A NATIONAL sports body has said it does not support plans to build a housing and leisure complex on the Walthamstow Stadium site - despite being mentioned in promotional material for the project.

Housing association London and Quadrant (L&Q) has previously claimed it is "working with" the Sport England group on its controversial proposals for the arena in Chingford Road, Chingford.

But when campaigners double-checked the claims this week they discovered this was not the case.

In a statement to the Guardian, a spokeswoman confirmed: "Sport England is not working with L&Q on their development plans for the Walthamstow Stadium site."

L&Q want to build a 300-home development on the land along with a proposed leisure centre featuring four gym-like rooms, which it says could be used for things like exercise classes.

Sport England says it did meet representatives from L&Q once in December 2010 to give advice on its proposals, but added that this is standard practice whenever there are planning applications involving sports facilities.

The spokeswoman said: "We did not agree to either support or oppose any subsequent planning application they chose to submit to the local planning authority."

Chingford Cllr Bernadette Mill, who has met with L&Q several times in recent months to discuss the plans, has reacted with outrage to the news.

She said: "I'm shocked and disappointed by this revelation. I was explicitly told by L&Q that their leisure proposals for the site had the support of Sport England.

"I was led to believe that L&Q had a working relationship with Sport England, and this is clearly not the case."

She added: "Their leisure centre plans are not up to scratch. They are proposing building four studio rooms, which is just not a sufficient leisure replacement for the loss of the dog track."

Rick Holloway, who heads the Save Our Stow (SOS) campaign group which wants the site to be reopened as a dog racing venue, also accused L&Q of misleading residents.

A spokeswoman for L&Q said: "We met with Sport England in December 2010 and the designs for our proposed leisure centre have been developed in line with their standards and feedback received from this meeting.

"Once we have submitted our plans we will look to work with Sport England further on the development of our proposed Community Sports Trust which would enable the local community to decide on how the leisure centre is run.

"The consultation with Sport England will be an ongoing process.”

Sport England has said it will write to L&Q to ensure its contact with the housing assocation is "accurately reflected" in any future materials.

L&Q have not said when its planning application for the site will be submitted.

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