Walthamstow Wetlands wins!
27 June 2012 in Waltham Forest News
The £6.5 million Walthamstow Wetlands project took a major step forward this week with the announcement that the scheme has secured Heritage Lottery Funding support.
The project will open Walthamstow Reservoirs to the public, transforming the 200 hectare site into London’s largest urban wetland nature reserve.
“We’ve cleared a significant hurdle in getting through the first round of the bid,” said Waltham Forest Council Leader Chris Robbins. “We can now draw down £288,000 to work up detailed plans and survey work for the site.
“It’s a real shot in the arm for the project, and all being well we will have access to a further £3.4m funding from the Heritage Lottery after the second round bid.”
The project has been supported throughout by owners of Walthamstow Reservoirs, Thames Water, who have committed funding of £1.5m.
Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, said, “We are delighted to give our initial support for these impressive plans that will help uncover Walthamstow Wetlands – a truly hidden part of London’s natural heritage.
“Opening the site up to more people and encouraging them to learn about and enjoy this green oasis in the heart of North East London is a great use of Heritage Lottery Fund money. We are looking forward to seeing these plans progress over the coming months.”
Martin Baggs, Chief Executive of Thames Water said, “I am absolutely delighted with the support that Heritage Lottery has shown the project by awarding this grant as this will give an opportunity for Londoners to enjoy the amazing habitat that exists in the heart of this urban landscape.
“There is a huge opportunity here to improve the environmental, recreational and educational potential of our Walthamstow Reservoirs and provide public access to nature.”
Walthamstow Wetlands won the 2012 London Planning Awards Best Conceptual Project. As well as a ‘Water and Life’ visitor centre in a renovated pumping station, there will be a café overlooking the reservoirs, improved habitats and biodiversity, nature trails and a three kilometre cycle route through the site.
Recently dubbed “London’s best kept secret” by the Mayor of London, the site borders Waltham Forest, Haringey and Hackney and its proximity to the Olympic Park will tie it to the other facilities in the area providing a legacy from the 2012 Games.
Over 300,000 people live within two miles of the site, which is located only minutes walk from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Lane stations, enabling access by public transport from across north east London.
Notes for Editors:
- Created by the Victorians, the 200 hectare site is one of the biggest sources of supply for London’s drinking water and as well as an impressive landscape in the heart of north east London, is the largest fishery in the city and a site of international importance for the abundance of wildlife that it supports
- Improvement works will include restoration of the disused Marine Engine House as a ‘Water and Life’ visitor centre and educational resource, a café and an outdoor space for learning
- Public access will be improved, including cycle routes, reconnecting the site with surrounding communities and the Olympic Park
- Environmental improvements will aid biodiversity and wildlife habitats
- There will be educational programmes, heritage walks and an annual river festival
- The Wetlands industrial past will be showcased, highlighting a history of industrial innovation that supplied energy, water and goods to support the growth of London
- Walthamstow Wetlands will play an integral role in the transformation and renewal of this part of the Lee Valley helping to attract investment to support regeneration of Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Lane and the North Olympic Fringe area
- The project will build on the existing successful fishery and related activities, by improving facilities and amenities for anglers
- *A first-round pass/initial support means the project meets our criteria for funding and we believe it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award. On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme
- Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating £4.9billion across the UK