WALTHAMSTOW: Town centre 'masterplan' unveiled

An artist's impression of how a regenerated Walthamstow High Street could look.

An artist's impression of how a regenerated Walthamstow High Street could look.

First published in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

WALTHAMSTOW Central bus station should be demolished to help regenerate the town centre, according to a draft masterplan for the area.

The dramatic move is proposed by a team of consultants and architects commissioned by Waltham Forest Council to provide a vision for the future of Walthamstow.

The travel hub is one of the busiest bus stations in London and was only rebuilt a few years ago.

It is proposed that its removal would open up space and stops could be relocated to nearby streets.

The report also suggests that the market is extended up to Hoe Street, which is similar to how it used to be before the council changed it several years ago.

The planners also propose a "branding strategy" is developed for the market and that the layout of stalls should be rearranged.

It is also suggested that Selborne Walk shopping centre is extended out into the town square next to Selborne Road.

There are no specific details of plans for the Arcade site, which has been empty for years following a number of failed development deals, other than a proposal for a mixed use complex comprising homes and retail units.

Along Hoe Street it is suggested that six to eight- storey buildings could be constructed in line with the HSBC bank next to the former EMD cinema, with four to five storey buildings along the rest of the site.

The plans are designed to influence the council's future planning policy for the area.

A statement on the masterplan website says: "The purpose of this masterplan for the centre of Walthamstow is to provide a comprehensive approach to the regeneration of the area, maximising opportunities and benefits, whilst building upon, and nurturing, unique local assets including a burgeoning array of small independent retailers / businesses, Walthamstow Market and Town Square and Gardens.

"Primarily the masterplan is designed to aid the delivery of the principle objective of LBWF [the council] for Walthamstow Town Centre by unlocking long-term physical, economic and social sustainable regeneration to create a high quality and mixed-use urban environment."

The masterplan team has been consulting over the ideas with the Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association.

The organisation wants to build a development on the Arcade site, which may feature a new cinema.

The draft plans will go on display at a public consultation event in Walthamstow Central Library at 6.30pm tonight (Wednesday April 20).

Click here to see them.

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Comments (18)

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6:40pm Wed 20 Apr 11

JonathanB says...

Madness! At the bus station you can find all the buses, not have to wander the streets looking for stops. An all to make space for an extension to the shopping centre.
Madness! At the bus station you can find all the buses, not have to wander the streets looking for stops. An all to make space for an extension to the shopping centre. JonathanB
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Wed 20 Apr 11

dundee col says...

I stopped looking after the bit about the bus station,
what are they thinking off?
close the bus station and move the buses to the streets -
have the designers sat in the bl@@dy traffic in walthamstow?
why do they have to redesign something which is perfectly fit for its purpose, just leave it alone please?
redevelop the mall, the town square, wherever else you want but don't add to the nightmare that the walthamstow traffic is already, that is sheer and utter madness and will drive people away not bring them in.
I stopped looking after the bit about the bus station, what are they thinking off? close the bus station and move the buses to the streets - have the designers sat in the bl@@dy traffic in walthamstow? why do they have to redesign something which is perfectly fit for its purpose, just leave it alone please? redevelop the mall, the town square, wherever else you want but don't add to the nightmare that the walthamstow traffic is already, that is sheer and utter madness and will drive people away not bring them in. dundee col
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Wed 20 Apr 11

mdj says...

Is that a misprint for 'Daft Masterplan'?
Talk about 'the immorality of spending other peoples' money'! How much has been spent on the bus station over the last decade?
If the bus station is to move, it can only go to the Arcade site, meaning no dividend from developing that land. Do these amateurs think that both sites can be developed, leaving us without a bus station?There is certainly merit in creating bus laybys either side of a widened Hoe St where the Arcade site now is, because several bus routes needlessly lose time by turning into the station and out again.
Can someone explain why the low-rise, mean HSBC building seems to be sacrosanct in all these discussions? It's a bed-blocker to coherent planning.
What is the point of recommending the extension uphill of the market to a Council that is more than happy to watch it die from the opposite end?
And still no intelligent proposals for the prime site in the Borough, still derelict after ten years.
I weep to think that we're paying through the nose yet again for dismal under-performance from highly-paid 'professionals'.
Is that a misprint for 'Daft Masterplan'? Talk about 'the immorality of spending other peoples' money'! How much has been spent on the bus station over the last decade? If the bus station is to move, it can only go to the Arcade site, meaning no dividend from developing that land. Do these amateurs think that both sites can be developed, leaving us without a bus station?There is certainly merit in creating bus laybys either side of a widened Hoe St where the Arcade site now is, because several bus routes needlessly lose time by turning into the station and out again. Can someone explain why the low-rise, mean HSBC building seems to be sacrosanct in all these discussions? It's a bed-blocker to coherent planning. What is the point of recommending the extension uphill of the market to a Council that is more than happy to watch it die from the opposite end? And still no intelligent proposals for the prime site in the Borough, still derelict after ten years. I weep to think that we're paying through the nose yet again for dismal under-performance from highly-paid 'professionals'. mdj
  • Score: 0

