Video: 'Mini Holland' Comes To Walthamstow

Geoff Marshall
By Geoff Marshall Last edited 34 months ago
Video: 'Mini Holland' Comes To Walthamstow

It's not every day that a part of London is twinned with a communist state, but in Walthamstow — and in the residential backstreets and local shops of Walthamstow village — that's what's happened. "Twinned with North Korea", says a makeshift poster in the window of one local business.

The poster's talking about a new scheme, taking place in three London boroughs — Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest — which takes £30m of investment from Transport for London to create 'mini Hollands'. This is where roads are cut off to prevent drivers using them as 'rat run' shortcuts and arguably making them safer places for people to be, opening up these same roads and pavements to cyclists, families with children and generally creating a calmer atmosphere on the streets.

So what does mini Holland look like in E17? We went and spoke to Simon Munk, a local campaigner who's very much in favour of the scheme, but who was also even handed enough to acknowledge that there are those who aren't happy with it either.

Sixty people turned out to protest last week at the official unveiling on completion of the works, and then paraded down the village with a coffin and the sign "In loving memory of our village 1815-2015". And while we were out making this video, we were interuppted by a gentleman who complained that there have been "more car accidents" since the works were carried out. Simon tells us he thinks he just meant a few more clipped wing-mirrors, where cars have yet to get used to the new dead-ends and they've had to reverse their way out of a tight spot.

Last Updated 23 September 2015


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Clive Durdle

Has there been an effect on house prices there?

Andy Brice

It strikes me that these things are fairly easy to prototype. You can always temporarily block off a road for a few months, then ask residents how they feel after they've got used to it.

Born in E11

You cant Polish a Turd
Leytonstone, Leyton & walthamstow are Dumps.
Having been bought up & schooled in all 3, I have seen the gradual decline mainly because of Rd closures.
Look at the state of Leytonstone High Rd, we used to have
Bearmans, Granada Cinema, Bowling alleys, etc
Now we have coffee & Mob phone shops.

Greg Tingey

Well, the shops shown in the video are where I go, from home all of 300 metres away.
I'm a cyclist.
I'm against the scheme.
It does nothing at all for cyclists & disabled people can no longer get to the village, because ... taxis can't get in.
Brilliant - not


Just the other day a cyclist was speeding, took a turn without looking and bumped right into the middle of my car. I had stopped way earlier because I saw him,taking the turn. Also I got out of him was that he guessed it was his fault.
A cyclist went into a 212 bus and people had to lift the bus off him, he told the police that he didn't see the Bus.

Do we need to to make streets safer from cyclists, seems like that. The journalist should go on Hoe street to see the congestion and pollution and extra fuel cost that families in walthamstow have to bear.

Simon Munk is indirectly suggesting people should move out if they don't like it here, as new people wont have any issues with the scheme, well my family is in Walthamstow for last fifty years, Really should we move?


Oh wow! That looks so clean and fresh. I'd give anything for the same to be done to our Village here in Dorset. My residential road is a rat run for cars avoiding the traffic lights and to avoid having to use the main road. It's supposed to be 30mph but they drive at at least 10mph over the limit. Our Christchurch council haven't even created any 20mph res roads in our village even though we are all crying out for it.

Those against that scheme are so going to eat their words in a while when the businesses see their profits rise by about 25%. Their kids will be brought up in a cleaner and safer area and maybe get off their ipads and such and get out and play instead of being forced to play indoors. Living in an area like that is going to put years of healthy living on people's lives.

The few people complaining just don't know how lucky they are to have been picked for the scheme. They are also very selfish and not thinking of the health and welfare of their children, simply because they are being slightly put out as to where they can drive and park their cars.

I think they should also take a look on Youtube and search for Videos on The Netherlands where the whole of The Netherlands is as Waltham Forest is beginning to be. Slowly over the next 20 or so years hopefully the whole of the UK will be like that and I can't wait to see it.


Three days ago I witnessed a London Ambulance Service car on an emergency response call (blue lights and sirens) trying to drive down East Avenue, and then West Avenue to access the village. The car then had to divert a long distance to find an alternative route. Although I'm all in favour of cutting through traffic (where the majority of car users drive too fast and dangerously in that area), has there been sufficient planning with the emergency services for the introduction of this scheme? Those particular road closures have been in place for a while now. Also, can't the wooden bollards that block the traffic on these roads be versions that can be automatically lowered for the emergency services? There are many similar devices in operation elsewhere in the country (often used for buses to gain access).


Only a couple of years ago I was seeing Walthamstow as a s*****e, but wow the whole area has been on the up. The 2012 Olympics, the 'villagisation', the new shops and creative culture, and we got that old vibe from the Market back! Not to mention the brave community when they all lifted up a 212 double decker bus to save a cyclist underneath. The future is looking bright for Awesomestow.


The hope is, that cyclists who ride on pavements, ignore road signs and traffic lights, have little regard for pedestrians, are subject to road tax to pay towards this pricey scheme that TFL is ladling out bags of money to 'selected boroughs'. I saw the video and 'praise' was given to the presenter who showed both sides, all he showed was a few shops in Orford Road protesting about possible loss of business, didn't show the yuppies clapping their hand together with how much their homes will be worth.Where will they park their cars when Councillor Robbins says he wants CPZ all over the Borough in any case, lost 2 votes in this house now (he's my local Councillor and doesn't give a fig)

Any chance Waltham Forest will spend some of that money repairing the roads in Leytonstone?


Maybe we should close all ROADS to cars, how dare cars use them.
All you are doing is creating more traffic on Lea Bridge Rd, Hoe St and different residential roads in the area, but as long as you can't see it and your house goes up in value you don't care.Also any shop / business in the scheme will get less custom as there will be much less passing trade.
Bunch of boring middle class Johnny come latelys!


Well I don't visit the shops there now as I used to as I can't drive past them anymore.
Also how is this about cycling or Holland?
This has little or nothing to do with it. In Holland they have a comprehensive network of cycle lanes and tramlines that are completely separate from the road. Completely different culture that has nothing to with closing off gentrified bits of cities for the benefit of the residents only.
Do you suggest that all backstreets all over the country should now be closed off to cars, how would that work?
I have to drive to work as otherwise it would take me well over an hour on the tube rather than the 30-40 mins it takes to drive.


.....oh and the traffic in all surrounding areas has got a lot worse lately!


Mini Holland is fast becoming a prime topic for Great Bores of Today.

Parts of Walthamstow Village should have been pedestrianised aeons ago, and a more sensible one-way system designed to circumvent them. Narrow streets, millions of mums with prams, cyclists etc - these shouldn't *be* through roads.

In some other European cities with ancient villages - Nice for example - electronic bollards with card and security agent access control traffic through pedestrian areas, allowing tradespeople and emergency services through when necessary.


I 'ad that Lance Armstrong in the back of my cab once.