News Walthamstow

Walthamstow Stadium residents being evicted due to building faults

The 28 privately-rented flats will have to leave their homes by March next year
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Residents facing eviction in front of the iconic stadium sign (credit: Steward Caine)
Residents facing eviction in front of the iconic stadium sign (credit: Steward Caine)

Almost 30 flats living in the poorly-built Walthamstow Stadium development are being evicted through no fault of their own.

Earlier this year, social housing giant London & Quadrant (L&Q) admitted a range of faults in the 290-home development that will take years to repair.

L&Q previously told the estate’s residents they would be temporarily decanted from their homes for work to fix poorly installed cladding, windows and roofs.

But, in recent weeks, the housing association said it planned to issue two-month “no fault” eviction notices to 28 households that privately rent flats in Goodwood Apartments, a taller building on the site.

Following pressure from residents and local councillors, L&Q pushed the eviction date to March 2023.

At the council’s housing scrutiny committee on Wednesday (19th October), Goodwood resident Ellis Devonish urged Waltham Forest Council to support those facing “mass no-fault eviction”.

Ellis Devonish urged the council to support residents facing eviction (credit: LDRS)

Ellis said: “About twenty children who are at school are at risk of being uprooted and we would like to know what work is being done about this.”

He urged the council to pressure L&Q to be a more “responsible” landlord and to review its position as a preferred developer in the borough.

Ward councillor Catherine Suamarez added: “Residents of Goodwood apartments chose L&Q specifically because they thought they’d have security of tenure.

“Announcing the eviction of 28 families over the Christmas period at two months’ notice, having told them repeatedly for 18 months they would be rehoused, is bafflingly tone-deaf and irresponsible. 

“They have made no effort to find out each resident’s needs or circumstances before announcing their eviction and seem astonished that they are distraught.

“They would have forced vulnerable people to search for scarce and expensive rentals in the middle of winter, [some] while dealing with chemotherapy and looking after newborn babies.

“Any landlord should be ashamed, let alone a ‘socially responsible’ one. Pushing the evictions back by eight weeks doesn’t make up for the fact that L&Q have behaved in an arbitrary and callous way.”

A number of faults need repairing around the estate (credit: LDRS)

The estate was completed in 2017 after a long campaign to save greyhound racing at the track and controversy around the amount of affordable housing.

Since it was completed, issues have emerged including “inadequate” cladding, “incorrectly installed” windows and problems with the roof.

The faulty estate was signed off by the National House Building Council, a non-profit organisation which provides warranty and insurance for new homes.

Cabinet member for housing and regeneration Ahsan Khan said he is aware of the threats of eviction and that the council has raised its “concerns” directly with L&Q.

He added: “I had a meeting with them this week and I again echoed my concern about the way they have handled this. They are a social landlord, one of the biggest in the country, and are publicly funded.

“I can assure residents that I will continue to do all I can in my role as deputy leader for housing  and regeneration… to pressure L&Q to find homes for all the households facing eviction.”

Cllr Khan did not make any comment about reviewing L&Q’s status as a preferred developer in the borough.

Walthamstow Stadium when the flats were being built (credit: James Cracknell)

When contacted for comment, L&Q told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that Goodwood Apartments, which is the tallest building on the estate, must undergo work first for “building safety reasons”.

They added: “Upon meeting with residents at Goodwood Apartments and understanding their concerns, we are now working closely with them to seek alternative housing options in the local area.

“We understand how upsetting this situation will be for the privately rented tenants at Goodwood Apartments.

“We’ve reached out to everyone affected to support them with their move and are providing a discretionary payment to each resident for the inconvenience.”

However, residents facing eviction said the only support offered is one-to-one advice on open market rental properties, identifying removal companies and how to redirect post.

They said the “discretionary payment” is in only on the condition that residents sign a tenancy release form and vacate their property within two months.

Sarah Chaney, chair of the residents’ association, said: “For the past two years, the TRA committee have been meeting regularly with L&Q to try and improve the estate and minimise disruption to residents during the building works.

“We have been repeatedly promised that L&Q will improve communication with residents and involve us in their planning, so it is extremely disappointing that it would make such a drastic decision without first speaking to residents to understand how they will be affected and to explore alternative options with us.”

Private tenants in other blocks on the estate are now fearful that they will also be evicted, Sarah added.