Influenced by Tudor and Indian architectural styles, the Grade _II-listed pavilion was built in 1886 and the ground was home to the Essex County team until 1932. While cricket is still played there, the pavilion has long since fallen into disrepair.
We got in touch with Waltham Forest Council for an update and, while the foodie utopia is still a few years off – the plan is for the building to open in August 2021 – a project manager has been appointed, with a conservation architect and a community engagement officer to be added to the team soon, after which a consultation period will begin.
“The future of the site is going to be led by the community in the area and there will be an extended engagement and consultation programme to help define and refine those uses,” a spokesperson from Waltham Forest Council told us. “Cricket is an important part of the heritage of the site, so will be delivered in one way or another.”We’re always happy to see old buildings restored to their former glory, so can’t wait to see the transformation of this local gem. We’re very much here for the healthy food and community focus of the project but are glad to hear that cricket will still play a part in the future of the site, connecting it to its historic sporting past. There really is something special about walking past the ground on a summer afternoon and seeing a match in progress for village vibes in the city.
We’re hoping that the revitalized pavilion will celebrate as many of our brilliant local foodies as possible. With the proposed emphasis on healthy eating and locally sourced produce we’d love OrganicLea – a Waltham Forest-based workers co-operative who offer educational open days, volunteering opportunities and a fruit and box scheme with local pick up points – to be part of the project in some way.
There are some brilliant veggie-focused restaurants and cafés in the area who we’d back to run the restaurant and café. Buhler and Co, a lovely vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Walthamstow, Hornbeam Café, a zero-waste and non profit vegan café also in Walthamstow, The Feel Good Café, a vegan café and health hub in Chingford or Leyton’s own Marmelo, where the focus is on fresh, healthy and ethical eating with vegetarian and vegan options, all spring to mind.
And of course there are lots of local small batch producers and market traders who are smashing it on the street food scene. Here’s hoping they get the chance to be involved too. We’re looking forward to seeing the project take shape.