11:57pm Wed 20 Apr 11

Redfox says...

Now hear this - when the last redesign of the bus station took place,even more the Selborne Road RECREATION GROUND was usurped for the expansion and more trees lost.
We had a concrete plinth built - that only now the pigeons inhabit, due in no small measure to many of foreign cultures who stand there - within sight of the 2 CCTVs pouring bread onto the ground without being prosecuted. There are a mere 8 seats (3 bums per seat) across the whole expanse - their is no rain,or sun shelter for anybody.
To cap it all the council brought out a leaflet in 2004 with Clyde Loakes (Leader then) BOASTING, the new underground link from railway to bus staion would be open in SIX MONTHS. It failed to open for another THREE YEARS.
The council have failed miserably in educating the public on road safety crossing the junction to the bus station and failed in ensuring beggars do not block exits from the station entrances.
Anybody who voted Labour last election has to be held responsible for this plethora of failures.
Now hear this - when the last redesign of the bus station took place,even more the Selborne Road RECREATION GROUND was usurped for the expansion and more trees lost. We had a concrete plinth built - that only now the pigeons inhabit, due in no small measure to many of foreign cultures who stand there - within sight of the 2 CCTVs pouring bread onto the ground without being prosecuted. There are a mere 8 seats (3 bums per seat) across the whole expanse - their is no rain,or sun shelter for anybody. To cap it all the council brought out a leaflet in 2004 with Clyde Loakes (Leader then) BOASTING, the new underground link from railway to bus staion would be open in SIX MONTHS. It failed to open for another THREE YEARS. The council have failed miserably in educating the public on road safety crossing the junction to the bus station and failed in ensuring beggars do not block exits from the station entrances. Anybody who voted Labour last election has to be held responsible for this plethora of failures. Redfox
  • Score: 0

12:10am Thu 21 Apr 11

James St James says...

How much were these cretins paid to come up with such complete nonsense? To give just one instance, the bus station is not only well-designed and useful, but it is also one of the most aesthetically interesting buildings in Walthamstow, giving visitors a pleasant impression upon arrival - until they are arrested for taking photographs of it, of course. At a time of such austerity, even to suggest knocking down such a new(!), useful and handsome building is utter madness.
"Unlocking long-term physical, economic and social sustainable regeneration to create a high quality and mixed-use urban environment" , what drivel! These proposals are just idiotic and ill-thought out nonsense. It is worrying that the people supposedly in charge of our borough would so much as listen to these ravings, let alone pay the buffoons responsible. I'm flabbergasted!
How much were these cretins paid to come up with such complete nonsense? To give just one instance, the bus station is not only well-designed and useful, but it is also one of the most aesthetically interesting buildings in Walthamstow, giving visitors a pleasant impression upon arrival - until they are arrested for taking photographs of it, of course. At a time of such austerity, even to suggest knocking down such a new(!), useful and handsome building is utter madness. "Unlocking long-term physical, economic and social sustainable regeneration to create a high quality and mixed-use urban environment" [sic], what drivel! These proposals are just idiotic and ill-thought out nonsense. It is worrying that the people supposedly in charge of our borough would so much as listen to these ravings, let alone pay the buffoons responsible. I'm flabbergasted! James St James
  • Score: 0

2:03am Thu 21 Apr 11

hotredman says...

How much did the council pay these loonies to come up with this daft masterplan.
Once again the council has wasted huge money and got ripped off.
We have westfield on the brink of the borough, do you really think an extended Selborne Walk shopping centre is going to work, or by extending the High St with more shops when loads are empty. 5 storey blocks on Hoe St to accomodate empty units or squatters???
Even when the bus station was closed for rebuilding, on street bus stops along Selborne Rd and Hoe St took longer for vehicles and traffic.
How much did the council pay these loonies to come up with this daft masterplan. Once again the council has wasted huge money and got ripped off. We have westfield on the brink of the borough, do you really think an extended Selborne Walk shopping centre is going to work, or by extending the High St with more shops when loads are empty. 5 storey blocks on Hoe St to accomodate empty units or squatters??? Even when the bus station was closed for rebuilding, on street bus stops along Selborne Rd and Hoe St took longer for vehicles and traffic. hotredman
  • Score: 0

4:49am Thu 21 Apr 11

Phoney Investigations says...

