Campaigners trying to get a town centre listed as an asset of community value to stop houses from being built there have lost the battle.

The Waltham Forest Civic Society wanted to protect Walthamstow Town Square.

But Waltham Forest Council said no – because planning permission for new homes at the Mall and town square site has already been granted.

Jane Sterland, chairman of WFCS, said: “Thanks to all our members who signed our application to have the town square by the Mall registered as an asset of community value.

“The council’s decision is disappointing but no surprise and we will continue to press for the land and trees not to be lost.”

Adrian Stannard, another campaigner, said: “It goes to show the council has no respect for open spaces.

“The town square was reduced when the bus station was built, now there’s another third being taken to build this completely ridiculous development.

“The whole point of this application was to highlight areas of community value and areas that need to be protected – it’s going to put the children’s playground smack bang next to the bus stop, which is awful with all of the pollution.

“It’s just wrong, it’s a very bad scheme and there has been no dialogue with Capitol and Regional – there’s been no contact whatsoever.

He added: “It’s going to be ten years of building works at least and that’s not going to be cheap – there aren’t any economic benefits to this scheme with all of the disruption to the town centre and the felling of 80 trees.”

The authority said the need for 32 per cent of the existing town square land to be built on as part of the Mall development means “there is no realistic chance of the current use of that land continuing.”

A council spokesman added: “Waltham Forest Council can confirm that an application to list Walthamstow Town Square as an asset of community value has been rejected. Planning permission has already been granted to redevelop the Mall which would result in part of the square being built on. This means that the town square will not continue in its current form in the future.”

The authority believes the development will give a “significant boost” to the local economy and will provide new jobs as well as homes.