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Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Arcade Site: let's tell Waltham Forest Council what we want!

So the eyesore that is the Arcade site on the corner of the High Street and Hoe Street is to be tarmaced over - to be used as a space: purpose as yet unknown.

The grand official opening of the aforemention space takes place on Saturday July 25th; with the Council pulling out all the stops - bouncy castle and all. In the meantime our Council is keen to learn what we, the residents of Waltham Forest, think is the best short term use for the revamped Arcade site.

We're told that the options are limited. The Council will not go to the expense of landscaping the site; heaven forfend that they should waste tax payers' money on such nonsense. It's tarmac and you can lump it or leave it. Already cynical minds believe the Council will not be able to resist turning the site into a revenue raising goldmine; but gentler souls believe that our civic leaders are keen, at last, to do something remotely sensible with the site after years of shilly-shallying around.

Civic consultation is one thing, however, Fight the Height are determined to make sure that the Council get plenty of ideas from the community on what to do with the Arcade site. They asking us what we would like to see there.

They're asking residents, artists, schoolchildren and architects to send them a postcard with their dreams, visions and ideas for the site, on the corner of High Street and Hoe Street.

Thousands of postcards are being distributed to pubs, shops or community centres on which people can jot down their ideas. They've also produced downloadable postcards, posters and briefs for schools or architects. The designs and sketches will appear on the E17 Art Trail.

Just visit their website and let the Council see what Walthamstow can dream up!!

They also need volunteers to drop off the postcards and posters. If you want to lend a hand e-mail Fight the Height at


Anonymous said...

You have written “the Council will not be able to resist turning the site into a revenue raising goldmine” – good! If the Council is able to raise revenue from this site it means that they may be able to keep down our Council Tax for another year. It’s people like you and the Fight The Height campaigners who would be the first to moan if your Council Tax was raised. As far as I can tell the Fight The Height campaigners are little more than precious middle-class nimbys who object to anything that might damage the price of their property. When will they/you realise that houses are for living in and not for making a profit?

The old arcade site is a small plot of land and the only way it can be economically used for the benefit of a large number of people is to build upwards so stop burying your head in the sand and trying to live in the Dark Ages; stop “fighting the height” and instead embrace the prospect of having something new and exciting in the borough for a change. What the Council was proposing would have bought much needed social and affordable private housing to Walthamstow as well as new retail outlets (so what if they were going to have been the ‘usual suspects’? – ANYTHING is better than the chain of £ shops that currently dominate the High Street and exploit producers and workers so that the middle class nimbys can have money left over to buy their expensive bottles of wine). These plans had the potential to kick-start the much needed regeneration of the area.

Please stop bleating and do something constructive – delivering those pathetic Fight The Height postcards is doing nothing to help. And let’s be honest, they ARE pathetic aren’t they? I mean, “anonymous hotel or skate park” WHAT? Those Cleveland Park Nimbys would be the first to complain about a skate park – like they did about the Big Screen – (incidentally where are all the hoards of screaming vandals they predicted it would attract?).

William of Walthamstow

Barry Coidan said...

I am so glad someone has commented on my blog!! Thank you William of Walthamstow.

You assume a great deal about me and FtH people. That's OK by me.

Nicholas Ridly was the first to use the term "nimby" - to denigrate people who objected to a Tory planning proposal. If I am a "nimby" I wear that badge with pride. If you aren't concerned about your local area and what can be done to nuture it - what's the point of living there.You're rather out of date thinking the middle classes worry about making a profit from their property. Today, many worry about having enough to pay the mortgage.

I agree we need affordable social and private housing. I think the selling off of council housing stock and not replacing it was a disaster. But I don't believe that because there is a problem, in this case a housing problem, any solution is acceptable. And I agree that the shopping environment in Walthamstow is not good. I suspect that's due more to the poverty of the local community than to poor planning. But I'd rather build from an understanding of the residents' needs rather than having a "master plan" imposed.

And I wish I had enough left over from shopping at the £ shop to buy a decent bottle of wine or two. I make no apology, I love shopping at Majestic Wines if only we had one in Walthamstow!

Keep corresponding.

An aspiring middle class dinky, nimby.