A multi-million pound plan to transform an area around reservoirs, including the conversion of a listed engine house into a visitor centre, have been approved.

The £6.5m Walthamstow Wetlands project has been given the green light this evening following a design and consultation process which began more than two years ago.

Waltham Forest council's planning committee has agreed for the building to be converted into a visitors centre, with a cafe, exhibition space and a network of walkways.

The listed Coppermill Bridge will have a viewing platform built on it.

A 72-space car park will be cretaed, with further spaces for bicycles.

An objection to the project from Natural England was withdrawn, although residents voiced concerns over a lack of consultation.

Waltham Forest resident Katy Andrews spoke on behalf of the landlady at a nearby pub.

She said: “There has been a lack of consultation with the Ferry Boat Inn, which is both a business and a residential premises.

“The car park there is going to look very attractive to people who want to avoid paying for a parking ticket.”

Residents from Coppermill Lane and Waterside, which are the closest homes to the development, also criticised the lack of consultation, but said that they were looking forward to the development.

Peter Ellis-Jones said: “Our main concern is the lack of consultation. “We are delighted that the public will be able to come and share this wonderful land with us but we are concerned about security.

“Five or six houses have been broken into in recent years and now there are going to be four more access routes onto the site.

“We have a strong desire to be involved in the next phases of the project.”

The 'Water and Life Centre' project, designed by council architects, has been supported and part-funded by Thames Water.

Committee members said they welcomed the plans, which will see an estimated 250,000 visitors on the site annually.

The transformation is expected to take two years.