Tory MP ‘Bullying’ In Greyhound Row


Iain Duncan Smith accused of 'bullying' in greyhound row

Mira Bar-Hillel, Property Correspondent

Police have been asked to investigate in an increasingly bitter row over the redevelopment of Walthamstow Stadium after a Cabinet minister was accused of making threats.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who is MP for Chingford, has come under fire after backing campaigners fighting a scheme to turn the greyhound-racing stadium into flats.

London & Quadrant, the housing association which bought the site two years ago, announced plans last week for 320 homes - but no racing. The project has been opposed by campaign group Save Our Stow, with the support of Mr Duncan Smith, Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, and Mayor Boris Johnson.

L&Q has responded by cancelling two consultation meetings, and issued a statement saying it was calling the police to investigate alleged "individual and collective threats to members of staff" from those opposing the plans.

Regional director Steve Yianni said: "We have been shocked by the constant barrage of insults we have received from dog-racing supporters." Mr Duncan Smith reacted furiously: "I was outraged by L&Q's accusation that I had used my position to threaten' or bully' them and that I had led an orchestrated public campaign'.

"The public want to see a dog track at Walthamstow Stadium. L&Q are using this idea of being threatened' or bullied' as an excuse not to listen to what local residents want. L&Q have behaved disgracefully. "The stadium has been derelict for nearly two-and-a-half years now for the simple fact that L&Q paid too much for it and now refuse to sell at a lower price. They are behaving like a property speculator with absolutely no regard for local people."

The association's chief executive David Montague said: "We are a social business part-funded by a public grant, but how, where and what we invest in or sell is for us to determine." Ms Creasy said: "L&Q should spend less time trying to discredit MPs and local people and more time round a table negotiating."

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