New Local Plan for good growth in borough officially adopted

An aerial image of Walthamstow Wetlands with trees and water
Published: 5 March 2024
Filed under: Regeneration and Housing
  • Plan will offer more jobs and opportunities to local residents 
  • Thousands of new affordable homes to be built across borough to help local people in the greatest housing need 
  • Community infrastructure improvements that benefit all to be funded by developments 

On Thursday 29 February 2024, a meeting of Waltham Forest’s Full Council voted to adopt the Local Plan (Part 1). The document outlines the council’s vision for the inclusive, sustainable growth that is needed to help the borough thrive up until 2035.

Alongside new affordable homes, the Local Plan contains information about the jobs and opportunities that will be created through developments as well as details of how the unique feel of town centres and the borough’s local heritage will be protected. 

Preserving and enhancing the natural environment is another key aim of the Local Plan. Waltham Forest has a large number of much-loved parks and green spaces – the Local Plan preserves these precious areas so that they can be used by the community for years to come.

Councillor Ahsan Khan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “Adopting the Local Plan will future proof Waltham Forest for years to come. For decades, the UK simply hasn’t built enough homes. Population growth and a lack of housebuilding has led to soaring house prices in the whole of London, including Waltham Forest. If we don’t build enough homes in the borough, our young people will never be able to purchase their own home and we will never deliver enough affordable housing to meet the needs of the 6,000 people on our housing register. 

“Through our new Local Plan, we can do something about that. We can steer the delivery of the 27,000 new homes that we know the borough needs whilst ensuring that the infrastructure needed to support them is provided, that local jobs and facilities are secured, that flood risk is reduced, that communities are safe, that air quality is improved and that the unique and special characteristics of the borough are protected and enhanced.”

Residents’ needs are at the very heart of the Local Plan. The process of creating it combined data and research with the views and opinions of residents, community groups, and local and national organisations such as the NHS, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police. As such, the document is both based on evidence of the improvements Waltham Forest residents need and representative of the local community. Read the consultation statement prepared in 2021 in support of submission of the Plan to the Planning Inspectorate here.

Local Plans are carefully scrutinised by the independent Planning Inspectorate to make sure they comply with government policies and regulation.  On Monday 8 January 2024, the council received the Government appointed Inspectors' Final Report, which marks the end of the Examination in Public period that must take place before the Local Plan is presented to councillors. You can read more about the rounds of scrutiny and consultation that the Local Plan went through here.

Well planned, inclusive development has helped to fund many of the improvements created in the borough over recent years. Developer contributions have been used to help fund practical improvements to transport and roads, schools, sport and leisure facilities, health services, community safety, green spaces, and much more. The much-loved Walthamstow Wetlands to take just one example would not have been possible without these contributions. You can read about some of the benefits of development we’ve seen here.

The council’s direct contributions to meeting Local Plan targets are explained in the separate Capital Investment Strategy, which contains details on how £749.2m will be invested by the local authority across the borough in the places and, most importantly, the people who make Waltham Forest what it is. The council will build 3,017 new homes, of which over half will be affordable, and create 1,116 new jobs alongside 638 apprenticeships and work placements. These skills will help set local young people up for success in their future careers –the builders of tomorrow will lay their first foundations in Waltham Forest.

Residents can still give feedback on their local area through upcoming consultations and surveys on the Let’s Talk website. From Monday 4 March until Sunday 14 April 2024, the Council will be consulting on new planning guidance for the Leyton Mills area, which will set out more detailed guidance on the policies in Local Plan Part 1 to shape development over the next 15 years. The consultation gives residents and stakeholders an opportunity to feed back on the draft guidance before it is made final.  You can read the draft Leyton Mills Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and fill out a survey on the Council’s Let’s Talk website.

Local Plan (Part 1) is the first of two parts of the Waltham Forest Local Plan. Part 1 sets out the borough-wide spatial strategy and planning policies to guide development. It will be complemented by Part 2, a Site Allocations document, that will identify the strategic sites across the borough where it is anticipated inclusive growth could be delivered and set expectations to ensure that developments are of the highest quality and deliver the right things in the right place. The Council is in the process of reviewing and updating Local Plan Part 2, which will be made available for further public consultation later in the year.