Lake flood defence plan to protect high risk homes revealed (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Lake flood defence plan to protect high risk homes in Highams Park revealed
Detaiiled plans to protect homes with new flood defences at a lake have been revealed, but there is still no agreement on how boats will access the water from a historic boathouse on the site.
The £1.8 million scheme to replace outdated defences at Highams Park Lake while retaining the Michael Mallinson Scouts Centre, which is used by hundreds of young people, is still awaiting approval.
Landowner City of London Corporation presented a scheme to replace outdated defences which render nearby homes at high risk of flooding, at a meeting last night.
But it emerged that there is currently no clear understanding of how boats used by scouts will access the lake.
Under the proposal the existing dam will be reinforced by embedding a textile underneath the soil and grass behind a footpath to contain overflow and prevent erosion which could cause flooding.
A small car park will be removed to make the changes and replaced with grass and shrubs.
The boathouse was initially threatened by the need for the work, but a plan to retain it involves building a 1.2m wall.
However, the scouts are still in the dark on how boats can be transported directly to the landing stage.
Ian Handley, of Waltham Forest South Scouts District, said he is working closely with the corporation to find a solution.
He added: "Idealistically there was no other alternative for us. If the boathouse was destroyed, we would have found it incredibly hard to get planning permission for a new build on forest land and would have needed £400,000 to fund it.
"At the moment there is no understanding of how the boats will access the water but we are working with planners to find a solution."
Senior engineer Benjamin Rostaing also claimed there was no viable alternative to the plan.
He said: "The current car park is small as it is and with the dam enforcement works, it would encroach into the car park so much so there would be no space to manoveaure.
"A new footpath has been designed along the outskirts of the entrance to the lake and by having a car park will space for a maximum of two cars, visitors will cut across the spillway section causing erosion and defeating the object."
During the works, 12 trees situated on the spillway will be cut down and the same number planted nearby.
Waltham Forest Council is yet to approve the proposal, but the Environment Agency insist the work must start by April 8.