Government grant for ‘eco’ upgrades to public buildings

Council receives £2.28m grant to spend on energy-saving improvements, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter

Walthamstow Assembly Hall
Walthamstow Assembly Hall is one of the buildings set to be upgraded

Waltham Forest Council is spending millions to make the borough’s public buildings more eco-friendly.

The council has received £2.28million in grant money from a government scheme aimed at “decarbonising” public buildings and plans to invest in twelve sites around the borough.

The money will be used to install LED lights, insulation and solar panels and, it is hoped, cut the council’s annual carbon emissions by 288 tonnes and its annual energy bill by £57,000.

The installation of new lights in all twelve buildings is due to be completed by the end of this month, while the council hopes to have the entire project finished by the end of September.

Most of the buildings selected for improvement are in Walthamstow, with a handful in Leyton, Leytonstone, and the Suntrap Centre in Epping Forest, outside the borough.

While the majority are either cultural venues or centres providing a community service, two of the sites due to receive significant investment are not currently open to the public. These are Chestnuts House in Hoe Street, a Grade 2-listed building currently occupied by property guardians, and Relcon Works warehouse on Sutherland Road.

A document advertising Chestnuts House to investors in January last year states the council hopes to turn it into “creative workspace, cultural space and homes for local people”.

An Instagram account, inactive since 2016, shows Relcon Works was once lived in as a warehouse conversion but there is no similar document suggesting what the council may have planned.

Other buildings due to receive upgrades include Leyton and Leytonstone libraries, Leyton Cricket Pavillion, Walthamstow Assembly Hall and William Morris Gallery.

The council will also carry out works on The Junction adult learning centre, Waltham Forest Resource Hub, Walthamstow Childrens’ Centre and Queens Road Community Centre.