Walthamstow dog track to go

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has approved a scheme to redevelop Walthamstow dog track in east London. Campaigners and local MPs had opposed plans, approved by the council in May, to build nearly 300 homes and a leisure centre at the Grade II listed site

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Row over Walthamstow dog track

Walthamstow dog track hosted races for 75 years. A young David Beckham even worked there for pocket money. But falling profits forced its closure in 2008. Since then, its future has been far from clear.

The Mayor of London approved plans for a new residential and leisure complex at the site - but residents are far from happy with the move.

Marcus Powell has this report.

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Stella Creasy MP: 'L&Q’s plans don’t represent best deal for taxpayer'

Like many residents in Walthamstow, I’m gutted to see Boris Johnson’s support for the popular Walthamstow Dog Stadium before the mayoral elections disappear after them.

Ever since they bought it in a private sale, both Iain Duncan Smith and I have argued L&Q’s plans don’t represent the best deal for the taxpayer or local residents.

That’s why along with many others we’ve worked to provide an alternative proposal that will not only restore our dog track as a going concern but also bring living wage jobs, housing and investment to our area.

Today’s news is a bitter blow to those of us who want the best for Walthamstow. However, we’re not giving up just yet.

I made a pledge to residents at the election to fight for our stadium because of the future potential it offers our community and I owe it to them to continue to explore who can hear our concerns now.

That’s why I’m now making a public plea to the Government to listen to Walthamstow and asking residents to make their feelings known to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

– Stella Creasy, Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow

History of Walthamstow Dog Stadium

Opened in 1933, Walthamstow Dog Stadium became a landmark venue and some famous faces have passed through its doors, including Winston Churchill and Brad Pitt.

A young David Beckham used to collect glasses in the restaurant there. The track also featured on the cover of Blur’s 1994 Parklife album.

Falling profits meant it closed in 2008.

In May the plans submitted by housing association London and Quadrant to build 294 homes and a leisure complex at the stadium were approved by Waltham Forest Council.

The final stage came when Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for the £50 million development.

Opponents say the stadium has cultural value and fear that the promise of community funding that formed part of the application won't materialise.

Campaign group Save Our Stow has asked the Communities Secretary to help but say if that doesn't work then they will apply for for a judicial review.

Redevelopment will 'bring £50m worth of investment'

We are pleased that the Mayor of London has allowed our proposals for the Walthamstow Stadium site.

We now 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.

It will bring £50m worth of investment into the borough, including £3.8 million to improve local leisure, education, health and transport facilities.

This will preserve the architectural heritage of this iconic and historic site for the whole community. Our plans will also create up to 250 jobs, including many apprenticeships and training opportunities for local people.

– Andy Rowland, a director at developers London & Quadrant Housing Trust

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MPs denounce Boris's go-ahead for redevelopment

Campaigners have denounced Boris Johnson after he gave the green light to redevelop Walthamstow dog track.

The Mayor approved plans to build nearly 300 homes on the site of Walthamstow Dog Stadium - sparking fury from campaigners including local MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy.

The stadium closed in 2008 after 75 years of racing due to falling profits. But locals say the venue is a key part of their heritage and their petition to save the Grade II-listed stadium has attracted thousands of signatures.

In May Waltham Forest Council approved a £50 million plan by developers London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q) to build 294 homes, a community-run sports centre, pocket allotments and a children's nursery on the site.