Walthamstow tower block approved

A new high-rise block will appear on the skyline in Walthamstow town centre despite neighbours’ concerns about lost light and privacy.

The 18-storey “East Ridge” tower, set to replace the Barclays Bank in Hoe Street, won planning permission on 1st March and will contain 66 flats.

Four neighbouring residents urged Waltham Forest councillors to reject the plans, arguing the block will be “excessive” and “overbearing”.

The majority of committee members, however, were swayed by the need for housing, arguing the town centre is an area “earmarked” for taller buildings.

Future neighbour Emma Colehurst raised concerns about the “completely misleading” daylight and sunlight report presented to councillors.

Pointing out that only three properties on neighbouring Priory Avenue had been analysed for loss of light, she said: “It’s not making it truly clear how negative this is going to be for residents.”

Planning officer Scott Hackner told the committee the loss of light to neighbours would be “at worst mildly adverse” and the site would be surrounded by “quality tall and taller buildings”, such as Travelodge and Juniper House.

He said: “ The townscape study concludes that the impact would not be wholly detrimental – there would be a much improved activation of the ground floor area and a new passageway to station approach.”

While only around a quarter of the new homes will be affordable, he added that an independent surveyor found East Ridge would not be viable if it met the Mayor of London’s target of 30 per cent affordable homes.

The affordable studios in the block are expected to cost £930 a month, while the discounted two-beds will be rented for £1,395.

After a short debate, the committee’s four Labour members voted for the scheme, while Conservative Alan Siggers voted against.

Committee chair Jenny Gray said: “I do sympathise with local residents, especially the ones that are in the existing flats on the corner.

“This is an area we have earmarked for development and tall buildings so we can meet the targets for housing that we need to build.

“I would like everything to be 50 per cent [affordable] but I think it’s reasonable – I think the housing mix is pretty good.”

According to the report before the committee, Waltham Forest Council is committed to building 27,000 new homes by 2035.


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter