Walthamstow dog track earns reprieve

by Mark James on February 13, 2011

Following a long and bitter battle since it was closed down, the famous Walthamstow Stadium dog track may have a last gasp chance to be saved.

Since the last race was run in 2008, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding what was in store for the track, but the end of such acrimony may yet be in sight.

Developer London & Quadrant (L&O) snapped up the site for £18m, and planned to redevelop the site into 480 homes. Instead of knocking the building down completely, the plans included the fabulous Art Deco entrance as a feature.

Walthamstow StadiumIn response to the proposal, businessman Bob Morton, who owns greyhounds, concocted an alternative plan which saw the stadium being saved, and made an offer to L&O of between £4m – £8m.

The dispute that followed escalated, and saw Waltham Forest residents, MPs and Mayor of London Boris Johnson becoming involved over the plans to level the stadium. In one bizarre episode, L&O implicated Stella Creasy and Iain Duncan Smith, MPs for Walthamstow and Chingford respectively, for aggressive and threatening behaviour towards its staff. However, the company swiftly backtracked and issued a press release apologising for the defamatory nature of its comments.

At long last, the saga may be drawing to a close. English Heritage has decreed that L&O’s plans would “harm the settings of the retained listed assets”, and urged the local council to refuse planning permission. Shortly after this, Morton submitted plans that included 140 new houses and kept most of the stadium.

It’s unknown if L&O plans to withdraw their plans, but if the dispute continues, it may be up to Boris Johnson to intervene and make the final decision.

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