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Public Realm Improvement Works Underway on Historic Walthamstow Street

Public realm improvements are now underway on Walthamstow’s historic St James Street, as part of a £3million scheme to revitalise the area and preserve and enhance shop fronts and key historic buildings.

The public realm improvements will transform the bottom of Walthamstow High Street and the junction with St James Street into a ‘gateway’ to the area, with new trees, seating, cycle stands and high-quality natural stone paving. There will also be new street lighting, pedestrian and cycle crossings, road markings and signage.

In addition to this there will be new pavements on both sides of St James Street from the station to the junction with Coppermill Lane and Blackhorse Road. A new cycle hub will also be installed outside St James Street station. New signage will guide visitors to the area to local landmarks including Vestry House Museum and the Walthamstow Wetlands, which will open later this year. The Council has appointed JB Riney & Co Ltd to carry out the public realm improvements.

Cllr Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets said: “The public realm improvements will really help to transform St James Street and make the whole area more inviting for residents and visitors. The wider regeneration scheme we are working on will establish St James Street as a destination in its own right, while preserving and restoring the area’s historic features.”

John Davis, Managing Director of JB Riney & Co said: “JB Riney & Co is delighted to be playing our part in the delivery of this prestigious project and we commend the huge improvements already made to the street with the enhancements to the shop fronts and building conservation. The London Borough of Waltham Forest can be assured that the public realm works to be undertaken by our company will be to the highest quality to complement this historic setting and complete the vision for St. James Street.”

The works are part of the £2.9million St James Townscape Heritage Project, which will enhance the key historic buildings in the St James Conservation Area. The scheme is being funded by a grant of £1.46million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with Waltham Forest Council investing £1.34million and other contributions coming from local businesses and volunteers such as the St James Big Local group.

The St James Conservation Area is a historically important commercial area containing various examples of nineteenth and early twentieth-century architecture, developed by the local Victorian property owner, TC Warner.

In the run-up to the completion of the scheme this summer the Council has launched a new micro-site, which is packed with information about the project and the accompanying business and community support programme. This can be viewed at

The community support programme for the project includes an oral history project led by the Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop, which has seen interviews conducted with a number of people about how the St James Street area has changed over time. Local schools have also been invited to take part in educational activities to help them learn more about the area’s rich history.

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