A New Primary & Secondary School



You can drag the centre slide-bar below to reveal the current and proposed site visuals.


In the summer 2016 we began consulting with local people, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Greater London Authority, and Transport for London, on the proposals for a new primary and secondary school on the former Thames Water Depot site, 150a Lea Bridge Road.

The project is funded and supported by the Department for Education and will deliver excellent, purpose-built facilities for Athena Primary Academy, with a total capacity of 420 pupils, along with a 26-place nursery, and Barclay Secondary Free School, with a capacity of 1,040 pupils and a 360 place Sixth Form. The Contractor who will deliver the schools is Bowmer & Kirkland, a leading provider for education who have an established track record of delivering schools, both nationally and within Waltham Forest.

REAch2 Academy Trust would run the new primary school alongside two of their other primary schools in Waltham Forest. Woodside Primary Academy is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, whist Chapel End Junior Academy is rated Good with Outstanding elements. The Lion Academy Trust would operate the new secondary school. Formed in 2012, the Trust already runs three successful schools across Waltham Forest, including Barclay Primary School in Leyton rated by Ofsted as Outstanding in April 2016.

The site has been used for water utilities purposes since at least 1707. It was taken over by the Metropolitan Water Board in 1902 and closed in 1971/72, when it was purchased by Thames Water for use as a depot. The proposed development (Application ID 171408) will see the site transformed from 96% concrete hardstanding to over 60% green space, including playing fields, ecological areas and tree planting. Public access will be provided to the site for the first time since the mid-1800s.

The site has a number of constraints including a large underground power tunnel and aquifer. It is also close to nature reserves to the east, west and south of the site. All these constraints have been carefully considered in the location of the new school buildings and design of the parking areas, play areas, sports pitches and landscaping.

The provision of the new schools will assist in meeting the projected need for school places and enable genuine choice for local parents and their children. The proposed scheme will also provide community access to sports facilities, enable greater public access to the site, deliver significant public realm benefits and create around 180 new jobs.

Lee Francis, of the REAch2 Academy Trust, looks forward to the new educational facilities that will be provided for the community and says: “Our superb site and facilities will ensure that the learning environment is bright, contemporary and well-equipped to deliver 21st century education. Our students will be taught in learning environments that inspire and enthuse them on a daily basis. They will have access to the latest wireless ICT facilities throughout the school. Classrooms will be well-designed spaces, with an emphasis on creating a positive teaching and learning climate for students. Each year group will have additional learning spaces designed for small group learning. There will be dedicated learning spaces for music and excellent PE facilities, including a multi-sport pitch outside.”

You can find a link to the REAch2 Academy Trust here

You can find a link to the Lion Academy Trust here


An update on our proposals – October 2018


Following the submission of the planning application in April 2017 we have undertaken further extensive consultation with the London Borough of Waltham Forest, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Greater London Authority, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, Historic England, and the Environment Agency, to further refine our proposal.

In summary, these changes are as follows:


In response to feedback from the Greater London Authority and London Borough of Waltham Forest; the elevations have been improved with a substantial increase in brickwork and areas of coloured cladding, in lieu of render. The selection of materials and colours have also been changed to reflect the history of the site and to relate better to the surrounding Metropolitan Open Land.

Improved accessibility within the secondary school has been provided through the inclusion of a second lift, reducing travel distance for disabled pupils and staff, whilst the primary school lift has also been upgraded.


Following extensive liaison with Transport for London and London Borough of Waltham Forest a number of additional features have been adopted. The parental drop-off and pick-up has been removed, the number of car parking spaces have been significantly reduced, and cycle parking has been increased to 352 spaces. The Lea Bridge Road crossing signals are to be upgraded and relocated to improve safety and an additional footpath has been introduced adjacent to a new bus lane to enable direct pedestrian access to the primary school.

At the request of London Borough of Waltham Forest, a new west-bound bus lane has been created on Lea Bridge Road and the “Enjoy Waltham Forest” cycling and walking scheme has moved into the site, providing an increase in land available for public use whilst improving routes for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

The external lighting proposal has been designed in conjunction with Ecus Environmental Consultants, to ensure ecological protection of the River Lea and nature reserves. The lighting to the Multi Use Games Area will also be controlled to prevent use late at night.

A view through the site from Lea Bridge Road and the Ice Centre has been provided, as requested by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

To meet the needs of “Enjoy Waltham Forest” a number of trees are to be removed to help improve cycling and pedestrian routes. In response a comprehensive tree replacement strategy will be implemented.

You can find further information on our design changes by downloading the Design and Access Statement addendum by clicking here

You can view images of what the new schools will look like by clicking here

An update on our proposals – March 2019

After a disappointing result at planning committee the Department for Education are considering next steps. An update will be provided in due course.


Public consultation on our proposals

We directly contacted over 6,000 local residents on two separate occasions during the public consultation process, in Summer 2016 and again in Autumn 2016. You can download a copy of our Statement of Community Involvement by clicking here.

Since then we have worked tirelessly to respond to feedback and are proud to present the scheme as it stands – a significant investment in local education and the transformation of an industrial site into a community asset.


Image gallery

  • Barclay Secondary Free School – Front View

  • Athena Primary Academy – Front View

  • Barclay Secondary Free School – Rear View

  • Lea Bridge depot school proposals

  • Athena Primary School – Learning Resource Centre

  • Barclay Secondary Free School – Dining Room

  • Primary School – Rear view

  • Lea Bridge Depot No Build Zone


You can download the boards from our second exhibition held in October 2016 by clicking the download button below.


You can download the boards from our first exhibition held in July 2016 by clicking the download button below.