Upset and dismayed campaigners have vowed to fight on after Labour councillors approved plans for tower blocks in a town square.

Hundreds of residents gathered at Waltham Forest Assembly Hall on Wednesday to protest the scheme which was given the go-ahead by Waltham Forest Council Planning Committee.

The development includes four high-rise blocks, the tallest being 29 storeys, alongside restaurants and retail units which will be built on a third of Walthamstow Town Square and Gardens.

Seventy-nine letters in support of the plans were submitted to the council while 948 letters of objection were received.

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Campaigners collected over 2,000 signatures on a petition against the scheme which they say is a “land grab” of public space.

Twelve speakers, two of whom supported the development, were met with applause and boos as passions were running high among audience members.

Campaigner Jean Duggleby said: “I have spoken to around 5,000 residents and about 10 people they think it may be a good idea.

“The majority are fiercely against it and deeply upset.

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“Those of us that have been to consultations have been gagged and unable to share our opinions.”

Adrian Stannard said it was “a scandal” that only 20 percent of the 500 flats would be affordable and not GLA’s target of 50 per cent.

Philip Herlihy said if councillors did not reject the plans locals would regard it as “a betrayal”.

Nancy Taaffe from the Socialist Party called on the council to instead build social housing paid for by the taxes of the rich and said the development would add to the “social cleansing of London”.

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Martin Smith of Cleveland Park Residents’ Association said: “We need social housing. We don’t need more one-man two-bedroom investment flats.

“Removing any of the mature trees is nothing short of an atrocity.”

Deputy leader of the local Conservative group Millie Balkan said to Capital and Regional: “I don’t care about your awards, I don’t care about your endless bragging. You’re not having our town square.

Principal of Waltham Forest College Penny Wycherley backed the plans saying the restaurants and retail units would “keep our atmosphere alive” while Andy Bush of Empire Cinema also leant his support.

Campaigner David Gardiner called the scheme a “land grab” and said most residents of Waltham Forest “can only dream of being able to afford” one of the flats.

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Addressing the committee he said: “Think again, think hard, you can and must do better than this.”

Labour Cllr for Hoe Street Saima Mahmud spoke against the “over development of a small space”.

Kenneth Ford of Capital and Regional said: “Throughout the 20 years of our ownership of The Mall we have invested in excess of £20 million.

“We have provided full-time employment for over 300 people. 

“Capital and Regional are long-term stakeholders in Waltham Forest.

“We are part of the Waltham Forest community.”

Cllr Keith Rayner recommended approval of the plans which was seconded by chair Cllr Jenny Gray.

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A vote saw four committee members, all Labour councillors, back the development while the fifth member, Conservative Cllr Allan Siggers, opposed it.

Speaking to the Guardian after the meeting which lasted more than three hours, campaigner Linda Taaffe said: “It is an absolute disgrace.

“We are going to do a mass trespass in the square if they are bringing in diggers.

“We are not letting them get away with this horrendous scheme.”