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MPs will meet Pickles to discuss Stow's future
TWO of the borough's MPs are to meet with the government's communities secretary Eric Pickles to discuss the future of Walthamstow Stadium.
Controversial plans to build 294 homes at the iconic former dog racing track were given initial approval by councillors earlier this year before being rubber stamped by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Campaigners had been clinging to hope that Mr Pickles would intervene but the council completed the final paperwork to grant planning permission within 48 hours of Mr Johnson's decision, leaving the government powerless to block the development.
Whitehall described the move as "unreasonable" but the council said it acted perfectly legally and that there had never been any indication that Mr Pickles was going to intervene.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would look into the matter further but stopped short of announcing an investigation.
Now Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy are to meet with Mr Pickles on Tuesday (November 13) as part of last-ditch efforts to get the government to intervene.
The announcement came as dozens of protesters, including former footballer Teddy Sheringham and 'Allo Allo actress Vicky Michelle, held a static demonstration outside the stadium, in Chingford Road, Chingford, on Saturday (November 10).
The Walthamstow Area Residents Association has begun initial legal proceedings for a judicial review of the planning decision and is hoping to raise funds for a full case.
Campaigners say the housing will look like a "slum" and insist it would be viable to reopen the stadium with greyhound racing, although developers London and Quadrant (L&Q) dispute this.
Meanwhile L&Q has said it is keen to start building the housing as quickly as possible.
Andy Rowland, Land and Projects Director at L&Q, said: “Now that Waltham Forest Council and the Mayor of London have approved our proposals for the Walthamstow Stadium site, we look forward to beginning work as soon as we can, subject to meeting the remaining conditions in the planning process.
“We will build 294 much-needed, high quality homes for people on a range of incomes...[and] will preserve the architectural heritage of this iconic and historic site for the whole community.”
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