Duncan Smith accused of 'bullying' in greyhound row
Mira Bar-Hillel, Property Correspondent
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.
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.
& 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
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
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'.
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."
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."