|Click to see next photo|
|Walthamstow Wetlands, described as a once in a lifetime opportunity to open up a vast stretch of waterways to the public, slouched towards a messy and difficult birth, with a series of botched and badly organised public consultation exercises.
The rather tatty dead ducks pictured above with Adrian Stannnard, on display at the Walthamstow Fisheries centre were typical of a shambolic consultation exercise that posed more questions than it answered.
Wetlands is supposedly a £10m project yet the only tangible benefit offered was the opening up of the area around some of the reservoirs that run from Coppermill Lane to the North Circular Road (see map).
Other touted benefits, such as the creation of a visitor centre in a heritage waterworks building, were at best a complete waste of money and at worst a devastating attack on the built heritage of north east London. LVRPA already has a white elephant exhibition area called the Waterworks Centre and it is hard to see a justification for yet another expensive, poorly used centre.
Many suggest that Walthamstow Wetlands is simply a fig leaf to cover proposals to build huge numbers of flats, in the area. But there are no hospitals, schools, jobs, leisure facilities, etc. etc. for the people who will live in the flats. Waltham Forest is already hopelessly over crowded with failing public services.
In any case, it would be quite possible to open up the reservoirs for considerably less than £10m, perhaps a fiver for a sign saying 'we're open' would do the job. Fisherman and organised parties have long gained access to many of the areas to be liberated at such enormous cost.
But that's not going to happen because it would not be in the interests of the legion of consultants and bureaucrats who spend years drawing pretty maps and charge fortunes for their services.
Fortunately some reports suggest there's no money in the cupboard for Walthamstow Wetlands and the only thing that will happen is that the consultants will trouser large quantities of public money.
Return to index
Return to index