St James Street arches to be reimagined

St James Quarter artistic interpretation of what it could look like. St James Street station with people walking next to the arches which are open with cafes and businesses
Published: 28 May 2024
Filed under: Regeneration and Housing

Above: an artistic impression of what the St James Quarter could look like. Image credit: Feix&Merlin.

Waltham Forest Council has appointed architects Feix&Merlin, Extended Studio and a wider consultant team to reimagine a series of railway arches and public spaces at Courtenay Place, part of the new St James Quarter surrounding St James Street station in Walthamstow. 

The project is part of a wider Levelling Up Funding programme of investment to make Walthamstow a welcoming cultural destination.

St James Quarter is a key regeneration area in Walthamstow including Courtenay Place, an existing TfL transport hub with an interchange between the bus stand and the St James St station. 

The aims for Courtenay Place are to develop a green link between St James Quarter and Walthamstow High Street including a new pocket square, activation of existing railway arches, as well as other improvements to public spaces. The feasibility of opening the arches will be reviewed by carrying out the first phase of surveys. 

The scheme aims to: 

  • Open currently closed off spaces for example reviewing physical barriers and unfriendly security fencing, overgrown shrubs, and soil (some of which can be reused in new planting on site) and opening new access routes and activating edge spaces to make people feel safer.
  • Make improvements to public spaces, including new lighting, signage, art projects, and landscape design creating a new biodiverse and community-focused identity to the place.
  • Refurbish arches to activate the site with new business opportunities and social activities breathing new life into the spaces.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration Councillor Ahsan Khan said: “Making Waltham Forest a better place for residents is at the heart of everything we do. We are creating a thriving and welcoming cultural destination in the St James Quarter, and we are pleased that architects Feix&Merlin and Extended Studio can come with us on this journey to help us deliver our vision through the Levelling Up programme that will provide more green spaces and attract more visitors to the town centre, bringing an important boost for the local economy.”

Julia Feix & Tarek Merlin from Feix&Merlin said: “We were delighted to get a place on the Mayor’s A+U Framework, and when we saw this opportunity come up, we jumped at the chance as it seemed perfect for us, and a natural collaboration with Extended Studio. We love to work on this kind of community regeneration project, and we saw a strong and pioneering vision from the council team at Waltham Forest. A shared aim to take what is a slightly forgotten backland space and transform this into new exciting and activated place, forging connections back into the lively high street and St James St station.” 

Tom Sykes, Director of Extended Studio said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with F&M, and Waltham Forest, on this project – it’s a real chance to bring life to a piece of unused infrastructure, and create new, flexible and inspiring spaces for local businesses and communities.”