Transforming the heart of Waltham Forest

31 October 2019
Artist's impression of Town Hall Fountain. Credit: Churchman Thornhill Finch
Waltham Forest Council’s plans to transform the Town Hall Campus site on Forest Road, Walthamstow received a significant boost this week (28 October) after the Planning Committee approved phase one of the scheme.
 
The transformation is a once-in-a-lifetime project to create a new neighbourhood in the heart of the borough, with cherished historic buildings to be refurbished, the future of the Assembly Hall preserved and protected, and the area around the Town Hall opened-up to the public. The Grade II-Listed Town Hall will be renovated considerately while modernising the building to facilitate new ways of working and will transform the way the Council operates and delivers services to residents.
 
This key milestone marks the largest change to the historic Town Hall and the wider campus since it was first opened in 1941. The approved plans focus on creating an inclusive and welcoming space with a new water fountain updating the scope of it for the 21st century. The striking centrepiece will feature in front of the much-loved Town Hall and Assembly Hall. It will include choregraphed water jets, night-time illumination and a striking reflection pool, the new fountain will be inviting and accessible to visitors of all ages and offer a revitalised space to host a variety of different events and activities for residents, staff and visitors.
 
The second phase of the Town Hall transformation will see 500 new high-quality homes built, with at least 50 per cent affordable prioritised for local people, a new civic office building and retail and café outlets that means more options for the local community and visitors to the area.
 
Detailed plans will include consulting residents, will be drawn up in 2020 and the project is expected to be completed by early 2024.
 
Councillor Simon Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Housing Development, says: “A project like this really does only happen once in a lifetime. Not since it opened in 1941 has the heart of our borough had such a transformation.
 
“It is not only an opportunity to build genuinely affordable homes for residents but to create a whole new community around the historic Town Hall”.
 
“Residents will have more leisure and retail opportunities as well as greater access to the historic Town Hall and Assembly Hall.”
 
The approved plans will see transformation commence in mid-2020 and are set for completion in spring/summer 2021.
 
Walthamstow Town Hall is an example of stripped classical 20th century architecture was designed and built by PD Hepworth between 1937 and 1942. It’s made of Portland stone and influenced by Swedish buildings of the interwar period. The Assembly Hall on the side of the site have hosted concerts by such notables as Placido Domingo and Yehudi Menuhin.
 
Read more about the plans here as well as artistic impressions of what the sight will look like when completed.