Waltham Forest Council will not appeal against Information Commissioner's Office's decision to order Walthamstow Stadium viability figures are released

Walthamstow Stadium

Walthamstow Stadium

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

A RULING that documents were wrongly withheld from campaigners who claim they prove a housing organisation is set to lose millions developing Walthamstow Stadium will not be contested.

Waltham Forest Council will not appeal the decision made by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that the authority was wrong to refuse to release a viability assessment they believe demonstrates London & Quadrant (L&Q) will make a £26 million loss on the site after buying it during the property boom.

The authority had maintained the assessment was subject to commercial confidentiality, but has now accepted the figures would not harm any party's economic interests.

Campaigners from Save Our Stow, a group which favours a return of dog racing to the site, insisted the assessment was in the public interest because L&Q would be forced to tap into its taxpayer-funded reserves.

L&Q hopes to build a 294-home housing estate on the site in Chingford Road,

Walthamstow and is awaiting approval from London Mayor Boris Johnson.

He said earlier this year that the viability of the scheme would be a major factor in his decision.

The council must now release the figures within 35 days.

Comments (24)

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8:29am Thu 4 Oct 12

Mr Brittas says...

Now if the L & Q plan is not viable and does not go ahead, does that not mean that LBWF would not get the S106 money from the deal, and thus the much publicised LBWF refurbishment of Pool & Track would not go ahead as the S106 money was going to be used to fund that and they do not have any other money to fund the refurbishment
Now if the L & Q plan is not viable and does not go ahead, does that not mean that LBWF would not get the S106 money from the deal, and thus the much publicised LBWF refurbishment of Pool & Track would not go ahead as the S106 money was going to be used to fund that and they do not have any other money to fund the refurbishment Mr Brittas
  • Score: 0

9:52am Thu 4 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Mismanaged from start to finish. Like the Granada Cinema, had they had a little foresight, such problems could have been avoided.
Mismanaged from start to finish. Like the Granada Cinema, had they had a little foresight, such problems could have been avoided. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

10:02am Thu 4 Oct 12

Techno3 says...

Plan B: hide the documents in the basement?
Plan B: hide the documents in the basement? Techno3
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 4 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Techno3 wrote:
Plan B: hide the documents in the basement?
Cover in fine asbestos powders
(from Kier)

'Abracaloakesa'

'Hey Presto!'

Gone!
[quote][p][bold]Techno3[/bold] wrote: Plan B: hide the documents in the basement?[/p][/quote]Cover in fine asbestos powders (from Kier) 'Abracaloakesa' 'Hey Presto!' Gone! Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 4 Oct 12

mdj says...

'The authority had maintained the viability assessment was of commercial interest, but has now accepted the ICO's opinion that the figures would not harm any party's economic interests. '

So what does this say about the quality of their legal advice? L+Q have effectively used this delaying tactic to conceal their inadequacies by using an argument that would not stand up to expert scrutiny, but was apparently good enough for our Council's advisers.
Had this been a public legal process we could have some idea how much this has cost us as taxpayers.

Or is somebody playing politics at the Council? They cannot seriously claim not be partisan on this issue.
'The authority had maintained the viability assessment was of commercial interest, but has now accepted the ICO's opinion that the figures would not harm any party's economic interests. ' So what does this say about the quality of their legal advice? L+Q have effectively used this delaying tactic to conceal their inadequacies by using an argument that would not stand up to expert scrutiny, but was apparently good enough for our Council's advisers. Had this been a public legal process we could have some idea how much this has cost us as taxpayers. Or is somebody playing politics at the Council? They cannot seriously claim not be partisan on this issue. mdj
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Thu 4 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

I hope this is the first step in correcting the ridiculous position Waltham Forest has got itself into. Whoever negotiated and encouraged the sale and development with L and Q in the first place should be sacked. To remove this iconic venue with its massive loss of jobs and sense of community without proper consultation and the manipulation of the democratic processes is almost criminal. I hope justice is served
I hope this is the first step in correcting the ridiculous position Waltham Forest has got itself into. Whoever negotiated and encouraged the sale and development with L and Q in the first place should be sacked. To remove this iconic venue with its massive loss of jobs and sense of community without proper consultation and the manipulation of the democratic processes is almost criminal. I hope justice is served bishbosh
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Thu 4 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

@ Mr Brittas...S 106 1.75million for loss of leisure element at the Stow values the site around 7 million. Why have L and Q paid 18 million for a non viable business?.. The pool is contracted out and the money is likely to be wasted on consultancy etc. Its a myth to believe (a) all the money would go to improvements and(b) the council cannot find sufficient money to improve the pool. This is where it would go...

.http://archipelago-
of-truth.blog.co.uk/


The council also negotiated circa 285K set up as a sports trust to compensate the local school for building an 8 story block of flats that would overlook them. These figures suggest the council are either inept or complicite with L and Q in their vain attempt to balance the books on this ridiculous development that will bring nothing to local needs apart from private landlords.
@ Mr Brittas...S 106 1.75million for loss of leisure element at the Stow values the site around 7 million. Why have L and Q paid 18 million for a non viable business?.. The pool is contracted out and the money is likely to be wasted on consultancy etc. Its a myth to believe (a) all the money would go to improvements and(b) the council cannot find sufficient money to improve the pool. This is where it would go... .http://archipelago- of-truth.blog.co.uk/ The council also negotiated circa 285K set up as a sports trust to compensate the local school for building an 8 story block of flats that would overlook them. These figures suggest the council are either inept or complicite with L and Q in their vain attempt to balance the books on this ridiculous development that will bring nothing to local needs apart from private landlords. bishbosh
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Mr Brittas says...

Bishbosh The council is using all the S106 money from Drapers/ODA on Jubilee Park and the new Drapers. New football pitches at Jubilee when Low Hall is massively under used. Look at next weeks cabinet papers the council are putting out to temder for an operator to run Jubilee Park and Drapers. The operator will have to invest masive funding, the council none, but there has to be a profit share after two years. I repeat the council do not have any internal funding, they have to use external funding and thus Pool & Track will not be refurbished if they do not get the S106 money, or is SOS going to give the council S106 money.
Bishbosh The council is using all the S106 money from Drapers/ODA on Jubilee Park and the new Drapers. New football pitches at Jubilee when Low Hall is massively under used. Look at next weeks cabinet papers the council are putting out to temder for an operator to run Jubilee Park and Drapers. The operator will have to invest masive funding, the council none, but there has to be a profit share after two years. I repeat the council do not have any internal funding, they have to use external funding and thus Pool & Track will not be refurbished if they do not get the S106 money, or is SOS going to give the council S106 money. Mr Brittas
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Thu 4 Oct 12

sensibility says...

@Mr Brittas. Apparently the Section 106 payments have not all yet been agreed and are still being negotiated so whether the final figure covers the pool and track remains to be seen.

It is my understanding that most businesses budget for and cover their costs including building and equipment maintenance when working out how much they should charge for whatever they provide. If LBWF did not do this and if they havent continued to maintain their buildings etc that is no ones fault but their own.

If residents are so passionate about the pool and track there is nothing stopping interested parties getting to gether, setting up a group eg Friends of Pool and Track and raising money to ensure the facilities remain.

Now going back to the article main story I am pleased to hear that the council will disclose the viability.
@Mr Brittas. Apparently the Section 106 payments have not all yet been agreed and are still being negotiated so whether the final figure covers the pool and track remains to be seen. It is my understanding that most businesses budget for and cover their costs including building and equipment maintenance when working out how much they should charge for whatever they provide. If LBWF did not do this and if they havent continued to maintain their buildings etc that is no ones fault but their own. If residents are so passionate about the pool and track there is nothing stopping interested parties getting to gether, setting up a group eg Friends of Pool and Track and raising money to ensure the facilities remain. Now going back to the article main story I am pleased to hear that the council will disclose the viability. sensibility
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Thu 4 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

