Walthamstow Wetlands, a plan to open the Walthamstow water treatment works – Londons largest man-made body of water – as a nature reserve and wetland centre has won grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The £10m Wetlands plans have secured initial funding of £364,000 to pay for design and feasibility work. However, reports in the Waltham Forest Guardian suggest the overall scale of the project may be reduced.
A council spokesperson told the Guardian: “Through discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and partners, the scheme has been modified to deliver a more modest exhibition, which is more in keeping with the quality of the site as a nature reserve.”
Council leader Cllr Chris Robbins said: “We’ve cleared a significant hurdle in getting through the first round of the bid. All being well we will have access to a further £3.4m funding from the Heritage Lottery after the second round bid.”
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.”
Martin Baggs, Chief Executive of Thames Water said, “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.