Community groups welcome decision to save historic boathouse (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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The watersports centre looks set to be saved from demolition after a new building plan is devised
Campaigners who fought to save a historic boathouse from demolition have welcomed the news it is set to be saved.
The Michael Mallinson Scouts Centre at Highams Park Lake, off Charter Road, was set to be torn down as the Corporation of London carried out work to reinforce a dam at the lake which was deemed at ‘high risk’ of flooding.
The Corporation submitted a planning application to Waltham Forest Council on February 7 outlining design plans to improve the safety of the dam without the need to remove the boathouse.
Ian Handley, of Waltham Forest South Scouts District, has worked closely with the corporation over the past 18 months.
He said: "This is fantastic news that the buildings are to be retained as a watersports centre and that a suitable alternative solution has been agreed.
"With the help of the local community and our local MP we’ve been able to raise the profile of the plight of the boathouse, lake and adjacent park.
"We are now looking forward to working together with all the concerned parties for the enhancement of the area once the building works are complete."
Chingford and Woodford MP Iain Duncan Smith met with scout leaders and community groups in November to support their plans for a new boathouse.
He said: "I welcome this as it is great news for all those that have worked hard together.
"It is good to see a plan come together and people are at their best when they work collectively."
Phil Slaney, of community groups Highams Park Forum and Friends of Highams Park, welcomed the news but claims the boathouse fails to meet community needs.
“It’s good news but the facility does not satisfy our needs for a community centre with toilet and refreshment facilities.
"Also the plans do not provide any car parking for visitors when the existing car park is removed and the new dam gives no indication how the boats and canoes will be launched on the lake."
An event outlining the Corporation’s plans will take place on Monday at Joseph Clarke School in Highams Park between 4:30pm and 8pm.