Dont buy that for one minute. I spent 30 years in local government. Agreed their budgets have been cut but a paltry sum of 1.75m can be found. The point I am making is 1.75m for the loss of the Stow is totally inadequate. Either the council are inept at a time they need outside funding and that would be worrying where everything seems to be contracted out or they have been complicite in keeping costs down so that L and Q could achieve the impossible and make the scheme viable. The winners in all this are the council with a potential to increase their council tax income by around 400K per annum doubled for six years by the government new build bonus scheme. A carrot which seems to have motivated certain council members and L and Q with guaranteed income streams from mostly private full rents and sales boosted by their own 6% mortgages. Where are the council with their lack of housing concerns when agreeing to a develpment that loses 400 local full and partime jobs, provides for less than 20% affordable housing and no social renting.
Dont buy that for one minute. I spent 30 years in local government. Agreed their budgets have been cut but a paltry sum of 1.75m can be found. The point I am making is 1.75m for the loss of the Stow is totally inadequate. Either the council are inept at a time they need outside funding and that would be worrying where everything seems to be contracted out or they have been complicite in keeping costs down so that L and Q could achieve the impossible and make the scheme viable. The winners in all this are the council with a potential to increase their council tax income by around 400K per annum doubled for six years by the government new build bonus scheme. A carrot which seems to have motivated certain council members and L and Q with guaranteed income streams from mostly private full rents and sales boosted by their own 6% mortgages. Where are the council with their lack of housing concerns when agreeing to a develpment that loses 400 local full and partime jobs, provides for less than 20% affordable housing and no social renting. bishbosh
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Mr Brittas says...

I was merely going by the S106 documents which are now online for Cabinet next week for approval of the leisure contract for Jubilee and Drapers. There is no mention (or I have not seen it) of any of that S106 money going to Pool & Track
I was merely going by the S106 documents which are now online for Cabinet next week for approval of the leisure contract for Jubilee and Drapers. There is no mention (or I have not seen it) of any of that S106 money going to Pool & Track Mr Brittas
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Thu 4 Oct 12

mdj says...

' There is no mention (or I have not seen it) of any of that S106 money going to Pool & Track..'
You'll be lucky to get specifics: years ago local campaigners WF Transport Action group suggested that the new Sainsbury on the N Circular pay £50,000 to subsidise the extension of a bus route to the site when it opened, which was adopted. Predictably, it was so successful that no subsidy was needed.Foreseeing this,we'd hoped to get it transferred to other transport projects, but we never found out where it went.
More recently, at a Community Council , it was stated that £100k was promised by some new Tesco development for educational improvements. I asked how this was ring-fenced: the chair promised me an answer later on from the official next to him, who promptly got up and left the meeting.
There is probably a pneumatic document chute running straight from the Council chamber to that famous asbestos-ridden cellar...
' There is no mention (or I have not seen it) of any of that S106 money going to Pool & Track..' You'll be lucky to get specifics: years ago local campaigners WF Transport Action group suggested that the new Sainsbury on the N Circular pay £50,000 to subsidise the extension of a bus route to the site when it opened, which was adopted. Predictably, it was so successful that no subsidy was needed.Foreseeing this,we'd hoped to get it transferred to other transport projects, but we never found out where it went. More recently, at a Community Council , it was stated that £100k was promised by some new Tesco development for educational improvements. I asked how this was ring-fenced: the chair promised me an answer later on from the official next to him, who promptly got up and left the meeting. There is probably a pneumatic document chute running straight from the Council chamber to that famous asbestos-ridden cellar... mdj
  • Score: 0

11:21pm Thu 4 Oct 12

chingford lad says...

I would not trust this labour led council to manage a childs piggy bank. When they speak at public meetings I picture that squirming scheming creature from Dickens, `Uriah Heep`. I think the whole council should resign, the ratepayers form an electable party to run the borough as Chingford did so successfully. The Chandler family must have laughed all the way to the bank, I suspect they are still rolling around on their backs.
I would not trust this labour led council to manage a childs piggy bank. When they speak at public meetings I picture that squirming scheming creature from Dickens, `Uriah Heep`. I think the whole council should resign, the ratepayers form an electable party to run the borough as Chingford did so successfully. The Chandler family must have laughed all the way to the bank, I suspect they are still rolling around on their backs. chingford lad
  • Score: 0

9:34am Fri 5 Oct 12

Isaythat says...

Chingford lad, I second that!
Chingford lad, I second that! Isaythat
  • Score: 0

10:43am Fri 5 Oct 12

Garrow says...

