There was an unexpected move in determining the future of Walthamstow Stadium ten years ago this week

The council has taken the unusual step of announcing it has not received a planning application or had any contact from those behind a bid to reopen Walthamstow Stadium as a dog racing venue.

Last week Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith and campaigners from Save Our Stow (SOS) held a high-profile event to announce that millionaire businessman Bob Morton was about to submit the paperwork for the plans.

The site, in Chingford Road, Chingford, is owned by London and Quadrant (L&Q) which has applied to build a 301 home housing estate and leisure centre at the arena.

In response, campaigners said the rival bid for both housing and dog racing would be submitted to prove such a plan was viable.

But in a statement, a Waltham Forest Council spokesman said: "Mr Morton has not approached the council to discuss a planning application for the site’s redevelopment.

"Given the size of the site and the many planning issues to be borne in mind we’d normally expect to be involved in lengthy discussions with any prospective developer before an application was submitted.

"While we’ve not heard from Mr Morton at this stage we would, of course, offer him the same advice and support as any other interested party should he decide to put in his own application."

The council has always stressed its independence over the issue although campaigners and Mr Duncan Smith have accused its Labour leadership of actively encouraging L&Q to turn the site into a housing complex.

The council denies the claim.

Ricky Holloway, of SOS, denied Mr Morton had not made contact with the council and said the application will be submitted within the next few weeks.

He said: "It doesn't seem very impartial that the council have spent the last three years not saying anything about L&Q's application not being received and then they go and make this announcement."

He has also released a letter from Chris Page, a former senior member of staff at the stadium.

Mr Page says the stadium was viable at the time of its closure.

He wrote: "It is self evident that a refurbished stadium, effectively managed and promoted, would not only be a very profitable business but would bring hundreds of much needed jobs for local residents as well as significantly boosting trade for the dozens of local ancilliary companies who used to supply Walthamstow Stadium.

"Judged by my conversations with literally hundreds of local residents this course of action is, as they say, 'a no brainer'."