East London gentrification plans exposed

by Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

All kinds of old buildings get knocked down, tower blocks are thrown up, property developers rub their hands, and the juggernaut of private profit locks out thousands of poor households from decent truly affordable homes, while burdening others in mountainous mortgage debts or sky-high rents.

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow
Photo: Paul Mattsson

Architecture specialist Philip Steadman attended a special meeting of our local Save Our Square campaign on 28 October. His research quantifies how tall buildings are bad for the environment.

Electricity use in high-rise office buildings is nearly two and a half times greater than low-rise. Fossil-fuel use is 40% higher. And carbon emissions are more than double.

Why would any council, supposedly committed to action on climate change, want to add to carbon emissions with the two new blocks in Waltham Forest?

Philip Steadman had also calculated that the floor space of ‘our’ two tower blocks is half what the developers claim. His findings throw down a humdinger of a challenge to the council. This is only possible because we’ve carried on campaigning for the last six years.

Instead, an alternative plan, based on council homes to house the homeless, and those facing homelessness, could involve the whole community.