We’re investing in Waltham Forest
Cllr Ahsan Khan explains how new developments fund improvements that benefit everyone
Some of the things that residents and visitors most enjoy about the borough are only here because of development. The funding and direct investment we receive is used to pay for essential infrastructure improvements and attractions that we would otherwise not be able to afford.
The projects that have benefitted include work to upgrade the Blackhorse Road area, and the creation of new health facilities like the doctor’s surgery at the Jazz Yard. We have been able to make changes for cyclists and pedestrians including improved lighting and better surfaces. It also means we can create places like the Walthamstow Wetlands, the Feel Good centres, and Lea Bridge Library for people to relax and enjoy leisure time as they support local businesses.
We wanted to take this opportunity to look at some of the great things right across the borough that have been made possible through this funding. Of course, there are some areas where there has been more development, which in turn results in more funding in these places to create even better neighbourhoods and town centres.
It’s because of our track record of success in delivering the changes that benefit residents and visitors that we have been awarded one of the highest amounts of Levelling Up funding by the Government in London. In total, we have received around £39m to spend on projects in Leyton, Higham Park and Chingford Mount, and Walthamstow.
Cllr Ahsan Khan
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration
Due to the lack of development in Chingford and Highams Park, there are fewer funds to spend on new facilities. That’s not stopped us from working hard to achieve the best for residents.
Following lots of engagement with residents including the Highams Park Planning Group over the past two years around the Chingford Mount Area Framework, we made a successful bid for £8.4m of Levelling Up Funds working in partnership with councillors and the local MP.
On top of this, we were able to contribute an extra £1.9m bringing the total to £10.3m that will be invested to improve Chingford Mount and Highams Park town centres as well as parks including Memorial Park, Chase Lane Park, and Rolls Park. We’ve been speaking to residents about how to refine the improvements even further, more recently in Chase Lane Park with Everyone on Boards in October 2023 (pictured above).
Thanks to new homes and developments in Walthamstow and Blackhorse Lane, we can invest and apply for more funds to improve facilities that make your life easier.
We’ve set aside funds to pay for a potential new entrance to Walthamstow Central underground station from the redeveloped 17&Central mall, and we continue to work with government and the Mayor of London to look for the rest of the funding.
There are improvements being made to public spaces in the town centre along Hoe Street, High Street and St James Street to make Walthamstow a safer and welcoming cultural destination with the £17.2m of Levelling Up Funding awarded to Waltham Forest by the government.
Funds from developments have allowed us to invest in the Soho Theatre Walthamstow building and create a touchdown space for the University of Portsmouth – these two projects alone are predicted to generate over £500m for the local economy over the next 20 years. We are improving Chestnuts House, Hatherley Mews, and Vestry House Museum to create a cultural quarter in the heart of Walthamstow for everyone to enjoy. We’ve also been able to open a new custom-built library on Wood Street and the much-loved Fellowship Square.
Over at Blackhorse Lane, we’re continuing to make improvements. Without developer funding, we wouldn’t have been able to build the Sinnott Medical Centre for residents which opened in May 2022, allowing it to expand from 6,500 to 10,000 patients over the next 15 years. We’re also making huge improvements to public spaces along Sutherland Road including more CCTV. We also completed the Lockwood Way project in summer 2022, a part of the Creative Enterprise Zone where local businesses receive support to help create new jobs. (pictured above: the gateway to the Blackhorse Road Creative Enterprise Zone)
Coronation Square, near the Leyton Orient stadium, will provide 750 new homes alongside new leisure, sports, and cultural spaces, providing a place for people to relax and shop in Leyton town centre. (pictured above: an artists impression of the public square)
The work also aims to make people feel safer through new street lighting and better visibility. The development is centred around water fountains and a public square that will become the heart of the new community.
It also includes plans for a new health hub, a pre-school nursery, an enhanced indoor sports and leisure centre with community facilities, and new commercial space for shops and businesses. Work is expected to fully complete by the end of 2026.
Environmental upgrades in Leytonstone include a new Sustainable Urban Drainage System outside Leytonstone School, the introduction of the Business Low Emissions Neighbourhood, and improvements to Jubilee Gardens.
We’ve recently completed 47 new homes at Leyton Green Road that have funded Lester House, which stands opposite on Leyton Green Road and provides state of-the-art facilities for young disabled people since opening in 2020.
Improvements to Leyton Tube Station such as step-free access are vital as the borough grows. We were able to fulfil a longstanding commitment of £9m towards the upgrades using funding from developments, and received another £13.7m from our joint Levelling Up Fund bid with TfL. Work will begin in 2024.