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London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF)


  • Building Surveying
  • CDM
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Feasibility
  • Interior Design
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Planning Consultancy
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Space Planning

"The internal fitout of the library was an enjoyable project to be part of, the starting point was the LibraryPlus programme, which I had previously worked on the branding guidelines and interior fitouts for 2 sites. As this was a new location it had its own challenges to overcome. The units were originally intended to be divided by an entrance to the flats above – liaison with planners & the developer allowed this access to be reconfigured to provide an uninterrupted library space. The most rewarding aspect was being involved in the community liaison event and watching the mood of the room change in 2 hours from frosty faces with folded arms to participants (who did not know each other) standing up and presenting their vision of the library with an eagerness to see the proposals be built. It clearly demonstrated the importance of consultation in design development to take client and end users with you on the design journey. It is a privilege to design public buildings. This library benefits from both WF Council’s commitment to libraries and the engaging staff. Living locally, I get to pop in at times and enjoy a hot chocolate and hear how they are further developing and inhabiting their space."

Sarah Townsend-ElliottSenior Interior Designer/Project ManagerNorse Consulting

Project Summary

Norse Consulting was appointed project manager for the Marlowe Road Estate Redevelopment. In addition to this, Norse was awarded a separate commission to carry out a shell and core fit out to form the new Wood Street Library – including the shopfront design & MEP services.

Occupying 3 ground-floor units facing Wood Street and Troughbridge Square, Wood Street Library’s central location offers easy access to the venue’s enhanced services and has quickly become a much-used community resource.

The library was a replacement for the original Wood Street Library, this move was not popular with a vocal percentage of local residents. Norse prepared presentation material and took part in a community consultation event where residents, local councillors and members of the end-user client team worked together to establish the priorities for the new space.

This was a turning point in the popularity of the scheme, demonstrating the power of listening and involving communities at pre-planning stage and how that can reverse negative opinions. Norse Consultants are skilled in facilitating and running such workshop events.

Project Overview

Wood Street Library offers demonstrable benefits to the local community providing larger library premises, with a wider range of facilities, including free WiFi, bookable PC’s, café and meeting rooms, in a more central location.

Through close liaison with the client, end-user team and community representatives, Norse Consulting created a welcoming, contemporary, dynamic space.

The narrow building has been fully utilised, creating an open plan interior with views throughout, maximising light and offering passive supervision. The zones were designed with the intention to flow through each other.


Two bookable community meeting rooms
Children, Teen and Adult library zones
Computer and study spaces
Café with an additional outdoor seating area
Public Toilets

The works include interior fit-out, new shopfronts, services, fittings, and finishes. The contemporary design creates an inviting space for users to meet, work, study, and play. The design references earlier schemes in the LibraryPlus renewal programme designed by Norse Consulting for the London Borough Waltham Forest.

Energy-efficient facilities were installed, including low-energy mechanical and ventilation systems. Undulating acoustic ceiling panels were fitted adding visual interest to the volume of the space. The lighting design combined linear and rectilinear LED lighting subtly delineating the buildings zones.

Project Impact

Developed in consultation with residents and community groups, the design incorporates spaces their community lacked, one priority being meeting rooms.

The increased size of space and meeting rooms has meant the library staff can now run free daily activities including, computer support sessions, rhyme times and a number of clubs offering – games, films etc..

The completion of Wood Street Library is another transformed library in the borough’s portfolio.

At a time when library services across the country are facing budget pressures Waltham Forest has been ambitious in retaining and re-inventing their library premises which offer a wide range of facilities for their residents.

This winter the building has also become one of several Council ‘Community Living Rooms’ spaces where local residents can keep warm for free during the energy crisis.

The space with its free WiFi and PC’s/study spaces aids in the borough’s ambition for all residents to be independent by equipping them with networks, skills, knowledge, and resources to realise this.

The low energy strategy meets the borough’s 2030 Vision: All buildings in Waltham Forest are energy efficient, making them affordable, comfortable, and adaptable to the changing climate.

In the SPACES Annual Awards 2022, Wood Street Library received the Highly Commended accolade for the Small Project award.

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