Walthamstow Stadium site development: Residents told to move out

Walthamstow Stadium site development: Residents told to move out

Walthamstow Stadium
Image caption,

The famous landmark hosted racing for 75 years, with the last race held in 2008

People living on a former east London stadium site say they are devastated about having to leave their homes for four years, or permanently.

Nearly 30 tenants privately renting from housing association L&Q on the ex-Walthamstow Stadium complex must move out so work to fix problems with the original build can be carried out.

Work will be done in 20-week phases on a block-by-block basis over four years.

L&Q said it would offer a £5,000 discretionary payment per household.

It said it needed 28 properties back to use as temporary accommodation for other residents while remedial work took place across the 294-home estate.

The estate is made up of shared owners, lease holders and social and private tenants.

Walthamstow Stadium was regarded as the leading greyhound racing stadium in Britain following the closure of White City in 1984. The stadium closed in 2008.

Image source, Stewart Caine
Image caption,

Rebecca Help says she cannot face the prospect of moving house

Rebecca Help, 43, is receiving treatment for breast cancer and lives in a flat on the development.

“It’s really stressful, which I don’t really need,” she said.

“I’m trying to put it to the back of my mind so I don’t get too stressed about it – but that’s difficult.”

She says she cannot face the prospect of moving house at the moment.

“It’s awful, I can’t even put myself there right now,” Ms Help added.

Image caption,

Tenants at the iconic estate will have to move out so remedial work can take place

L&Q has said it will try to help people find accommodation but that could leave some residents trying to find properties privately.

Competition for rental properties in London is pushing up prices. Hotel worker and father of three, Muhammed, says his family will be priced out of the area.

“Even if I go towards Chingford, the minimum is at least £2,000 and I can’t afford it.

“I always pay my rent on time so what happened? All of a sudden.. just to make other tenants happy… you have to kick me out.. what about my family?”

Image caption,

Asma (left) and Neda say they are very happy in their home and do not want to move

He says moving out of the area would be too disruptive for his children.

His daughter Neda, 14, says: “It’s been really stressful. I don’t want to leave my school, I’m really happy where I am.”

Resident Christina Ball says renting privately from a housing association made her feel secure.

Image caption,

Christina Ball says renting privately from a housing association made her feel secure

“We came here believing that these were our homes and somewhere we could settle.

“I’m still in a bit of shock over it to be honest- because it’s not what you would expect from the biggest landlord in Waltham Forest.”

Gerri Scott, group director of customer services at L&Q says the organisation is doing what it can to keep people in the area.

‘Distressing time’

“What we will do is try and find something as local as possible, including looking at whether we have any L&Q properties that we can offer to residents who have been displaced.

“It’s going to be really difficult to find something on the doorstep.. but we will try to find local options for people to look at.”

In a statement, L&Q said: “For the past couple of months we’ve listened to residents’ concerns and, upon further reflection, we understand how distressing the ending of their private tenancies has been.

“We are asking all impacted residents to a series of one-to-one meetings with our team to understand their individual needs and circumstances, including any additional assistance required for vulnerable tenants.

“We will be providing a £5,000 discretionary payment per household and have agreed not to serve notice.”

Muhammed’s youngest daughter, Asma, 11, says “no-one cares about compensation, we just want an actual house.”

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