Hackney Marshes Users Group
|North Car Park 2017
Council goes for 25% more parking at North Marsh
Hackney Council wants to change the agreed parking regime for the new sports pavilion on north Hackney Marsh, increasing parking spaces by 25%.
In June 2015, Hackney got planning permission to replace the north pavilion and its car park, plus a car park on east marsh, with several conditions. But then in August a Common Land Inspector turned down the east marsh car park.
One of the planning conditions ('Condition 9' in the documents) was that private car parking must be reduced over the first five years of use. Condition 9 was introduced at the insistence of Transport for London. Now LBH wants to get rid of it. This requires a supplementary planning application, which they published in April (without telling HMUG).
LBH say they've met Condition 9 by cancelling (under duress) the east car park, reducing total proposed parking across the whole marsh. This seems reasonable until you look a bit more closely.
Removing Condition 9 will produce a 25 per cent increase in parking spaces on north marsh. There are now 54 marked spaces: there will be 68. Even Condition 9 will leave 58 spaces – and only after 5 years.
Cancelling east marsh doesn't deprive cricketers and footballers using north marsh pavilion of any parking space. The east marsh location is across the river at the other side of the marshes - as far away as you can get – so they would never have used it. To claim that it should affect numbers at north marsh is just playing with spreadsheets in an office.
Car parking at north marsh involves more disruption to marsh users than any other parking location. The east marsh location was well out of the way; the Marshes Centre car park at Homerton Road is much bigger, but it opens directly off a main road and doesn't cross any paths. Bringing motor vehicles over Cow Bridge onto north marsh:
creates a traffic hazard to children and pets: the car park access route crosses the only footpath
pollutes the air with fuel particles and raised dust
creates noise pollution in a peaceful space
impacts on the marsh's nature conservation area
obstructs other users at weekends, the busiest time
increases traffic in local residential streets
So, just counting parking spaces doesn't give anything like the full picture of the effects.
History of neglect
Management of parking on the marshes has long been a disgrace. From 2011 to October 2015, number limits in car parks were ignored by drivers, the council, and the sports facility management company GLL. Instead of nudging users towards sustainable travel, the council let car use run amok. So parking demand remained high when it should have been persuaded downwards. If the council had made GLL manage parking properly, it wouldn't be asking to increase spaces now.
LBH policy is to charge for off-street parking, yet it refuses to apply this to green spaces. But charging, reducing spaces and enforcing limits, are the only measures likely to persuade users to change their habits.
Left to themselves, LBH and their facilities manager GLL would have continued to pay no more than lip service to sustainable travel, and if they get Condition 9 lifted, we can say goodbye to their having to take it seriously in future.
What the marshes need is
progressive reduction in parking space
charges designed to encourage change
council support for sports clubs in moving to more sustainable travel such as minibuses.
If Condition 9 stays, there's some hope we can get the council to take such ideas seriously.
The proposal was passed by the Planning Sub-Committee on 6 September 2017.
Council's planning permission document (with conditions)
Application documents for the 2015 permission on Hackney Council's website. Application no 2014/2582.
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