Since no one could give information relating to my questions about the legality of the planning permission on this site, given that the issue of viability was raised at the planning committee, I had to find the information for myself.
Judicial review is the procedure used. The court has a "supervisory" role - making sure the decision maker acts lawfully. The crucial practical point to remember in these cases is that you have a fixed three month time limit in which to issue court proceedings. The law has been clarified by the House of Lords such that it is clear that time runs from the date of grant of permission itself. Therefore, it seems yet again that the council has done something illegal and manages to get away with it. I cannot agree that the Conservative councillors should resign, as they got it right.
Since no one could give information relating to my questions about the legality of the planning permission on this site, given that the issue of viability was raised at the planning committee, I had to find the information for myself. Judicial review is the procedure used. The court has a "supervisory" role - making sure the decision maker acts lawfully. The crucial practical point to remember in these cases is that you have a fixed three month time limit in which to issue court proceedings. The law has been clarified by the House of Lords such that it is clear that time runs from the date of grant of permission itself. Therefore, it seems yet again that the council has done something illegal and manages to get away with it. I cannot agree that the Conservative councillors should resign, as they got it right. Garrow
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Fri 5 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

Of course L and Q and the council want to delay things. Catford Stadium site although demolished is still empty with planning permission for over 580 units passed in 2008. If the mayor oks this development it will be demolished tommorrow and remain empty for years. How on earth is that serving the local community
Of course L and Q and the council want to delay things. Catford Stadium site although demolished is still empty with planning permission for over 580 units passed in 2008. If the mayor oks this development it will be demolished tommorrow and remain empty for years. How on earth is that serving the local community bishbosh
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Fri 5 Oct 12

Isaythat says...

I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco.
I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco. Isaythat
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Fri 5 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

I think it is common knowledge that Waltham Forest have manipulated planning processes to deliver on promises certain members have made in the past playing the big shot wheeler and dealer to L and Q. I doubt anyone with a brain who cares about this topic believes otherwise.
I think it is common knowledge that Waltham Forest have manipulated planning processes to deliver on promises certain members have made in the past playing the big shot wheeler and dealer to L and Q. I doubt anyone with a brain who cares about this topic believes otherwise. bishbosh
  • Score: 0

12:11am Sat 6 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Isaythat wrote:
I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco.
How many times did you attend the Stow?
[quote][p][bold]Isaythat[/bold] wrote: I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco.[/p][/quote]How many times did you attend the Stow? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

9:02am Sat 6 Oct 12

Isaythat says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
Isaythat wrote:
I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco.
How many times did you attend the Stow?
Garrow, how did they get it right? Conservatives must have known from very early on illegalities where happening, so why did they not lodge a complaint within the three months? Why would a supposedly independent body such as LBWF go to such lengths to defend L&Q? Conservative Cllr Alan Siggers & Cllr Ed Northover and Lib Dem Cllr Liz Phillips were seen to do the right thing. How can 4 labour councillors (Pete Barnett being Chairman) be outvoted by 3 in opposition? it's questionable! If it wasn't for Ricky Holloway working so hard to expose wrong doings, L & Q would have got away with this outrageous plan unopposed.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Isaythat[/bold] wrote: I trust conservative far more than any other, but nevertheless, they still couldn't/didn't stop the dodgy dealings which is blatantly obvious re Walthamstow Stadium. It seems the only time common sense prevails is when the public get together and demand they be heard. I was at the Town Hall for the final meeting and it was a fiasco.[/p][/quote]How many times did you attend the Stow?[/p][/quote]Garrow, how did they get it right? Conservatives must have known from very early on illegalities where happening, so why did they not lodge a complaint within the three months? Why would a supposedly independent body such as LBWF go to such lengths to defend L&Q? Conservative Cllr Alan Siggers & Cllr Ed Northover and Lib Dem Cllr Liz Phillips were seen to do the right thing. How can 4 labour councillors (Pete Barnett being Chairman) be outvoted by 3 in opposition? it's questionable! If it wasn't for Ricky Holloway working so hard to expose wrong doings, L & Q would have got away with this outrageous plan unopposed. Isaythat
  • Score: 0

9:06am Sat 6 Oct 12

Isaythat says...

not sure how I accidently added 'the white box' !!! can someone tell me please?
not sure how I accidently added 'the white box' !!! can someone tell me please? Isaythat
  • Score: 0

11:28am Sat 6 Oct 12

Garrow says...

