim that they have presented these plans to residents. Which residents and when? I haven’t met anyone here that has seen anything.”

Responding to the project in general, she added: “This is a bit much for Blackhorse Lane… [It] would darken and overshadow the neighbouring properties and have a detrimental effect on the area’s general ethereal atmosphere. 

“Blackhorse Lane is relatively quiet for a main road and the road itself has been narrowed by the expansion of the cycle lanes so it’s not suitable for such mammoth blocks and a huge influx of people.”

A date for the planning committee meeting to consider the outline plans has yet to be set.

A further application will need to be submitted in future with full details of the remaining eight blocks.