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Wood Street recognised as top for shops

The changes that have been transforming Wood Street have not only been noticed and appreciated by local residents, but have now been recognised by two Government bodies and shortlisted for their prestigious annual awards.

Organised by London First, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, the Royal Town Planning Institute and London Councils, the London Planning Awards is described as ‘the most prestigious event for the planning and development sector’.

The awards celebrate the outstanding contribution of planners to the capital’s urban regeneration and Wood Street has been put on a shortlist of three areas in the Best Town Centre Project.

The news comes shortly after it was announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that Wood Street had been shortlisted in the London category of the Great British High Street Awards, again alongside just two other areas. Last year Wood Street was shortlisted in the ‘Boosting Economic Growth’ category of the Place Making Awards.

“When you’re being lauded by the likes of the Mayor of London and the DCLG you know you must have been getting something right,” said Councillor Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets.

“We’ve been investing heavily in our high street and town centre areas up and down the borough in the last few years and Wood Street is a prime example of where we have not only spent our own money, but attracted significant funding from others to work with businesses on how to best improve the area.” 

Over the last three years Waltham Forest Council has accessed funding from Transport for London and the Mayor's Outer London Fund to help Wood Street, improving both the public and commercial areas the length of the street.

A new town square called the Plaza was built on the site of an old shopping precinct featuring new fountain features and a new children’s playground, in addition to seating and landscaping.

Most recently the Council’s innovative shopfront improvement work has had a really positive impact, with restoration to the facades of the buildings and improvements to signs, windows and shutters.

The shopfront work has helped bring a consistency to parades of shops and by pairing local traders with artists through a scheme called Shopportunity, the Council has been able to bring about enhancements in partnership with the shopkeepers themselves.

Local business support and training, art interventions, the rejuvenation of Wood Street Indoor Market and lighting feature enhancements have also improved the area. It even has its very own website ( to promote businesses and events and host a private members area for businesses to communicate with one another.

Wood Street is just one of nine high street areas that the Council invested a total of £9million in last year alone as part of its ‘Creating a better place to live’ campaign. Waltham Forest Council is committed to improving the borough’s streets, and attracting better shops and leisure facilities.

Development and regeneration schemes in Waltham Forest have progressed exponentially over the past few years, with the £160million secured last year set to grow to over £700million in the coming years up to 2018.

For more information about the Council’s ‘Creating a better place to live’ campaign that is committed to improving the borough’s streets, and attracting better shops and leisure facilities go to the Council’s website at

The winner of the Great British High Street Awards is expected to be announced before the end of the year and the winner of the London Planning Awards will be announced on 3 February 2015, at City Hall.

PHOTO: One of the parades in Wood Street that has benefitted from the Council’s improvements.

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