Planning powers for part of Olympic Park set to revert to Waltham Forest Council

Waltham Forest Council is preparing to take back control of planning powers for a section of the Olympic Park that it gave away 17 years ago.

In 2006, ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, town planning powers of four east London boroughs including Waltham Forest were given to the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Following the Olympics, then Mayor of London Boris Johnson handed those powers over to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), to develop a “dynamic new heart for east London” after the games.

Waltham Forest’s section of land is the northernmost section of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is sandwiched between the A12, the Eastway and a wide railway line.

While part of the land is undeveloped fields, it contains the Temple Mills bus depot, Eton Manor Hockey and Tennis Centre and mountain bike trails.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has decided to transfer LLDC’s planning back to the four London boroughs, including Waltham Forest, by December 2024.

According to a council executive decision published last week, LLDC and the four boroughs have been working “collaboratively” to prepare for the transfer, which will also include any unspent funds raised from developments.

Although there are no live planning applications for the land, the council has published draft plans showing that the bus station will be part of its vision for almost 5,000 new homes in a wall of high-rise towers between Leyton station and New Spitalfields Market, next to Hackney Marshes.

The LLDC will continue to operate as a mayoral development corporation but focus on the park rather than the planning and economic development of the wider area.

According to Rokhsana Fiaz, elected mayor of Newham, taking back planning powers will “enable enhanced democratic oversight”.

LLDC’s planning committee still regularly meets to decide on planning applications, including a controversial MSG Sphere, a 90m-tall ball-shaped concert venue  in Stratford which it approved in March 2022.


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter