This is the weekly digest of Save Lea Marshes. We are an open group of people from the Lea Valley area campaigning to keep the marshes open and green for all - including our wildlife. Our latest blogs can be found here and our latest news, as well as shop and events pages can be found on our website: http://www.
Firstly, a big apology to all for the lack of a digest and information via our hotmail address. We had a technical problem with access that took longer to sort out than we anticipated, due to Kafkaesque communication with Microsoft!
To end this week, we were treated to the sight of a rare visitor - a nightjar - which made its home in the filter beds before flying off for a very long migration to Africa! Remember you can still see a range of lovely photos from the marshes at Vestry House Museum - the last host of our 'What I Love About the Marshes' exhibition.
We are in the midst of our campaign to get the planned North Marsh Pavilion built on the existing footprint of the old changing rooms - rather than the Council slapping a huge car park there and sticking the proposed building on presently green open space. We are continuing with our campaign to see East Marsh fully restored to sports pitches and public use after the Olympics, as was promised.
To get you up-to-date:· SLM attended the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Lower Lee Valley meeting. The LVRPA had been asked to comment on L.B. Hackney’s plans. After our intervention, we are happy to report that the LVRPA voted against supporting the plans as they currently stood.
· We succeeded in getting a large number of people to object to the Planning Inspectorate, whose approval is needed for any development on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) - resulting in a public enquiry. Hackney Marshes is common land, protected MOL and part of the Lee Valley Park. We are asking everyone who can to attend this enquiry to speak in favour of protecting this open land for all and against the two large car parks proposed. You should have got an invite if you made an objection.
· As a result of this enquiry, the report which was due to go to Hackney Planning Committee has been withdrawn. It may be discussed in November instead. If you haven't already, please make your objection to the Planning Committee. details on our SLM website.
· Some of us also went to meet with organisers and parents involved in the Stoke Newington Cricket Club. After much coverage in the local press, we wanted to put the record straight that we are not against sports and are not objecting to a pavilion, as long as it is of a good design; has the required number of changing rooms and is built on the existing site with minimal car parking. We are keen to have good relations but want to ensure a balance that suits all users of the marsh and its wildlife. We are also against an unnecessary proliferation of car use on the green space for environment health and safety reasons.
· SLM have criticised the use of private planning consultants and this has resulted in LBH putting out a statement on their website: “Why Planning Consultants have been used for Hackney Marshes applications”. While you are looking this up, you might also be interested to see that the Council have defended the 15m high advert plastered over one whole side of the Hackney Marshes User Centre. The planning officer who gave permission for the advert described it as 'sensitive in terms of its size, scale and visual appearance'. Judge for yourself. it's there until 18th October.
MORE ON THE PAVILION/CAR PARKS ISSUE - Over the last three or four weeks, there has been a lot of coverage in both the Hackney Citizen and Hackney Gazette. The letters page of the Gazette has featured many letters from different points of view about the Council's marshes proposals - some of our members have their say in this week’s edition on p.16. Also featured on page 2 of the Gazette is a picture of the Stoke Newington Cricket Club on the green space planned for the new build alongside an article explaining the Planning Inspectorate enquiry for the proposals.
ALSO IN THE PRESS – an article on p.11 of the Gazette “Residents urged to block change in planning laws” – the mayor urging us all to join a campaign against a proposal to change planning law, which could lead to "luxury homes for millionaires, while depriving local people of jobs”. Precisely what local people have been trying to do over the matter of building at Abney Park, where the Council are supporting the developers. On a related topic on page 5 we have “Judicial Review set to rule on historic Dalston Lane Houses" - which we've just heard has been given consent to proceed at the High Court. There is also a “Parklife” feature on p.p.22/3 on “Wildlife flock to new wetland habitat” in the Olympic Park.
Meanwhile over in Waltham Forest, the “Waltham Forest Guardian”
www.guardian-series.co.uk reports on local M.P. Stella Creasy criticising LBWF over its lack of providing enough information regarding the “mini Holland style” cycling lanes, which have caused disruption in recent days. Also the Council is being told to curb its free newspaper by local Conservatives.
Our friends at Hedge Herbs are doing a lot over the coming weeks – on Sunday 5 October from 12-3.00 p.m. they will be doing Medicine Making at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Peckham, in cooperation with the Potted History Project, a gardening and reminiscence group, to prepare seasonal remedies. This might be a trip across town but it is always worth exploring what other areas of London have to offer. Back in Walthamstow on Saturday 11 October, they will be present at the Apple Day at Vestry House Museum, where herbal goods, crafts etc, will be available. For further details and information on these and other up-coming events and courses, contact Rasheeqa on 07784506494 or see Hedge Herbs on Facebook.
Also outside of our manor but worth supporting is “Keep the Green Reclaim the Commons” aimed at maintaining access to Greenwich Green common land. It is this Saturday 4 October from 2.00 p.m. – go to Bardsley Lane (Deptford end), and meet at the Skate park SE10 9SW.