A new cycleway, gyratory and interchange have been officially launched by the council as part of a £30 million transformation of the borough.

Waltham Forest Council officially celebrated the opening of a new eight-kilometre cycleway in Lead Bridge Road, the new Walthamstow Gyratory and Whipps Cross Interchange on October 17.

The deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander joined council officials for the opening, part of the Mayor of London’s £2.3 billion investment in ‘healthy streets.’

Whipps Cross roundabout has been transformed with a new public space, pedestrian crossings, segregated cycle lanes and dedicated bus lanes.

The land was originally part of Epping Forest before its dedication as a highway in 1939.

The new design has enabled 1,800 square metres of former road space to be returned to Epping Forest.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, said: “We are thrilled to see the return of Forest Land as a result of these improvements. Epping Forest plays a crucial role for Londoners, providing millions of people with access to open spaces, nature, and sport facilities for health, wellbeing and enjoyment.

“We hope that the enhancements across the borough will bring even more opportunities for residents to explore and enjoy this ancient woodland.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Will Norman and Heidi Alexander scatter seeds on the land that used to be road and is now being returned to Epping Forest, helped by pupils from Forest School in Leytonstone

Waltham Forest Council also celebrated the completion of an eight-kilometre segregated cycle route along Lea Bridge Road – Cycleway 23.

It runs from the Waltham Forest boundary with Hackney to Whipps Cross.

The new cycleway has seen a 120 per cent increase in cycling trips on the route from July 2016 to July 2019.

It will be extended even further from Whipps Cross up Woodford New Road towards Redbridge, with work due to begin before Christmas.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Our vision for the borough all along has been to create a place where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised and can feel safe using the roads whether they are aged 8 or 80.”

Gareth Powell, managing director of Surface Transport for TfL, added: “It is fantastic to see the transformation of Waltham Forest to place where people feel safe to walk, cycle and play almost complete.”

Walthamstow Gyratory has also been transformed.

A bridge over the railway was constructed creating a new public space, improved access to the bus station and segregated cycle lanes leading up to the junction with Selborne Road.

Heidi Alexander, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “It is essential that we get more Londoners walking and cycling as part of their everyday routine, and overhauling our roads to make them safer is a key part of this.

“I’m delighted that the transformation across Waltham Forest is already having a big impact – reducing car use, increasing walking and cycling, and improving air quality and life expectancy.”