Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Future of youth club safe even if site turned into flats

Project Zero, based in the Outset Centre, aims to stop young people dying from violent crime

Hero for Future of youth club safe even if site turned into flats
The Project Zero team (Project Zero)
By Victoria Munro 23 November 2021

The future of a much-loved Walthamstow youth club is secure even if its current home is turned into flats, a council leader promised today.

Last month, Waltham Forest Council was awarded more than £3million in Government funding to support building new homes on nine brownfield sites around the borough.

The sites selected include the Outset Centre, currently home to Project Zero, and the Ferguson Centre, currently an NHS-run mental health service.

Project Zero provides young people with a free, safe space to have fun outside of school and ultimately hopes to give them a route into employment and away from the risk of crime.

The Outset Centre near St James Station

The council’s cabinet member for housing, Simon Miller, assured the Echo this morning that the service would be given a new home if the centre was turned into flats. 

He said: “The council remains totally committed to maintaining the Project Zero-led youth hub as a model of success for future community services. 

“Project Zero would need to be accommodated elsewhere in Waltham Forest if the site was redeveloped, and [it] remaining on-site in the existing building is an option under consideration.”

He added that “no decision has been made” yet about whether the sites given thousands or even more than £1m by the Government will actually be redeveloped.

He said: “The brownfield land release funding from the Cabinet Office is to assist with feasibility and viability assessments for much-needed affordable homes. The sites listed will not necessarily come forward for development.”

The money from the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF) adds up to £3,372,320 across all nine sites.

The largest chunk of money, more than £1m, was given to the Lea Bridge Station regeneration, currently awaiting planning permission.

The nine sites awarded funding were: Lea Bridge Station, Chingford Hub, Rowan House, Russell Road, Cedarwood House, Erskine Road Car Park, Osbourne Grove, the Outset Centre and the Ferguson Centre. 

Rowan House is currently the location of the council’s Youth Offending Service, which the council plans to move to a disused adult learning centre only a short walk away.

Cedarwood House is home to the Housing Service, due to move into the new Families and Homes Hub being built where the old Wood Street Library once stood.

The Lea Bridge Station regeneration will see more than 300 flats built on three sites around the station, one of which is home to the Orient Way Pocket Park.

The Chingford Hub development will replace the Chingford Library and Assembly Hall with a five-storey block, which some furious residents insist will ruin the area’s “quaint, semi-rural” character.

None of the developments have yet received planning permission and some do not have a formal planning application submitted.