North Marsh Car Park 2018

Hackney Marshes Users Group

North Marsh Parking Chaos Issues BackgroundIssues Archive
Jan 2020

The new car park opened in 2018 was not run as specified in planning permission


Pressure from HMUG and SLM led to Hackney Council telling GLL/Better to run the car park as laid down in planning permission. As far as we know, the conditions are now being met.

We wrote in October 2018:

Astonishingly, the management plan agreed as a planning condition for the new car park on north marsh is being almost completely ignored.

A recent visit by HMUG found:

  • parking 50% over capacity
  • cars parked on grass and earth areas over tree roots (photo)
  • cars parked on a pedestrian path (photo)
  • cars parked on spaces reserved for team vehicles (minibuses and coaches)
  • cars parked on the pick-up area
  • no signs to indicate the car park was full and redirect drivers

All these are violations of clear and specific rules in the parking management plan which was a condition of the car park getting the planning go-ahead last year.

If you want to protest about this, please contact your local councillors, and/or councillors for Kings Park ward which covers the marshes.

Here is the full report of our visit with relevant quotes from the management plan. And the full parking management plan.


Parking has been a massive issue in the council's decade-long redevelopment of sports on the marshes, culminating in a commons inspector forbidding parking on east marsh. The fight to get the council to take sustainable travel seriously has required a huge effort over many years, and it is more than disappointing to find that nothing has apparently been learned.

The car park is now managed by sports facilities company GLL (now known as Better), who have a disgraceful record. From 2011 to October 2015, GLL allowed massive over-parking at the Marshes Centre, and it was only pressure from HMUG on the council which obliged them to change their ways. Though management is GLL's job, responsibility lies with the council, who made the planning application and who employ GLL. Between them they have had a year to get the required management system in place, and have failed dismally.

This situation is a real shame, because given that the car park was to be built, the designer did come up with something not too bad from a landscape and biodiversity point of view - no tarmac surfaces, keeping vehicles away from tree root areas, some internal planting. It's also good to see the cycle racks pretty much full: it would be even better to add some more.


HMUG has written to the head of parks and the chair of the planning sub-committee.


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Content copyright Hackney Marshes Users Group 2018-20. Text may be reproduced free, with acknowledgement, for non-profit purposes. For permission to use photos please contact HMUG.

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