I not really sure what you are saying 'Isaythat' 4 Labour councillors can never be outvoted by 3 in opposition, I don't see how that is questionable. What those of us that were there on the night saw was 2 Conservative councillors and 1 LibDem, but especially councillors Northover and Siggers, put together well structured arguments backed by evidence which were waved away by both council officers and Labour councillors. I don't know what procedures are available to them if they want to complain, but what they did do, was take it to Boris and I'm sure they made the same arguments that they made on the night, to him. I know Mr Holloway has done some excellent opposing L&Q and LBWF, as have other people including the Conservative councillors. I am not going to criticise them for standing up for what the residents want. I am only sorry that those of us that live on the other side of the boundary line have to be represented by these awful Labour puppets.
I not really sure what you are saying 'Isaythat' 4 Labour councillors can never be outvoted by 3 in opposition, I don't see how that is questionable. What those of us that were there on the night saw was 2 Conservative councillors and 1 LibDem, but especially councillors Northover and Siggers, put together well structured arguments backed by evidence which were waved away by both council officers and Labour councillors. I don't know what procedures are available to them if they want to complain, but what they did do, was take it to Boris and I'm sure they made the same arguments that they made on the night, to him. I know Mr Holloway has done some excellent opposing L&Q and LBWF, as have other people including the Conservative councillors. I am not going to criticise them for standing up for what the residents want. I am only sorry that those of us that live on the other side of the boundary line have to be represented by these awful Labour puppets. Garrow
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Sat 6 Oct 12

Isaythat says...

Garrow, I certainly agree with your last comment. I also agree that conservative and lib dem gave a fantastic speech against the move as did several others, but the system is long winded and fails us as residents. I dread to think what that evening cost the taxpayer in wages and expenses when it was a foregone conclusion it would be passed by a Labour Chairman having the deciding vote. I suppose this is irrelevant now but it doesn't give me confidence in any of them. They have now taken it to Boris, but would they have done so if Mr. Holloway hadn't been involved?. I am not sure and that's why my faith in the only party I ever believed in has dwindled. If you can shed some light on that I would be grateful.
I don't want to see a race track back particularly, but I definitely don't want to see L & Q run roughshod over my home ground.
Garrow, I certainly agree with your last comment. I also agree that conservative and lib dem gave a fantastic speech against the move as did several others, but the system is long winded and fails us as residents. I dread to think what that evening cost the taxpayer in wages and expenses when it was a foregone conclusion it would be passed by a Labour Chairman having the deciding vote. I suppose this is irrelevant now but it doesn't give me confidence in any of them. They have now taken it to Boris, but would they have done so if Mr. Holloway hadn't been involved?. I am not sure and that's why my faith in the only party I ever believed in has dwindled. If you can shed some light on that I would be grateful. I don't want to see a race track back particularly, but I definitely don't want to see L & Q run roughshod over my home ground. Isaythat
  • Score: 0

10:59am Mon 8 Oct 12

Walthamster says...

Once again the council is found to have broken the rules. St James Street Library Campaign and the WF Guardian uncovered many similar misdeeds after the wrongful closure of our library in 2007.

So have other local campaigners over the years, on several important areas including public spending.

But the council always gets away with it.

The kindest possible interpretation is that the council routinely receives and follows incorrect legal advice.

Why is no one brought to justice? Why don't Conservative councillors take action? The borough even has an influential Tory MP, Iain Duncan Smith -- why doesn't he do anything? There has to be some higher authority that can take action against a council, and an MP should be able to get something done if anyone can.
Once again the council is found to have broken the rules. St James Street Library Campaign and the WF Guardian uncovered many similar misdeeds after the wrongful closure of our library in 2007. So have other local campaigners over the years, on several important areas including public spending. But the council always gets away with it. The kindest possible interpretation is that the council routinely receives and follows incorrect legal advice. Why is no one brought to justice? Why don't Conservative councillors take action? The borough even has an influential Tory MP, Iain Duncan Smith -- why doesn't he do anything? There has to be some higher authority that can take action against a council, and an MP should be able to get something done if anyone can. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

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