What an interesting way in which to waste public money. This sort of costly caper, which I forecast will come to nothing after many expensive rehashings is another reason why ratepayers should demand that all councillors and their senior paid hands, who all seem to suffer from "folie de grandeau," should submit to psychiatric evaluation!
What an interesting way in which to waste public money. This sort of costly caper, which I forecast will come to nothing after many expensive rehashings is another reason why ratepayers should demand that all councillors and their senior paid hands, who all seem to suffer from "folie de grandeau," should submit to psychiatric evaluation! Phoney Investigations
  • Score: 0

6:54am Thu 21 Apr 11

VillageIdiot69 says...

I've run this past a few architects that I know and they've all said the same thing. The only way that they would even comprehend taking the bus station away would be if they were told to by whoever commissioned the report. As others have previously said, the traffic in the town centre is at breaking point any way, taking the bus station away and moving most of the stops to Hoe Street is complete madness.
I've run this past a few architects that I know and they've all said the same thing. The only way that they would even comprehend taking the bus station away would be if they were told to by whoever commissioned the report. As others have previously said, the traffic in the town centre is at breaking point any way, taking the bus station away and moving most of the stops to Hoe Street is complete madness. VillageIdiot69
  • Score: 0

7:04am Thu 21 Apr 11

shinglma says...

I didn't think this council's incompetence could get any worse but demolishing a bus station which has only just been completed and eased traffic on Selborne Walk is unbelievable.

I wonder how much consultation this exercise will get.
I didn't think this council's incompetence could get any worse but demolishing a bus station which has only just been completed and eased traffic on Selborne Walk is unbelievable. I wonder how much consultation this exercise will get. shinglma
  • Score: 0

8:00am Thu 21 Apr 11

JasonOMalley says...

As a whole i liked the proposals.

I would agree that the bus station thing seems odd, especially as the building is really cool.

I also wonder whether walthamstow would be better served by not having so many buses go into central but terminate in other parts of the town, I always find it odd when the stations are right in the centre as centres are usually chocka block anyways.

People should note that the proposals take in views from local business people and that is the basis upon which they say the shopping mall could be expanded; I say this is extremely good news. Walthamstow town centre is really flourishing compared with other town centres with very few empty shops (go for a walk down Finchley road or Kilburn High road and you will know what I mean). Westfield won't make much impact, Oxford street will still be quicker to get to than Westfield for most of us.

Yes, the key is in delivery and always will be but bus station aside these plans would represent a big step forward in my view. Leisure has to be at the heart of any investment, imagine Walthamstow actually having a nice gym!!!!.
As a whole i liked the proposals. I would agree that the bus station thing seems odd, especially as the building is really cool. I also wonder whether walthamstow would be better served by not having so many buses go into central but terminate in other parts of the town, I always find it odd when the stations are right in the centre as centres are usually chocka block anyways. People should note that the proposals take in views from local business people and that is the basis upon which they say the shopping mall could be expanded; I say this is extremely good news. Walthamstow town centre is really flourishing compared with other town centres with very few empty shops (go for a walk down Finchley road or Kilburn High road and you will know what I mean). Westfield won't make much impact, Oxford street will still be quicker to get to than Westfield for most of us. Yes, the key is in delivery and always will be but bus station aside these plans would represent a big step forward in my view. Leisure has to be at the heart of any investment, imagine Walthamstow actually having a nice gym!!!!. JasonOMalley
  • Score: 0

8:33am Thu 21 Apr 11

John Moss says...

How much have we paid for this?

Another pointless exercise which misses the crucial point. There are not enough people working in Walthamstow Town Centre to support the existing shops and market.

We need more offices in the town centre so those who work there will shop there and support bars, restaurants and possibly even a cinema. More shops and "affordable" flats will just drag the place down further.
How much have we paid for this? Another pointless exercise which misses the crucial point. There are not enough people working in Walthamstow Town Centre to support the existing shops and market. We need more offices in the town centre so those who work there will shop there and support bars, restaurants and possibly even a cinema. More shops and "affordable" flats will just drag the place down further. John Moss
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Thu 21 Apr 11

Heartlysmum says...

