The East London Waterworks Park is an idea conceived by local people. At its heart is a community group that wants to acquire and transform a 5.68-hectare site into a brownfield rainforest offering people the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature.
Currently a fenced-in concrete depot in the middle of a swathe of green space, acquiring the land and building the East London Waterworks Park will reconnect the lower Lea Valley. It will also showcase an environment-first community-led approach to land ownership that will transform the way we think about green spaces. And it will provide space for people to experience a range of activities that will improve physical and mental health and improve biodiversity, including wild swimming in Victorian filter beds and conservation volunteering.
This first phase of the much larger project is about engaging a team of professionals to help us develop the idea and enter into negotiations with the landowner. Help us make our vision a reality.
What we'll deliver:
- A surveyor to value the land so we can enter into negotiations with the landowner and determine a fundraising goal.
- A market research team to gather the data required to help East London Waterworks Park meet the needs of our community.
- A civil and environmental engineer to test the feasibility of our ideas and develop the concept.
- A graphic designer to create a visual identity for the East London Waterworks Park.
Why it's a great idea:
Linking Green Spaces
Opening up this site will stitch together Leyton and Walthamstow Marshes to the north, the Waterworks Nature Reserve to the east, Hackney Marshes and Middlesex Filter Beds to the south and the river and towpath to the west allowing people and wildlife to roam.
Improving Physical Health
Walking and wild swimming provide low-cost opportunities for people to be physically active.
Improving Mental Health
Research has shown that for every £1 invested in health or social needs projects connecting people to nature, there is £6 in social return.
Similar sites that have transitioned from concrete to nature are now home to over 2,000 invertebrates species, some of which were thought to be extinct. Biodiversity is critical to human survival.
Providing a Once-In-A-Generation Educational Opportunity
Allowing young people to watch nature take back the landscape over a decade will encourage a deeper understanding of the way humans and nature interact.
Steps to get it done:
- Contract professionals and agree statements of work - by end July 2021
- Work with professionals to deliver their contracts - by end November 2021
- Synthesise deliverables to establish next steps - by end December 2021
If the possibilities of the East London Waterworks Park excite you, please get in touch. The project is open and inclusive, and we welcome everyone who would like to get involved.