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26 February 2018

A press release from Waltham Forest Trades Council, 26 February 2018

Groundswell of opposition to high-rise development

Save our Square

Walthamstow Saturday market square is normally a lively place, but last Saturday, 24th February, it was buzzing.

After weeks of leafleting and raising the alarm, around 600 angry demonstrators came together, declaring their opposition to regeneration plans for the shopping mall, which will take away one third of precious public space.

A whole range of people and organisations came, many with homemade placards; artists brought models of the proposed monster blocks and marked with posters the trees destined for the chop.

A line was sprayed to show, according to the plans, exactly how much space was going to be lost. It stretched from the corner by Lidl and the stalls, to the big screen, across the grass and up to the corner entrance - a huge area - nothing short of a land-grab by the company Capital & Regional.

Speaker after speaker condemned the council for giving the go-ahead, and Linda Taaffe secretary of the trades council said: "And it isn't even going to provide homes for people in need.

"The whole 500 flats will be so expensive, no young people or families here could ever afford one."

The demonstrators occupied the area by gathering along this huge line and then marched around the square, singing and chanting, joined by musicians playing 'This land is your land, This land is my land' (an old folk song from the Depression era in the US). The tail of the demo only just set off as the front arrived back in the square!

One young person commented: "The council are trying to 'square the circle' by pretending to provide homes without fighting government cuts. We are 'circling the square', joining together to stop this destructive plan."

People stayed around to enjoy radical musicians the Big Red Band and the FourFathers, while the open mic encouraged further discussion. The evening was rounded off with the film Concrete Soldiers in Harmony Hall.

Save our Square intends to step up the campaign to drive out these greedy developers.