AMBITIOUS plans to transform a town hall campus into a “hub for the whole community” have been passed by a council.

Walthamstow Town Hall site will be home to a new neighbourhood with apartment blocks, retail units and healthcare services. The plans were approved at a cabinet meeting of Waltham Forest Council on Tuesday, June 20.

Council officials will swap their current workplace of outdated prefab cabins on the site in Forest Road, Walthamstow, for a multi-storey office block with an underground carpark.

At least 35 per cent of the 348 homes will be affordable and the area around the fountain in the courtyard will be pedestrianised, becoming an ideal space to hold markets.

The lawns in front of the town hall will be turned into public parks and residents are encouraged to come forward with their views to help shape the designs.

Council leader Clare Coghill said: “We are creating a new ‘beating heart’ for Chapel End Ward.

“At the moment the site is fenced off and people feel they’re not welcome here. They will be very welcome to come and use this new space.”

Nine council offices across the borough will be closed with the land being turned into housing later down the line.

Chief executive at the council Martin Esom described he project as a “win” for local residents.

The council has set aside £3.5 million to cover costs such as temporarily relocating staff to the former Magistrates’ Court site while the town hall is refurbished. The court was closed at the end of last year, with local cases being tried in Stratford instead.

However, the local authority insists the project will remain “cost-neutral” and money will eventually be recouped through capital receipts.

Once the new office block for council workers is complete, the court site will be transformed into apartments with ground floor space for a social hub, modelled on the idea of Central Parade in Hoe Street, Walthamstow.

Cllr Coghill said of the hub: “I think what we learned was to be really confident about the level of determination out there. There are a lot of freelancers and self-employed people and a lot of the time they are staying in their houses and they want a flexible space.”

Plans for the front lawn also include a memorial garden for the victims of the First World War and restoring the existing war memorial to its former glory.

The garden is expected to be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of the end of the war next year.

In August, residents will have the opportunity to have their say before the plans go back to cabinet for final approval early next year. If approved, the council will then submit a planning application.

The entire project is expected to be completed by 2022.