Thousands are backing a campaign to save Leyton Marshes after plans emerged to build homes on the site.

Waltham Forest Council is conducting a public consultation on its Lea Valley Eastside Vision, which includes proposals to develop sites close to the River Lea.

The plans, which would include building at least 2,500 homes in the area over the next 10 years, earmark the waterworks site in Lea Bridge Road as one potential location for housing.

However, the area is currently designated as Metropolitan ‘Open Land’, giving it similar protection to Green Belt sites.

Campaigners have hit back at the proposals and a petition to protect the marshes from development has now reached more than 3,000 signatures.

Abigail Woodman, who started the petition, said: “It is really quite a big bit of land and what is concerning is that is it designated as Metropolitan Open Land.

“Metropolitan Open Land can only be re-zoned in exceptional circumstances and a shortage of housing is not exceptional, it has been going on for years.

“It should be protected. At the moment, it is open for the public to use.

“If it was re-zoned, the land can be sold for development and that sets and extremely dangerous precedent.

“Waltham Forest Council talks about making this a better place to live - why would they not be protecting our green spaces?”

The council is also seeking to release Metropolitan Open Land in order to redevelop the Lea Valley Ice Centre.

This would include the demolition of the current ice centre and the construction of a new, state-of-the art facility.

A council spokesperson said: “The limited release of some Metropolitan Open Land is proposed and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority has an aspiration to develop a major ice centre.

“Although the current ice centre is well used as a sporting facility it is reaching the end of its natural life and struggles to cope with demand.

“Therefore the proposals envisage the replacement of the existing building with a state of the art, dual pad, ice rink.

“It is also recognised that the Park itself could be improved in terms of its accessibility, landscape and ecological value.

“In order to make these things happen some limited residential redevelopment is proposed on part of the WaterWorks Site, and the vision also identifies the Thames Water Site as a potential redevelopment opportunity.

“We recognise that some limited redevelopment of the site could enable a significant part of the land to be returned to greenfield open space use, which would improve this part of the park and upgrade the level of protection it has in planning terms”

The consultation on plans runs until January 31, to take part, visit: