Following a competitive tender, the London Borough of Waltham Forest has entered into an agreement with Morrisons and Willmott Dixon to develop a 1.5 hectare site in Walthamstow town centre that is currently a council-owned car park and industrial area.

The new mixed-use scheme, which represents a capital investment of over £65 million, will regenerate a strategic part of Walthamstow and create over 500 jobs for local people. The development project will include a 75,000 sq ft modern Morrisons foodstore, a further 30,000 sq ft of non-food retail units plus over 230 one to four bed apartments (over half of which will be affordable) located above the store.

The regeneration by Morrisons and Willmott Dixon of the site on South Grove, to the south west of Walthamstow High Street and adjacent to the St James Street railway station, will provide a major source of inward investment to Walthamstow, with 350 of job opportunities generated by Morrisons alone.

The project will see a new community square, a green living wall and space for public art. The proposals will also include new pedestrian and cycle links to improve connections to the town centre together with significant contributions to local transport infrastructure, providing greater accessibility in and around the site for residents, visitors and local workers.

Richard Haynes, development executive at Morrisons said: “This is another rung on the ladder for Morrisons’ expansion in London and the South East, a key area for the 800,000 sq ft of additional sales we plan to open across the country in 2012. We will be making a significant investment in a new foodstore as well as delivering new homes and real employment opportunities for local people.

“We are thrilled that Waltham Forest has seen that Morrisons and Willmott Dixon bring a winning formula for the site that will provide tangible benefits and opportunities to Walthamstow. Both our companies are very experienced in delivering quality retail and residential schemes and have a strong commitment to jobs, community and sustainability. We look forward to beginning consultation on the draft plans with the local community soon.”

Andrew Telfer, divisional CEO at Willmott Dixon Regen, the Group’s specialist provider of development and investment in residential and mixed-tenure property, said: “As the UK’s second largest privately owned contractor, support services provider and developer, we are joining forces with one of the UK’s biggest names in retail to create new homes and retail space that will attract more people to work and live in Walthamstow.

“This is a key part of our strategy to use our construction and development expertise to partner with a company like Morrisons with complementary skills that can make large mixed-use developments like this a reality.”

Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Councillor Chris Robbins, said: “One of our key aims as a Council is to regenerate Waltham Forest so that our residents have better streets and more choice when it comes to shopping and leisure opportunities. Large, ambitious schemes like this are exactly what we want to help bring about real change, and I’m delighted major names like Morrisons and Willmott Dixon are onboard to help us make our aspirations a reality.

“As well as offering our residents more choice we also want to bring more people in to boost the local economy. We’re ideally placed with a tube station and three overground lines on our doorstep, so hopefully shoppers from outside the borough will be encouraged to stop by and experience more of the borough, whether it’s visiting Walthamstow’s historic street market or the soon-to-be refurbished William Morris Gallery or simply stopping off to sample the culinary delights of Walthamstow Village.”

The South Grove scheme is fully in accordance with the London Plan, exceeding its requirements for carbon reduction by achieving a 25 per cent reduction compared to 2010 Building Regulations. In addition to avoiding and reducing emissions, low or zero carbon energy systems, such as a combined heat and power system, will be introduced.

Although known as a major contractor, Willmott Dixon also has a significant development expertise and ambition to create a number of mixed-use sites which will provide residential, retail, leisure and commercial accommodation. It is also firmly committed to sustainable development and is one of the few companies in its sector to appear in the Sunday Times Best Green Companies list for the past three years. Its ‘green’ aspirations also include aiming to be carbon neutral and sending zero waste to landfill by 2012 and it’s on track to divert 95 per cent of construction waste away from landfill in 2011.

Morrisons and Willmott Dixon will begin consultation on the draft plans later this year before submitting a planning application in 2012. If planning permission is granted by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the new Morrisons and new homes could be available in 2015.