Huge tower blocks plan for Walthamstow

Tower blocks of up to 38 storeys could soon appear in Walthamstow as part of the regeneration of Blackhorse Lane.

Uplands Business Park, an 11-acre site in the centre of the industrial area, was recently bought by BlackRock – the world’s largest investment manager – for a reported £51million.

BlackRock is now working with housing developer NEAT on plans to build up to 1,800 new homes on the site, as well as industrial and employment spaces.

Draft plans, presented to residents for consultation, show a line of eight tall tower blocks, alongside several mid and low-rise buildings.

The tallest proposed building is 38 storeys high and would dwarf the area’s current tallest, which is 21 storeys and was approved in 2018.

Existing industrial buildings would be demolished to open up a new park space, dubbed “Wetlands Waterside”, that would face Dagenham Brook and the reservoirs.

The council’s local plan, which shapes new developments including at Blackhorse Lane, is currently being considered by a planning inspector before final approval.

In the draft local plan, Blackhorse Lane is earmarked as an area with opportunities “to significantly increase height” and provide a “wayfinding landmark”.

However, a skyline study in the draft plan recommends building heights ranging from 18-27 storeys, lower than the proposals published by NEAT.

The skyline study adds: “Well-considered height and spaces between buildings will help reduce the ecological impact and improve the visual impact from across the wetlands.

“Redevelopment of the site must avoid harmful overshadowing that would compromise the comfort and enjoyment of surrounding public open space, private or communal outdoor spaces and private amenity of any neighbouring properties.”

According to NEAT’s website, the developer wants to “capitalise on the emerging creative sector” by building an industrial-led development.

Despite the strategic importance of protecting London’s dwindling industrial space, a draft masterplan also being developed for Blackhorse Lane sees a significant portion of the land being used for living or shopping.

On its website, the council says industrial needs will be “protected through good design” and new homes “should be seen as a positive benefit” because they will fund the area’s modernisation.

To find out more about the plan for Uplands Business Park, visit: https://futureofuplands.com/

For further details on the Blackhorse Lane Masterplan, visit: https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/blackhorse-lane-masterplan

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter