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A community group in Lea Bridge, known as the East London Waterworks Park team (ELWP), has expressed deep disappointment as their plans for a wild swimming park face a setback. Despite raising over £500,000 and rallying support since 2022, the ELWP’s dream has been threatened by government proposals to build a secure children’s home on the same site.

The site in question is an old waterworks site on Lea Bridge Road. The ELWP had envisioned transforming the 5.68-acre plot into a vibrant wild swimming park, complete with amenities such as a ‘forest school,’ an arts building, and mosaics. Their vision aimed to create a space that would not only promote outdoor activities and wellness but also foster a sense of community among residents.

Unfortunately, the Department for Education (DfE) has deemed the former Thames Water depot as the only suitable site in Greater London for a secure children’s unit, leaving the ELWP disheartened. ELWP chairwoman, Abigail Woodman, has expressed her initial shock turning into frustration and disappointment towards the local government, Waltham Forest Council, for supporting the secure home plans instead of their wild swimming park.

While the need for a secure facility for vulnerable children is acknowledged, the ELWP is saddened by the perceived lack of consideration for their community-driven project. They believe that the council’s support for the secure children’s home has let them down and jeopardized their efforts to create a unique recreational space for the benefit of all.

Despite this setback, the ELWP remains determined to advocate for their vision of the wild swimming park and will continue their fight to secure the site for their proposed project. They hope for a resolution that accommodates both their aspirations and the needs of the community, fostering a collaborative approach between all parties involved.