The planning committee at Waltham Forest Council will consider plans to turn the Walthamstow Marine Engine House into a visitor centre and café

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: 2012 - Waltham Forest Council Chief Executive Martin Esom, Bob Neil MP, Thames Water Chief Executive Martin Baggs and council leader Cllr Chris Robbins at the launch announcement of the plans last year. 2012 - Waltham Forest Council Chief Executive Martin Esom, Bob Neil MP, Thames Water Chief Executive Martin Baggs and council leader Cllr Chris Robbins at the launch announcement of the plans last year.

A decision on a multi-million pound plan to convert a listed building into a visitor centre will be made tomorrow night.

The ‘Walthamstow Wetlands’ project is aimed at attracting visitors to reservoirs between Tottenham and Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow.

Waltham Forest council's planning committee will decide on whether to allow the Marine Engine House in Walthamstow to be converted into a visitors centre, with a café, a play area, a viewing platform and walkways.

Plans also include a 72-space car park and 40 cycle spaces.

The ‘Water and Life Centre’ project, which had an initial estimated cost of £10m, was scaled back in 2012.

The design process and land surveys cost £288,000, paid for with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thames Water has pledged £1.5m for the project.

Natural England has objected to the proposal on the grounds not enough information has been provided on the impact that the site will have.

It also complained about disturbance to wildlife.

The Marine Engine House was built in 1894 and extended in 1908.

It is composed of a turbine room, central boiler room and triple engine room but has not been used since the 1980s.

The plans include converting the turbine room into a learning space.

The the boiler room will become a shop and exhibition area, while the café will be created in the triple engine room.

The Coppermill Tower will provide a viewing platform for visitors and a rangers building will be upgraded for management.

Plans are behind schedule after rows between Thames Water and Waltham Forest Council over which contractor to use, the lease and cycle lanes.

If approved the transformation is expected to take two years.

Comments (2)

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8:17pm Mon 2 Jun 14

BlokeOnTheBus says...

So this is going to Planning Committee before its impact on wildlife has been properly assessed. Why does that not surprise me? The existing LVRPA Visitor Centre on Lea Bridge Road is hardly buzzing with activity, so why does anyone think this proposed new one will be a "recreation hotspot"? £6.5 million is a lot of money for a white elephant. A 72-space car park and 40 cycle spaces will certainly have an impact on the area and I wonder how often they will be in use? However, the decision will have been made before the Planning Committee meets and any questions I, or Natural England or anyone else may have will be swept aside, as the totally justifiable opposition to the infamous basketball building was.
So this is going to Planning Committee before its impact on wildlife has been properly assessed. Why does that not surprise me? The existing LVRPA Visitor Centre on Lea Bridge Road is hardly buzzing with activity, so why does anyone think this proposed new one will be a "recreation hotspot"? £6.5 million is a lot of money for a white elephant. A 72-space car park and 40 cycle spaces will certainly have an impact on the area and I wonder how often they will be in use? However, the decision will have been made before the Planning Committee meets and any questions I, or Natural England or anyone else may have will be swept aside, as the totally justifiable opposition to the infamous basketball building was. BlokeOnTheBus
  • Score: 4

2:11pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Sam Hain says...

White men in suits obviously not an endangered species!
White men in suits obviously not an endangered species! Sam Hain
  • Score: 3

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