Greens call for social housing before more retirement homes in Waltham Abbey

A proposed plan for new retirement homes to be built on part of the Waltham Abbey Tesco car park has been criticised by the local Green Party.

Dave Plummer, the Green Party’s Waltham Abbey Town Coordinator, said,

‘With over 1,500 applications on the District Council’s housing register, over 700 applicants waiting five years for a one bedroom flat and only 300 new council homes proposed over the next ten years it’s clear that we need more social housing before retirement homes.’

‘We also have concerns over Waltham Abbey’s infrastructure, with our overstretched GP surgeries and lamentable public transport provision being two major issues which affect older people locally.’

The preliminary proposals from McCarthy & Stone are currently at the start of a public consultation process.

This is the full email sent to McCarthy and Stone:

Dear McCarthy and Stone,

I’m writing on behalf of Epping Forest Green Party with reference to your preliminary proposal to build retirement homes on part of the Tesco car park in Waltham Abbey.

Unfortunately, I’ll be unable to attend your sessions on Friday 12th January 2018 as they are being held during working hours.

Regarding the preliminary proposal itself, we don’t feel that this would be an appropriate development, partly as it wouldn’t address Epping Forest’s most pressing housing needs and partly as Waltham Abbey doesn’t have the infrastructure to support the residents.

Housing need

  • As of 2017 Q2 there were 1518 applicants on Epping Forest District Council’s housing register
  • As of 16/10/2017 there were 776 applicants on the register waiting for a one bedroom property.
  • The average waiting time for an applicant in Band C for a one bedroom property is currently 5 years.
  • Epping Forest District Council has committed to building just 300 new council homes over the next ten years. It’s clear that we need more social housing. Epping Forest Green Party believes that any new housing developments should prioritise addressing this need, particularly socially rented one bedroom flats, ahead of other housing provision.


  • Waltham Abbeys health services, particularly GP surgeries, are over-capacity. Frequently there are no appointments available for over a week.
  • The nearest hospitals are in Harlow and Epping, both poorly served by public transport
  • Public transport provision is generally poor in Waltham Abbey

There is a real need for more housing in Waltham Abbey, and provision of such will be mandated by the Local Plan, but we don’t believe that retirement homes address that need.

Should a planning application be submitted our elected councillors will consider the application on its own merits and without prejudice.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Plummer