Bonkers all of them!
Bonkers all of them! Heartlysmum
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Thu 21 Apr 11

E17006 says...

This makes a lot of sense. Every north-south journey gets about 10 minutes added to it, due to the location of the bus station. Walthamstow needs more green space. I support the proposals
This makes a lot of sense. Every north-south journey gets about 10 minutes added to it, due to the location of the bus station. Walthamstow needs more green space. I support the proposals E17006
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Thu 21 Apr 11

TheHerb says...

This is absolute nonsense. What the hell are they thinking of knocking down the expensive bus station to create traffic chaos. And the idea of extending the shopping centre onto open space. Very poor town planning, probably from some bright young thing trying to make an impact.
This is absolute nonsense. What the hell are they thinking of knocking down the expensive bus station to create traffic chaos. And the idea of extending the shopping centre onto open space. Very poor town planning, probably from some bright young thing trying to make an impact. TheHerb
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Thu 21 Apr 11

Techno2 says...

I agree with the people who think that there was a pre-determined outcome to thie consultation brief.

When I spoke to one of the 'consultation' people in the Town Square, a woman who was actually from Northern Ireland and very obviously not well acquinted with the area, she kept trying to steer the conversation round to the idea of expanding Selbourne Walk to buld nore shops on the open spaces in the Town Square.

When I told her that I thought that was undesirable and the Mall is supposed to be expanding in the other direction entirely down toward Sainsbury's she ignored what I said and didn't write it down. She also wrote fdown nothing I said about the need to sort out the Arcade site.

Someone had clearly decided to buy the result they wanted in advance, but such is life in our borough...
I agree with the people who think that there was a pre-determined outcome to thie consultation brief. When I spoke to one of the 'consultation' people in the Town Square, a woman who was actually from Northern Ireland and very obviously not well acquinted with the area, she kept trying to steer the conversation round to the idea of expanding Selbourne Walk to buld nore shops on the open spaces in the Town Square. When I told her that I thought that was undesirable and the Mall is supposed to be expanding in the other direction entirely down toward Sainsbury's she ignored what I said and didn't write it down. She also wrote fdown nothing I said about the need to sort out the Arcade site. Someone had clearly decided to buy the result they wanted in advance, but such is life in our borough... Techno2
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Thu 21 Apr 11

everoptimistic says...

Please - hands off the bus station. It is clean, has lovely loos and the whole idea of having all the buses stop there is so that you can easily transfer from one bus to another. Perhaps Jason OMaley doesn't rely on the buses to get around. This council is bonkers.
Please - hands off the bus station. It is clean, has lovely loos and the whole idea of having all the buses stop there is so that you can easily transfer from one bus to another. Perhaps Jason OMaley doesn't rely on the buses to get around. This council is bonkers. everoptimistic
  • Score: 0

3:59am Fri 22 Apr 11

Phoney Investigations says...

Is it to be by a judicial review or a psychiatric assessment? One way or another there's gotta be lotsa changes at city hall or we'll all be bankrupt! But if you think you've got troubles there's a chief executive in Suffolk who could make it even worse!
Is it to be by a judicial review or a psychiatric assessment? One way or another there's gotta be lotsa changes at city hall or we'll all be bankrupt! But if you think you've got troubles there's a chief executive in Suffolk who could make it even worse! Phoney Investigations
  • Score: 0

10:14am Sat 23 Apr 11

Sam Hain says...

When I responded to the online consultation I made it clear I didn't want to see the Mall extended into current open space, which would also mean having to relocate the children's playground. I did agree that some buses (such as the 230) could possibly bypass the bus station by picking up and dropping off nearby on Selborne Road but that's a far cry from demolishing the bus station! I think suspicions that there was a pre-agreed agenda and that this wasn't an 'open' consultation are accurate and would certainly be par for the course. And if at first you don't get the answer you want, either re-phrase the question until you do or ignore the results completely.
When I responded to the online consultation I made it clear I didn't want to see the Mall extended into current open space, which would also mean having to relocate the children's playground. I did agree that some buses (such as the 230) could possibly bypass the bus station by picking up and dropping off nearby on Selborne Road but that's a far cry from demolishing the bus station! I think suspicions that there was a pre-agreed agenda and that this wasn't an 'open' consultation are accurate and would certainly be par for the course. And if at first you don't get the answer you want, either re-phrase the question until you do or ignore the results completely. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

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