Park keepers have been criticised for allowing a stream to become "bunged up" and in "dire in need of surgery".

Douglas Went has been visiting Cornmill Stream in Waltham Abbey since he was a child.

In recent years however, the Cowper Gardens, Southgate resident has become dismayed at its state.

He said: "As it is today the Cornmill Stream is in reality no longer a stream, it is totally bunged up and in dire need of surgery.

"At a guess I would say that in two years time one will be able walk across bank to bank and not get wet feet.

"The rapid decline in this particular streams health is a crime against nature, rivers and streams need to be tended to and not left abandoned.

"The Lea Valley Park authorities should be ashamed of themselves just sitting back watching this once lovely stream suffocate to death."

Mr Went claims to remember the stream 65 years ago when river patrol wardens kept the tributaries in check by dredging out the silt and cutting back the bank growth.

He added: "In its prime the stream was once a haven for anglers young and old to enjoy a relaxing day out.

"It is now totally un-fishable and as for the fish, I shudder to think how they are coping trying to survive in such an environmental nightmare."

As it currently flows, the stream's river is not visible through the heavy layers of algae in which pieces of rubbish, shoes and cones can be seen half-submerged.

A spokesperson for the Lea Valley Parks Authority said: "This is a complicated stretch of water with a complex history.

"We have been removing sections of scrub and carrying out other works to open up the banks to allow light into the river to encourage reed growth and other new vegetation.

"We have had informal conversations with the Environment Agency about improving this stretch of water and would like to work with them on a long term sustainable river restoration project.

"We plan to have more formal discussions on this in the near future as a key target of our emerging Biodiversity Action Plan."