FEARS have been raised that a library could be downgraded under proposals for the mass development of the Wood Street area of Walthamstow.

Plans have unexpectedly gone on display detailing how the area could be transformed over the next decade. They include a proposal to change the use of the Wood Street library building and relocate the service.

The Thorpe Coombe Hospital site nearby is also earmarked for family housing, alongside a new unspecified healthcare facility.

Health bosses have already admitted that the future of Forest House, a psychotherapy clinic on the site, is under review.

Willow House, the headquarters of council house manager Ascham Homes, could also be demolished to build flats.

Other sites earmarked for redevelopment are the Clocktower square on the corner of Wood Street and Forest Road, the dairy milk float centre in Wood Street, industrial space in Vallentin Road, the Brandon Road car park, Cedar Wood House in Fulbourne Road and land around Lucerne Grove.

Waltham Forest Council insists no decisions have been made, but critics have questioned the timing of the plans going on display, while others fear further cuts to the library service.

The proposals, which include artists’ impressions of housing developments, went on display last week and will be removed on January 3, although further consultation events are promised.

Adrian Stannard, of the Waltham Forest Civic Society, declined to comment on the proposals until he has seen them but criticised the lack of notice.

He said: “It’s absurd that they have put this display up seemingly without telling anyone and over the Christmas holidays.”

Unison activist Nancy Taaffe used to work at Wood Street Library, but was made redundant as a result of council cuts.

She said: “At the moment the council say it’s only an option to close and relocate the library, probably to a shop, but you can bet that’s what they are planning and will do.”

A council spokesman denied Ms Taaffe’s claim it was “dismantling” the library service.

He said the borough’s revamped Library Plus branches “will represent better value and more choice for local people”.

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