East London Waterworks Park close to crowdfunding target

An old Thames Water depot could become a series of natural inner-city ponds where people can swim if a charity can achieve its target.

East London Waterworks Park is crowdfunding to buy the 5.68-hectare site on Lea Bridge Road which borders Hackney and Waltham Forest.

The charity plans to build sustainably maintained ponds that will cover around 5,000sq m and allow over 1,000 people to swim each day for free.

If completed, the park will be the largest community rewilding bought from the UK government.

Abigail Woodman, chair and volunteer at East London Waterworks Park, said: “I don’t know of anybody or any other group that have tried to do a rewilding project in England like this.

“We feel like we’re breaking new ground and, in some ways, we’re making it up as we go along.”

The park has raised over £350,000 donated by 3,582 donors and has extended the deadline for its crowdfunding until February 28, 2023.

Abigail added: “I appreciate there are going to be people who simply can’t [donate] and that’s okay – you are just as welcome to be part of the project as anyone else.

“[But] if you can afford it, donate because you believe in the dream. It’s about creating the world we want to live in. 

“We have to start somewhere with that and this project is one way of doing it.”

This Is Local London: An artistic representation of what the East London Waterworks Park could look likeAn artistic representation of what the East London Waterworks Park could look like (Image: Kirsty Badenoch)

The East London Waterworks Park will extend the wildlife corridor along the River Lea, connecting the park with Springfield Park, Millfields Park, Hackney Marshes, Wick Woodland and beyond.

Mayor of Hackney Cllr Philip Glanville and cabinet member for families, parks and leisure Cllr Caroline Woodley said: “It is really exciting to imagine the transformation of the former Thames Water Depot off Lea Bridge Road into a new, community-owned East London Waterworks Park.

“Just over the borough boundary in Hackney, we are committed to working together with community partners and building a fairer, greener future…

“We know we need community partnership across London to become green and resilient, and this project would set a truly inspiring precedent.”

You can donate to the East London Waterworks Park at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/elwp. 


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