Waltham Forest Town Hall

Planning - Historic Environment & Townscape

London Borough of Waltham Forest

This project was also worked on by Lucy Markham who is a Partner, specialising in Planning - Historic Environment & Townscape.

Key information

Montagu Evans provided planning and heritage advice on the refurbishment of the grade II listed Waltham Forest Town Hall, including the creation of a new fountain and public square. We acted as a sub-consultant to Hawkins Brown Architects as part of a multi-disciplinary team. We led the pre-application engagement with officers and members at the Council and Historic England. Our archival research informed the justification for the alterations to the listed building and landscape. We acted as the agent for the applications for planning permission and listed building consent and spoke at the Committee meeting.


As part of a wider Estate rationalisation, the London Borough of Waltham Forest sought to consolidate its presence on its Civic Campus. The project involved the refurbishment of the 1930s listed building, including the removal of internal partitions to create open-plan office space to enable more staff to be accommodated in the building and improve level access. Replacement fixed seating was installed in the Council Chamber with improved AV equipment, which would also allow for flexible use, including for weddings. Externally the proposals included architectural lighting, and the removal of the 1953 fountain and installation a new water feature that could be switched off to allow the Square to be used for events. The Council set a challenging programme of 5 months from the project inception to the application submission.


Our thorough archival research at the outset of the project provided a detailed understanding of the history and significance of the building to inform pre-application discussions with heritage stakeholders, and the justification for the alterations. We collaborated closely with Hawkins Brown Architects and other members of the design team to advise on how to minimise harm to the building and justify the necessary alterations, such as changes to the internal plan form of the office wings. The Planning Performance Agreement ensured regular meetings with the Council officers and, in the later stages, with Members to allow their feedback to be incorporated into the proposals and enable a smooth passage during the determination of the applications.


The applications were granted consent within 8 months of the project inception. The Twentieth Century Society took the unusual step of issuing a press release commending the proposals. The project won several awards, including the RIBA London Award 2023, Civic Trust Awards 2023 and Waltham Forest Design Awards 2021. We also secured a Certificate of Immunity from Listing for the 1970s Brutalist Magistrates Court. The potential listing of the building was a risk to the wider masterplan, and our listing experts advised on the level of risk and prepared a report explaining why the former Court was not of listable quality to enable its redevelopment with a new Council office building.

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