A community group has raised £100,000 to turn former waterworks into natural swimming ponds.
Community group East London Waterworks Park aims to turn the 5.68-hectare Thames Water Depot, on the border of Hackney and Waltham Forest, into a green space for community use.
The site is currently owned by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and managed by LocatED, the Department for Education’s arms-length property company, which is now looking to sell the site after a plan for two free schools was rejected.
A spokesperson for East London Waterworks Park said: “Rewilding and opening up this fenced-in concrete depot in the middle of a swathe of green space 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 in cities.
“It will empower people to believe they can make change happen, that they too can turn an unloved piece of land into a wildlife haven.”
The group is already in talks with LocatED to purchase the site and hopes to raise £500,000 buy the land.
After the site is purchased, the group aims to reach £1 million raised through direct crowdfunding and a further £2 million through corporate donations and grant funding.
The first proposal for the park was made in January 2020 and the plan is for the site to be open to the public in 2029.
East London Waterworks Park is a charitable company, it currently has fourteen members and more than 30 volunteers who aim to demonstrate that communities can work together to build a healthy and sustainable future.
The group say that sustainability, decarbonisation and enhancing the natural environment are central to the plan which looks to bring back open water for use as well as improving biodiversity and air quality.
The planned site will also generate its own renewable energy through solar panels and hydropower.
Any surplus over the £500,000 goal is set to go towards supporting the costs of the later transformation of the site.
Visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/elwp to make a donation.