In autumn 2017 we announced our Parks Improvement Project, which saw the council work with residents to bring improvements to public parks, green places, and open spaces right across the borough.
The council invested £500,000 to deliver the improvements, as suggested by residents and community groups, split equally with £25,000 available for each of the 20 wards in Waltham Forest. The council received 356 ideas from the community and 55 winning ideas were selected by local ward councillors, carefully chosen in regards to their suitability for the proposed location.
Work on the project has now completed and has been a huge success. Ranging from new play equipment and outdoor gyms through to newly-planted wildflower areas which promote biodiversity, everyone in the borough has something new in their neighbourhood to enjoy.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, visited two of the projects in late November 2018 to see the completed work. In Leytonstone, a new pathway has been built in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) around the churchyard of St. John’s, making access easier for older or less mobile visitors. Cllr Loakes said: “The new pathway is great. It enables more people to be able to access this beautiful tranquil space here in the heart of Leytonstone town centre. It’s a great example of how the council is committed to caring for natural spaces and green places, and how we are delivering a cleaner and safer borough for all to enjoy.”
Reverend David Britton, Vicar of St John’s Leytonstone, said: “The churchyard is a gem - a wonderful green space with a nature trail for the community to enjoy featuring a variety of trees, plants and wildlife as well as being a burial site of historic significance. The new path has been welcomed enthusiastically by the community, bringing a new lease of life and accessibility to the churchyard and nature trail - since its installation it has been enjoyed by residents, dog-walkers, visitors and school groups.”
Cllr Loakes then moved on to see new play equipment at the Epicentre, on West Street in Cathall ward. The bright new play equipment is a perfect place to let little ones run off extra energy – with nearby benches where less adventurous visitors will be able to grab few minute’s breath. “All across the borough we have refurbished playground equipment, we have planted more trees, we have painted railings and we have put in new gym equipment in the places where you, the residents, and local businesses asked us to do those works,” said Cllr Loakes as he inspected the new equipment. “I want to say thank you for nominating these projects, thank you for working with us to develop the designs of these projects, and thank you for volunteering to help deliver some of these projects. Mostly, I’d like to thank you for using our parks and green spaces.”
Residents’ ideas that were not chosen on this occasion will be kept by the team and may be taken forwards in future. To see an overview of all the schemes delivered as part of the Parks Improvement Project please click here.