Walthamstow arcade site
Arcade site progress
January 2013:The Arcade scheme was granted planning permission on 8 January 2013. The developer is now progressing with detailed designs and site preparation with a start on site anticipated for Spring 2013. The development, once completed, will deliver a 9 screen 1,200 seat Empire cinema, 5-6 retail / restaurant units and 121 new homes. For further details of the scheme progression please see the developer’s website
July 2012: An agreement signed on Friday 29 June between developers of the Arcade site and the UK’s largest independently owned cinema chain, Empire Cinemas, looks set to see the return of the big screen to Waltham Forest. Developers Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA), and partner Hill Residential, signed the agreement with Empire Cinemas for a brand new fully digital nine screen complex. The cinema is part of a mixed use development that would provide a valuable boost to the Council’s ongoing plans to regenerate Walthamstow town centre and the local economy.
Justin Ribbons, CEO of Empire Cinemas said: “We’re very excited to be a part of the new development in Walthamstow, and that we’ll be able to provide a brand new state of the art complex for residents to enjoy.” Andy Hill, Managing Director at Hill Residential “It is great news that we have an agreement in place with Empire Cinemas and we are confident the scheme will create a fantastic gateway into the High Street".
"A cinema has been one of our main objectives in looking to attract investment to Walthamstow,” said Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins. “It’s what local people have been telling us they want and so naturally I’m delighted that we’re a step closer".
“Let’s hope things can develop smoothly as this development will act as a real catalyst for the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.”
Work towards submitting a planning application will now continue.
The Council continues to support Waltham Forest Cinema Trust in their bid to restore the EMD Cinema on Hoe Street to an entertainment venue. The building is currently owned and occupied by the UCKG Church.
September 2011: The developers of the Arcade site (ISHA/ Hill group) are continuing the development of the scheme. Further details on the scheme can be found on their arcade site website.
Arcade Site Development Partner
On 15 December 2010 the Council appointed Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) as the preferred developer for the Arcade site at the junction of Hoe Street and High Street in Walthamstow town centre. ISHA, with their commercial partner The Hill Group and Architects PTEa, will now start work on developing plans for a mixed use residential, retail and leisure development on this key gateway site. Further information will become available as these plans develop and will be published on this website in due course.
Arcade Site background
Long term proposals
In July 2010 Cabinet agreed to prepare a revision to the Council’s Interim Planning Policy Framework (IPPF) for the Town Square and Arcade site area of Walthamstow. This revision would look at how the Arcade site and the town square could make best use of both the retail and the open space offer at this end of the town centre. There will be widespread consultation on this revision in due course.
A way forward for the development of the site was also proposed and agreed by cabinet:
a) Hold discussions with the Council’s present development partner, St Modwen, in a final effort to produce a deliverable and acceptable mixed-use scheme. If these discussions fail the Council will end the development agreement.
b) Explore whether a residential development led scheme, including a commercial element and potentially a cinema, could be delivered on part of the Arcade site by the Council’s Registered Social Landlord (RSL) Framework Partners. If so undertake a mini-competition to procure an RSL partner.
c) If neither above option is possible re-procure a development partner for the entire Arcade site to deliver a scheme which could include, (subject to the market) a cinema, other commercial and residential accommodation and allowing for the possibility of including a leisure centre, public open space / town square and / or using the Council’s borrowing ability to enable the new development.
Progress on both the revision to the IPPF and the way forward on the development of the site will continue to be reported on this page.
Statement issued by Waltham Forest Council Leader, Councillor Chris Robbins
1 Nov: Unfortunately, because retailers were hit really hard during the recession Waltham Forest Council and St Modwen Properties could not deliver a mixture of retail, leisure and housing units on the former Arcade site in Walthamstow and so we have mutually agreed to end the development agreement between us.
Delivering such a development at this key location remains a high priority for the Council and we will now examine alternative ways of bringing a first rate scheme to this site.
St Modwen worked hard to attract the interest of several national retailers but issues relating to the scheme's viability resulted in the decision to end the agreement. The Council is now approaching its Registered Social Landlord development partners to gauge their interest in helping deliver this scheme.
This is the Council’s preferred option and is likely to be the quickest route towards delivering a scheme on this site.
Arcade site temporary uses
The consultation on the Temporary uses for the Arcade site has finished.
This consultation incorporated a number of engagement activities. Youth advisors engaged with over 150 young people. An independent on-street survey was undertaken by PlusFour Market Research Ltd. This survey captured the views of over 200 adults and over 30 children and young people.
Stakeholder workshops were held with local residents and interest groups to discuss the opportunities, ideas and issues surrounding the temporary use of this site.
Over 340 Council Questionnaires (both hard copies and on-line completions) were received.
The results of these questionnaires have been complied, along with the other engagement activities listed above, into a final consultation report which can be viewed below.
- Public Consultation on temporary uses for the Arcade Site in Walthamstow Town Centre - October 2009 (237KB PDF file)
The results of this consultation have informed the development of a way forward for the use of this site over the next 18-24 months.
The above results demonstrate that there is a desire for innovative, exciting and entertaining events and activities on this site. Some of these activities, such as visiting markets and an ice rink, are currently being explored by the Council as options for the site in the forthcoming months.
Looking to the future the Council is exploring the options for the longer-term event management of this site; to provide a creative event and art programme which not only meets the aspirations of the local community but also attract interest and visitors from all over London. This approach will build on the ideas emerging from the consultation reported on above.