A multi-million pound project to create the capital's largest urban wetland nature reserve has received backing from the lottery. 

Waltham Forest Council's application for £4.4million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to transform the area around Walthamstow reservoirs has been approved. 

The plan was approved by the council's planning committee in June following a two-year design and consultation process. 

The overall project will cost £8m and will see many of Walthamstow's reservoirs opened up for the first time and the conversion of a 1894 listed engine house into a visitors centre, a cafe and an exhibition space.

A viewing platform will be incorporated into the listed Coppermill Bridge, allowing users to view the 200 hectare landscape described by Boris Johnson as 'London's best kept secret'. 

Plans also include a 72 space car park and 40 cycle spaces.

Council leader Chris Robbins says the approved funding brings to fruition years of planned work. 

He said: "This is fantastic news for the people of Waltham Forest and the wider East London community. 

"The borough is going through an unprecedented time of regeneration and our cultural offer is at the heart of that growth.

"The Blackhorse Lane area of the borough is one of the places where there’s a great deal of development going on with the old industrial units making way for new homes. 

"We’re building a brand new school on one side of the station and this funding opens the way for the Wetlands to take shape on the other."

Thames Water has pledged £1.84m for the project.

Chief executive Martin Baggs, said, "The Walthamstow reservoirs are vital in helping us to supply drinking water to millions of customers across London, so it’s fantastic that they can also double-up as a haven for wildlife and a place for people to enjoy the great outdoors."

London Wildlife Trust has won the tender to manage the site and works are due to commence in 2015 with a completion date set for 2017.