Hanging Up The Placards

Residents protest against a previous development

Residents protest against a previous development

Submitted by: Caramel Quin

In mid November, ‘The Scene at Cleveland Place’ – that’s the fancy name for the development on the corner of Walthamstow High Street and Hoe Street – will open for business.

The good news is this means we’ll have a working cinema in the borough for the first time in a decade, because The Scene includes a nine-screen Empire cinema. (The really good news is that it’s not at the expense of the old EMD/Granada cinema on Hoe Street – things are finally progressing to get it back into use as an entertainment venue too.)

Money from the developers is also funding Hitchcock’s East End, a series of film screenings and events programmed by Create London and The Barbican.

We’ll also get some restaurants, including Nando’s and Turtle Bay and a bunch of housing on top, including 50 new affordable homes. We certainly need affordable housing.

Opinions differ on chain restaurants though, hence the huge support for a campaign to let Stoke Newington’s Yum Yum restaurant lease a unit at The Scene. Personally I’m just amused that Nando’s is taking the unit that used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken when it was the Arcade shopping centre. Plus ça change.

As residents of Cleveland Park Avenue and Cleveland Park Crescent, directly behind the site, we’ve had a keen interest in plans for more than 15 years now. There were plans for a shiny new library; they fell through but not before the old Arcade shopping centre was demolished.

The site was rubble for years while other plans came and went. Most notably, residents successfully fought off plans for an ugly 18-storey tower block. One fun protest, that made the BBC and ITV news, included kids in fancy dress throwing rotten tomatoes at effigies of the building and its prospective tenants.

But our placards have been hung up for the time being. Residents are working with The Scene’s developers to push for quality and detail that will make the development as good as possible for Walthamstow. The placards will come out in force the next time someone turns up with aggressive tower block plans though…

Caramel Quin, Chair, Cleveland Park Residents’ Association. For info on The Scene and Hitchcock’s East End visit thescenewalthamstow.co.uk. For info on the EMD/Granada visit savewalthamstowcinema.org.