Council set to approve plans for 5,000 new homes in Waltham Forest

Plans for a new 5,000-home development are set to be approved by Waltham Forest Council.

The council first unveiled plans for Leyton Mills, a new “high-rise development” between Leyton station and New Spitalfields Market in August 2023.

It identified eight sites where residential blocks between five and 17 storeys tall would be built, as part of its long-term housing plan for the borough.

Planning officers have now recommended the council adopts the Leyton Mills supplementary planning document in July, which would guide the next 15 years of development in the area – effectively greenlighting the proposals.

The lengthy document outlines the redevelopment of four key areas: New Spitalfields Market, next to Hackney Marshes; Leyton Mills retail park; Temple Mills bus depot; and Eton Manor in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Residents were invited to have their say on the proposals in July last year and between March and April this year, with feedback then being considered for the final plans.

According to the council, residents put special emphasis on car-free developments, to avoid further air pollution, and “interestingly designed” tall buildings that don’t negatively impact the skyline or the nearby Hackney marshes.

Additionally, they wanted to see local employment opportunities, new shops like Asda and B&Q, and dedicated spaces for young people to “study, hang out and chill”.

Residents also described the marshes, the River Lea, and surrounding open space as “vitally important” and in need of protection.

The council previously said: “These buildings would need to achieve the highest level of design quality, address their impact on the skyline, include active ground floors, and satisfy safety, wind and micro-climate assessments.”

This includes taking a “considered approach” to the placement of tall buildings, by respecting “sensitive surroundings” like the marshes and existing residential neighbourhoods.

Waltham Forest Council has also proposed a new overground station called Ruckholt Road, connecting Meridian Waters to Stratford Station.

The authority is still finalising its plans, but a previous timetable indicates building work would begin with 1,700 homes at the Leyton Mills retail park, which is owned by Asda and Aviva Investments.

Work on New Spitalfields Market, property of the City of London, would then follow. The council would look at building around 2,400 homes once the fruit and vegetable market has been relocated to Dagenham.

Finally, the Lea Interchange Bus Garage, owned by the Department for Transport, would be turned into residential towers containing about 650 homes, on top of a depot for electric buses.

The document will go before the Waltham Forest Council cabinet on July 9.

Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter