Town Centres and High Streets

Waltham Forest's Town Centres and High Streets Team is committed to nurturing the distinct identity and growth prospects of the borough's commercial and community focal points. Their initiatives encompass bolstering retail, business, culture, and residential sectors while championing each town centre's uniqueness. Collaborative efforts drive regeneration in Walthamstow, alongside strategic planning for new centres and health evaluations to foster development. A focus on individuality underscores their promotion of vibrant centres with a cultural flair. Through grants and proactive measures like pop-up shop guidelines and policy reviews, they ensure adaptive growth. Moreover, they prioritize community engagement, safety, and sustainability to create inclusive and thriving town centres.

Explore Town Centre Activities

  1. Blackhorse Lane
  2. Chingford and Chingford Mount
  3. Highams Park
  4. Lea Bridge and Leyton
  5. Walthamstow
  6. Wood Street
  7. Leytonstone

Blackhorse Lane regeneration

Blackhorse Lane, situated within Waltham Forest's western boundary, has emerged as a focal point for growth, particularly in the creative and industrial sectors. Recognized as a Creative Enterprise Zone and a Housing Zone by the Greater London Authority, it has garnered attention for its cluster of creative businesses and industrial heritage. The Blackhorse Lane Area Action Plan (AAP), initiated in 2015, outlines ambitious goals for housing and job creation by 2026, aiming to accommodate 2,500 new homes and 1,000 jobs. This plan is set to be replaced by a new Local Plan, currently in preparation.

The transformation of Blackhorse Lane encompasses social, economic, and environmental aspects, with emphasis placed on sustainable development and community involvement. The area's manufacturing legacy has paved the way for a burgeoning creative industry, attracting makers, artists, and small-scale manufacturers drawn to the area's affordable workspaces. Dubbed 'The Blackhorse Beer Mile,' it has also become a hub for breweries.

Recent developments include the completion of the Blackhorse Strategic Industrial Location (SIL) Framework in collaboration with the Greater London Authority, aimed at providing space for local businesses, housing, and leisure facilities. Blackhorse Lane's accreditation as a Creative Enterprise Zone in 2023 further underscores its significance as a cultural and economic hub. The Blackhorse Collective, spearheaded by Waltham Forest Council, is designed to foster creative growth by ensuring affordable workspaces, offering business support, and facilitating connections with the local workforce.

Plans for the Uplands Business Park signify continued growth, with proposals for an industrial-led mixed-use redevelopment aimed at delivering high-quality housing, job opportunities, and increased industrial floor space. This initiative expands affordable workspace and supports existing businesses within the Blackhorse Creative Enterprise Zone. Overall, Blackhorse Lane's trajectory reflects a concerted effort to harness its potential for sustainable growth while preserving its unique character and heritage.

North Chingford

North Chingford is a vibrant town centre which forms a gateway to the enchanting and ancient Epping Forest. The area is well-connected with good public transport links with the Overground line that runs to Walthamstow, Wood Street, Hackney and on to Liverpool Street, as well as buses that run to Essex and Hertfordshire. 

Chingford Mount 

Chingford Mount is a vibrant and varied town centre with a unique history and heritage, and a good shopping and hospitality offer. 

In March 2023, Waltham Forest was awarded £8.4m of Levelling Up Funds for Chingford Mount and Highams Park, to improve the main public spaces with planting, lighting, wayfinding and invest in three parks in the area, Memorial Park, Chase Lane Park and Rolls Park to provide new sports, leisure and play facilities as well as new flood mitigation and planting. 

The Council have carried out two phases of public engagement on the Chingford Mount Area Framework. This has helped us to develop an Area Framework which sets out the principles and aspirations of the local community and the development and investment opportunities that will help us to deliver on these objectives. 

The Chingford Mount Framework creates a vision for the area over the next 15 years to promote regeneration and encourage investment to secure the long-term success of the town centre. A key element of this is to enhance the public space at Albert Crescent to better connect it to the high street and reaffirm it as the heart of Chingford Mount. 

See more about the Chingford Mount Framework on the Commonplace Platform.

In 2021, we turned a shop front into a community space called 228 Chingford Mount which hosts a programme of small businesses, community events, activities for young people and exhibitions and local engagement sessions. 

Discover more about events and activities in Chingford Mount.

Highams Park

Highams Park is a small district centre with access to the Overground network and home to a range of small independent retailers as well as a large Tesco supermarket and associated mixed-use development.

We have secured £100,000 New Homes Bonus (top-slice) funding from the GLA for improvements to shop fronts and installation of an artwork in the centre of Highams Park. Alongside this we’re working with local groups on the preparation of a neighbourhood plan, potential improvements to the local park and proposals to reopen the Regal Cinema.

Lea Bridge and Leyton (Lea Valley Eastside) regeneration


Lea Bridge

Lea Bridge sits in the south-west of the borough. The area has an active and diverse community as well as a strong history, and is characterised by its mix of waterways and green spaces including the Lee Valley Regional Park, Dagenham Brook, and the River Lea. It is also known well for its industrial land, eclectic range of businesses, and residential areas. The Argall industrial area initiative spearheaded the creation of The Argall industrial area map, aimed at enhancing the exposure of local companies. Visit the directory to find out more.




Leyton is an important town centre and home to a vibrant and diverse community.  

The Council helps businesses to run quarterly Francis Road Lates, an evening event where businesses along the road will be open for later than usual, so residents have more time to shop and spend time in the area.

The Council have recently been engaging with the community on The Leyton Mills Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which helps to inform planning guidance in the local area. The Leyton Mills area includes the New Spitalfields Market, Temple Mills bus depot, Leyton Mills Retail Park and Eton Manor in the Queen Elizabeth Park. The document will ensure that the sites that make up the Leyton Mills area are developed in a joined-up way.  

Visit the Let's Talk website to find out more about the Leyton Mills SPD.

Walthamstow regeneration

Walthamstow is the largest town centre and at the heart of the borough, both geographically and economically, it boasts a diverse community, excellent public transport links to central London and provides homes, employment, retail, services and leisure opportunities. It is the borough's main commercial centre, driving the economy and attracting visitors, and has been identified as a key growth area for the borough. 

Walthamstow has over 500 existing shops, including in 17&Central shopping centre, along the High Street, Hoe Street and St James Street. The High Street is also home to one of the country’s longest street markets, with over 350 pitches, stretching from the Town Square to St James Street and serving the diverse community that lives in or visits Walthamstow.  

Walthamstow has seen some exciting changes over the last few years. 

Key sites developed include council scheme The Scene, a complex with a three-screen cinema, restaurants and new homes, Central Parade with Today Bread café, on-site bakery and business incubator units, Crate St James creative enterprise hub on a former car park site, and purchase and refurbishment of the former EMD Granada Cinema, which is currently under construction and due to re-open as Soho Theatre Walthamstow, a 950-seater comedy, theatre and music venue and cultural hub managed by Soho Theatre.  

In addition, in 2016/17 the council invested in improving public spaces and shop fronts at both ends of the High Street and along Hoe Street, including the St James Street conservation area with Heritage Lottery Funding support to improve 50 shopfronts and streetscape improvements.   

In January 2023, Waltham Forest was awarded £17.2m of Levelling Up funding to deliver improvements in Hoe Street, along the High Street and in St James Quarter to give a boost to what is becoming a thriving cultural quarter. 

Investment in heritage assets in Walthamstow includes the refurbishment of key council-owned buildings including Central Parade, Hatherley Mews, Chestnuts House and Vestry House Museum to improve their accessibility and inclusivity. 


Walthamstow Night-time Enterprise Zone (NTEZ)

In December 2019, Walthamstow Night-time Enterprise Zone (NTEZ) Walthamstow NTEZ was launched with support from the GLA, with a series of exciting free events taking place along the High Street.  An exciting partnership between with local artists and businesses who hosted activities in their premises during the evening and into the night was curated by Artillery, Walthamstow-based arts development organisation. 

The success of the High Street ADVENTures event was built on with a fantastic second event in December 2021 and launch of the Walthamstow Nighttime Enterprise Zone business toolkit which supports businesses with the practicalities of opening later into the evening. 

Wood Street regeneration

Wood Street is a unique small town centre which has become a location for small independent businesses, particularly more niche and boutique retailers and places to eat and drink. It is home to a growing arts scene, including the work and new studio base for Wood Street Walls. It sits comfortably as a distinct and separate centre from Walthamstow and Leytonstone, but with clear connections to arts and creative activity that is seen in both of these places, as well as in Blackhorse Lane.  

The Marlowe Road estate regeneration project, Feature 17 is a major development with new homes, shops and play space at the heart of the town centre delivered by Countryside Properties working in partnership with the council. 

Leytonstone regeneration



Leytonstone stands as Waltham Forest's second-largest town centre, boasting a diverse community amidst the verdant backdrop of Epping Forest. Its strategic location is complemented by excellent transport links, including the Central line and Overground, fostering connectivity and accessibility. The area thrives with independent shops, artisans, and eateries, buoyed by the collaborative efforts of the Leytonstone Town Team and the Council's support through event promotions.

The Council's draft Leytonstone Town Centre Framework outlines a vision for sustainable development and accessibility over the next 15 years, reflecting local aspirations gleaned from community engagement. Emphasizing sustainable practices, the plan targets investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, green spaces, and climate change mitigation around transport hubs.


South Leytonstone

South Leytonstone, encompassing Cann Hall and Cathall Wards, serves as a vital gateway into Waltham Forest. Lined with eclectic independent businesses, Leytonstone High Road links the neighbourhood to neighbouring areas, bolstered by Leytonstone High Road Overground and upcoming Crossrail stations, promising enhanced connectivity to Central London.

Community engagement has shaped the South Leytonstone Area Framework, with residents advocating for increased greening along Leytonstone High Road. Initiatives like the Toy Library in Langthorne Park Pavilion and improvements in Jubilee Garden underscore the community's commitment to enhancing public spaces and fostering a sense of safety and belonging.

Future endeavours include installing artwork funded by developers and the revival of the Langthorne Park Community Festival, showcasing collaborative efforts between local community and faith groups. These initiatives underscore Leytonstone's vibrant spirit and commitment to fostering a thriving and inclusive community for residents and visitors alike.

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