Friday, 6 September 2013

walthamstow wetlands and the marine engine house


If you missed the Walthamstow Wetlands consultations events - this film will give you some further information. 
Walthamstow Wetlands Film from SAM LIEBMANN SHOWREEL on Vimeo.

Having gone along to one of the consultation events, we were concerned that the plans to turn the old Marine Engine House into a heritage /wildlife centre involve unnecessarily excessive and therefore harmful changes to this heritage asset:  Surely a contradiction for a heritage lottery funded project.

The massive main pumping engine hall is cut in half by a new first floor, so the sense of scale of the original pumping engines will be lost. 

The balance of the 'multi-use' space created (both internal and extensive multilevel external wrap around terraces) seems weighted towards a private function space/wedding venue, whilst the education room is pushed into a side block and the wardens accommodation pushed out into a new smaller building nearby, at extra cost. 

Lots of potential here for another white elephant (The high cost of running the Golf Centre building meant the golf course itself, with relatively low running costs, was closed by the Park Authority).

We also thought there was a contradiction between a noisy and brightly lit licensed function/wedding venue with extensive external terraces right next to the reservoirs and the wetlands that the whole project is designed to protect and conserve.

The overall sense is that too much money is being sucked into an over-sized and costly building project with few heritage benefits, and at the cost of investing in the Wetlands themselves.

We think there is a strong heritage and economic case for the building project to be scaled back and for external appearance of the Marine Engine House to remain unaltered, preserving cherished views of this landmark from across the old reservoirs, along Ferry Lane and views along the river Lea.
 

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