This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes. We are an open group of people in the Lea Valley area trying to keep the marshes and green spaces in our area open and free for all and to ensure that wildlife and people alike have a places to enjoy and hand on to future generations. For more information about our work carried out entirely on a voluntary basis, please see our website www.saveleamarshes.org.uk
We hoped against expectation that Hackney Council wouldn't vote through the plans for the North Marsh Sports Pavilion on open green space and car parking on North and East Marshes at the Planning Sub Committee on Wednesday evening, but of course they did.
We were arguing that, although we are in no way opposed to the construction of improved facilities for sport, the proposed location and design of the pavilion will needlessly and severely impact on green open space, removing it from public use forever. Some councillors asked some very good questions but were fobbed off with some very poor responses from officers and associated consultants. For example, when asked how the number of car parking spaces were arrived at, the reply was: “we came up with a number of parking places per player”, but gave no detail as to what this formula was or how it was applied. The Chair of the committee also made it clear that the car park should not be used by anyone outside of sport playing hours – so will be exclusive. This means we will be forever losing green space in order to locate private car parks on both North and East Marsh, displacing changing rooms on to presently grene space. There is coverage in both The Hackney Gazette (page 4) by Emma Bartholomew about the (then forthcoming) planning meeting and the Planning Inspectorate inquiry later this month http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/environment/hackney_council_decides_on_marsh_car_parks_ahead_of_inquiry_1_4097499
If we can take away any positive outcomes from this experience, it would be the inaccuracies and general poor quality of the research informing the planning report; the Council failing to demonstrate that the present proposals were the only and best way to provide up to date facilities for sports players on Hackney Marshes - a point we will be taking up most strongly at PINs.
Bizarrely enough we were handed a leaflet outside the meeting by supporters of the application, objecting to development in Redbridge on the basis it would destroy pitches on green belt land, 'endanger' residents with traffic hazard and 'build on a green area that reduces pollution'. Well quite! See p.18 www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk
TRIANGLE - whilst Hackney Planning Sub Committee were meeting, over in Waltham Forest at the same time, the Lea Bridge local borough forum was hearing that Network Rail were permanently closing off the King Alfred’s Triangle area of the marshes (which some of us thought might be taken over by LVRPA ..).
PETITION OF THE WEEK – our friends in the Belair Park Campaign have sent us news of a petition to stop Southwark Council from clearing trees and historic gravestones in order to make space for new burials in Southwark Woods. The campaign recognises this is a sensitive topic but wants to save the wildlife area. To find out more or sign the petition go to www.savesouthwarkwoods.org.uk
VOLUNTEERING – If you live in Waltham Forest and would like to nominate someone for a volunteering award, nominations will close on 12 June 2015 and the ceremony will take place at the town hall in September. There are five categories including under 25s; over 25s and volunteering as a team and the award judges will be looking for exceptional service and those who have achieved a great deal of improvement though volunteering. For -further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.voluntaryaction.net/
EVENTS the Tree Musketeers Spring Programme continues to provide some healthy outdoor exercise that will benefit the environment including: Sunday 7 June at the Tree Nursery, Homerton Road E9 10.30- 2.00 p.m. baby tree car and also a plant sale (shrubs such as currants, holly, thorns) ; Saturday 13 June at Well Street Common E9 come help with trees and shrubs there and on Saturday 28 June its Abney Park Bio Blitz. All events are free. For more details go to http://treemusketeers.org.uk
July 14 – there is a special launch event for the Greater London National Park proposal at Conway Hall, Holborn WC1. This is coming hard on the heels of the good news that the London Assembly voted unanimously to back the project and this might lead to wider support from the GLA. To find out more or contribute to the crowd-funding campaign go to http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-make-greater-london-a-national-park-city/
Other reminders – this Saturday afternoon 1-3 p.m. at the Waterworks for the LVRPA workshop meeting – your chance to find out the latest proposals and make your views heard or you can head off on a bike to one of four “Beating and Bicycling the Bounds” trips from 2pm onwards ending up at the Ferry Boat Inn details from www.wfcycling.org.uk or www.walthamhistoricalsociety.org.uk
Next SLM meeting – 7.30 at the Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road – all welcome. We’ll be girding our loins and sharpening our rapiers for the PINS Inquiry starting on June 16 at 10am at the Stoke Newington Assembly Hall, Stoke Newington Church Street N16 – so if you can, do come and support us.