Walthamstow Stadium campaign threatens defamation action in row over Conran-designed scheme

Campaigners against the redevelopment of a former greyhound track in north-east London are threatening to take housing association L&Q to court if it does not retract allegations of aggressive and threatening behaviour made against them.

L&Q said its staff had received threatening messages and been subjected to aggressive and insulting behaviour. The alleged incident happened on 2 December at an event to discuss a 320-home scheme by Conran & Partners for the Walthamstow Stadium site.

All further planned meetings were postponed after L&Q said staff feared for their safety.

The housing association has already retracted the implication that local MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy were part of the “threatening” campaign.

Duncan Smith expressed outrage at the suggestion and said L&Q had behaved disgracefully.

Duncan Smith, Creasy and a BBC television crew had been due to attend another, now cancelled, consultation event last Friday.

Ricky Holloway, one of the organisers of the Save our Stow campaign, said: “To be honest we are very very surprised [at the allegation]. We will take action if they don’t retract it.”
A lawyer acting on behalf of Save our Stow sent a letter to L&Q on Tuesday threatening defamation action, Holloway said.

Although L&Q claimed this week that it was in the process of reporting the behaviour to the police, a police spokesperson said no formal allegation had been received, although the association had sought advice.

A spokesperson for Duncan Smith called for L&Q to meet local businessman Bob Morton, who put in an offer for the site six months ago. He had wanted to keep the greyhound track and build housing around it. L&Q said Morton’s offer had undervalued the site.

Morton restated his offer this week and said L&Q had deliberately underplayed his original one, which he said was for £8-£9m, not the £4m referred to in a L&Q press release.
L&Q was unavailable for comment as Building went to press.