A planning application for a new development in the heart of Waltham Abbey is to be submitted next month.
The Masterplan for a new leisure and community development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate, has been drawn up by landowners Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council working alongside NHS England.
The plan follows community planning events held earlier in the year and will see:
- A new NHS health centre providing modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation to replace the current Maynard Court Surgery.
- An ‘Independent Living’ scheme adjacent to the proposed health centre, providing housing to help people over 55 years old who may need care and support and whose current home no longer meets their needs.
- A new Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre to replace the existing Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool at Roundhills. It is envisaged that this will include a 25m pool with six lanes, plus a learner pool, studio for movement/dance activities, fitness suite and a space for community use.
The Masterplan will now go through the planning process with the opportunity for residents to comment, with a decision likely in January.
Councillor Helen Kane, Epping Forest District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services, said: “This is really exciting - for Ninefields, Waltham Abbey and the Epping Forest District.
“The current Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool is coming to the end of its life, and the proposed new swimming pool will provide a sports and recreational facility for the next generation, whilst ensuring that there will be no loss in continuity of provision.
“Together with the new Independent Living Scheme and the Health Centre, the new development will re-vitalise this part of Waltham Abbey and provide fantastic new facilities for local people. I am particularly pleased that we took the time to consult local residents and businesses on what they would like to see, and have been able to incorporate many of their suggestions in the Masterplan.”
Cllr John Spence CBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing added: “Land owned by the public sector – whichever part of the public sector – is owned by the taxpayers, so it is critical that all public agencies work together, either to dispose of such land or to ensure it is used to best effect in terms of impact and values.
“This is an excellent example of what can be done when organisations come together and work alongside the local community.”
Kelvin Rowland-Jones, Head of Commissioning for South and West Essex at NHS England said: “The new Health Centre will provide a much needed up-to-date purpose built GP surgery for the residents of Ninefields. This is a result of close co-operation between NHS England, councils and other partners to deliver real benefits for the community.”