A live-work vil­lage in E17

Will this imag­i­na­tive project on the edge of Waltham­stow pay off as a place that Lon­don­ers can truly af­ford, asks Ruth Bloom­field

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Future London -

THE streets in the Black­horse Lane area of Waltham­stow were a hive of in­dus­try in the mid-1900s, with small busi­nesses based in mod­est work­shops mak­ing ev­ery­thing from fire­works to fancy boxes, pic­ture frames to fizzy pop.

After the Sec­ond World War the dolls house mak­ers and bi­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers were driven from the area by the de­struc­tion of wartime bomb­ing, and the trans­for­ma­tion of the land into an in­dus­trial zone, which in its turn was out­run by tech­nol­ogy.

Now the E17 sub­urb is go­ing back to its roots. Ul­ti­mately the big idea, un­der the Black­horse Lane Ac­tion Plan, is to build about 2,500 homes north of Black­horse Road sta­tion and at­tract a new gen­er­a­tion of mak­ers, de­sign­ers, artists and start- up en­trepreneurs. It’s in­tended to breathe life into an area which had dis­ap­peared off the map as the prop­erty boom in the rest of Waltham For­est bor­ough passed it by.

With the rem­nants of its slightly for­bid­ding in­dus­trial es­tates, even lo­cal es­tate agent An­drew Goad, di­rec­tor of The Stow Broth­ers, who has op­er­ated there for 16 years, has to ad­mit: “Noth­ing re­ally hap­pens around here and it still looks very in­dus­trial, which peo­ple don’t want.” But what Black­horse Lane does have is the space to build the homes th­ese small busi­ness start-ups need if they are go­ing to stay lo­cal.


The first rental prop­er­ties will be fin­ished this year. Ac­cord­ing to CBRE’s an­nual Bor­ough by Bor­ough re­port, pub­lished this month, Waltham For­est has ex­pe­ri­enced the strong­est house price growth of any Lon­don bor­ough over the past five years, with prices ris­ing to an av­er­age £416,926. Over the next five years CBRE fore­casts prices will rise an­other 17 per cent.

The price boost has been two miles down the road in and around Waltham­stow.

De­vel­op­ers of all sizes, hun­gry for land, are pil­ing into the Black­horse Lane area to cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing mix of homes for rent, shared own­er­ship, pri­vate sale, and stu­dent hous­ing. They are also, un­der “en­cour­age­ment” from Waltham For­est coun- cil, to in­clude workspaces for small and creative busi­nesses on their sites.

The coun­cil is call­ing Black­horse Lane a “creative in­dus­tries zone”, in­vest­ing in ex­ist­ing small work­shop spa­ces in the area as well as us­ing its plan­ning pow­ers to make sure de­vel­op­ers in­clude workspace in their schemes. Th­ese de­vel­op­ers in­clude hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions Cat­a­lyst Hous­ing and Swan Hous­ing, which have teamed up with the Greater Lon­don Author­ity to build 330 af­ford­able homes on the for­mer Webbs In­dus­trial Es­tate in Black­horse Lane.


A heavy-hit­ting in­ter­na­tional ar­chi­tect, CF Møller, the Dan­ish firm be­hind Phase Two of the Dar­win Cen­tre at the Na­tional His­tory Mu­seum and the Sammy Ofer wing of the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum, has been hired to de­sign the project.

Along­side the homes will be stu­dios for artists and ar­ti­sans, a small park and some shops — al­though since this project was only an­nounced in Au­gust fur­ther de­tails are scanty.

The largest de­vel­op­ment, of about 1,000 homes, is also the most ad­vanced. When com­plete the seven-acre brown­field site right by Black­horse Road sta­tion will have more than 500 stu­dent flats, and 499 prop­er­ties for sale and rent. Al­ready up and run­ning is Gnome House, a print­mak­ing stu­dio- cum­com­mu­nity cen­tre, with space for artists and classes and groups for lo­cals. The first phase of homes, called Fizzy Waltham­stow, will com­plete at the end of this year, a range of rental flats to be man­aged by Fizzy Liv­ing (fizzyliv­ing.com). A one-bed­room fur­nished flat starts from £1,550 a month, with two-bed­room, two-bath­room flats from £1,805. Av­er­age rent in Waltham For­est, says CBRE, is £1,346 a month. Th­ese “build to rent” flats have the ad­van­tage of long-term leases plus ex­tras like free wifi.

Tay­lor Wim­pey is build­ing the pri­vate homes. A dis­ap­point­ing 64 will be af­ford­able for first-time buy­ers. The first homes at the de­vel­op­ment, named Eclipse, went on sale in Septem­ber in ad­vance of com­ple­tion next year. Onebed­room flats start at £329,000, with two- bed­room flats from £435,000 (tay­lor­wim­pey.co.uk).

Right be­side Eclipse stands one of Black­horse Lane’s few pubs, The Stan­dard. A pop­u­lar live mu­sic and al­ter­na­tive com­edy venue, it had closed and the site was sold to a su­per­mar­ket in 2011, but hap­pily plan­ning per­mis­sion granted to Turk­ish Food Cen­tre this sum­mer al­lows for a base­ment mu­sic venue, a bar, a food store and 50 flats.

Le­gal & Gen­eral is in­volved at Black­horse Mills, a build to rent scheme on the for­mer Ferry Lane In­dus­trial Es­tate. Plan­ning per­mis­sion was granted this sum­mer and work be­gan in Septem­ber, to a de­sign by an­other big name, As­sael Ar­chi­tec­ture.

The £180 mil­lion project will in­clude up to 440 flats, rang­ing from stu­dios to three-bed­room homes, plus a gym, pri­vate din­ing rooms, flex­i­ble work­ing space, roof ter­races and a res­i­dents club room. There will also be 20,000sq ft of of­fice space for creative and start-up busi­nesses.

One in four of the flats will be rented at sub­sidised lev­els to key work­ers. Le­gal & Gen­eral says the rest will be “tar­geted for the mass mar­ket” and pointed out that while rents at build to rent schemes might seem high, the value for money is in all the ex­tras.

“Black­horse Mills will of­fer res­i­dents re­duced en­ergy bills, no let­ting fees, and free ser­vices such as gym, wifi and car club mem­ber­ship. Roof so­lar panels will pro­vide the build­ing with com­mu­nal light­ing and power.

“Res­i­dents will be of­fered longer and more flex­i­ble ten­an­cies, from six months to five years. They can also dec­o­rate their own homes and keep

Hive of Waltham­stow in­dus­try: Cassie Payne, man­ager at The Lo­cal Honey Man in Suther­land Road and Gareth Reid, owner and founder of Wood Street Cof­fee

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