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Council leader says the development will bring jobs and improvements to schools and housing
A controversial Morrisons development approved last week has been defended by Waltham Forest Council.
The plan for a supermarket, 245 new homes, three shops and a ground-floor car park at South Grove in Walthamstow has been criticised as poorly designed and, at a height of 34 metres, of inappropriate scale.
Many say it would have a damaging effect on independent businesses in the area, included Walthamstow Market traders.
But council leader Chris Robbins insisted the development represents a good deal for the borough, with a contribution from Morrisons in schools and health services likely to run into millions.
He said: “We understand that these sorts of large developments can cause some concern.
“But I believe this will have a really positive impact on the local economy, with Morrisons complimenting what is already on offer to shoppers in the centre of Walthamstow.
“What isn’t in doubt is the value of this development in terms of the investment in our schools and health facilities, the much needed new homes, and the employment that will be made available to local people who are currently in search of work.”
Conservative group leader Matt Davis welcomed the development of the town centre, but said the design was wrong and risked turning Walthamstow into an "indentikit" town.
“We view the agreed scheme as overly large and bulky, wholly lacking in any visual design merits, and seriously question the need for yet another supermarket in a place that is already well served in that regard,” he said.
“Turning Walthamstow into yet another identikit, high rise, chain store town centre exactly like so many others, will undoubtedly be an opportunity missed.”
He said it was a “crying shame” that Walthamstow’s uniqueness was not reflected in the council’s choice of scheme and partner.
It is believed around 450 new jobs will be created, 300 of which will be in Morrisons, which claims to have a policy of giving 75 per cent of jobs to local people.
The development must be approved by Mayor Boris Johnson due to its scale.
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