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Waltham Forest presents ambitious growth plans

Fri 8 July 2016, 3:27 pm

Senior representatives from some of the UK's biggest developers and investors gathered in Waltham Forest on 7 July to hear about the borough's latest opportunities.

Councillor Clare Coghill, cabinet member for economic growth and high streets at the council, with council leader, Chris Robbins

The networking event came after a coach tour of some of Waltham Forest’s regeneration sites, with investors finding out about Waltham Forest Council’s plans and opportunities for collaboration. The evening event attracted 100 delegates and took place in Central Parade, where a former council direct centre is being transformed into a creative hub. A host of dynamic young businesses are set to move in during the coming weeks. 

Speakers on the evening included Andrew Haughey, retail asset manager for Capital & Regional which owns The Mall, Walthamstow. He said: “The fact that we’ve been here for 20 years says it all. We’re part of the furniture. We’re part of the heritage. The local authority in Waltham Forest is very engaging, helpful and ambitious and despite the uncertain times we’re all facing at the moment, we are very confident. We believe the time is now. London needs housing, Walthamstow needs housing and it needs more retail too. The connectivity is all here. 

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to work with a council like this who share our ambition for the assets here. We’re here for the long term.” 

Councillor Clare Coghill, cabinet member for economic growth and high streets at the council, reassured delegates in the wake of the Brexit vote. She said: “After an initial shock, things are starting to settle and that will continue as we go forward. In a volatile environment, we offer stability in Waltham Forest. We’ve still got incredible sites, incredible opportunities, some fantastic schemes emerging.” 

The borough’s town centres are a particular focus for economic growth, as Coghill explained. “Walthamstow is a major one, but it’s also important to highlight Leyton. Our message is: ‘We’re here if you’d like to talk to us’.” 

The council’s chief executive Martin Esom referred to plans to create a new 1,000-seat comedy venue in the 1930s, Grade II*-listed former Granada cinema in central Walthamstow. It is set to become a community and cultural hub and would be the largest comedy venue outside central London, said Esom.

“We’re very close to securing it now,” he said. “It may take some time to get the building fit for purpose but it shows the ambition of Waltham Forest.”

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