Hackney Marshes Planning Application and Inquiry

Save Lea Marshes and many others have presented objections to Hackney Council's planning application to build two extensive car parks on Hackney Marshes and to put a cricket pavilion on presently green open space.

Details of the plan are included on our blog here.

In response to the plans, we set up a petition that we would like people to sign against the plans, asking that the Council locate these very necessary facilities for the sports teams at North Marsh, along with the car park, on the footprint of the existing changing rooms and car park (a brownfield site). We would really appreciate if you could share this petition with your members and supporters.

The only reason the pavilion will be put on green space is the demand the Council are making for a 68 space car park on North Marsh (with 5 coach spaces). This will take up the whole of the space at present occupied by the semi-derelict changing rooms and car park and push the pavilion out onto the Marsh. Even the sports clubs running a campaign to get the pavilion built in accordance with Hackney’s application have acknowledged that they did not demand this size car park. We believe the present footprint can accommodate the pavilion and meet the parking needs of the sports clubs and that Hackney should abide by its policy of discouraging car use by limiting car parking and developing alternative transport connections.

Hackney has included a second car park with 57 spaces (which does not include any new changing facilities to replace those that were demolished) on East Marsh in the same application, even though it is in a completely different location. This car park has already been constructed without common land or planning consent. It was built on the remains of the Olympics coach park which should have been completely removed under the restoration plans. Hackney claims this is allowed under the Olympics Act which enabled the ODA to make use of common land without needing PINS consent. Once the land is returned to Hackney this consent is required for any developments.

We are concerned that Hackney has other reasons for wanting these extensive car parks. Hackney already has a large car park at the Hackney Marshes Centre and the multi-storey car park at the Olympic Media Centre is also on common land which is part of Hackney Marshes. Hackney has stated that it wishes to use the Marshes for events in the future, along the lines of the Radio One event in 2012 which did extensive damage to sports fields. Plainly extensive car parking will be useful in achieving that purpose.

We asked our supporters to object to the Planning Inspectorate about these plans since they require PINS consent. The Planning Inspectorate has now announced that there will be a public inquiry into the planning application. Public inquiries take place when there has been a large number of objections or when the issues of the case are complex. We are looking forward to the chance to put our case to the Inspectorate, however we are just local people and the Council has hired planning consultants FirstPlan to assist with pushing through the inquiry at an expense to the public of £23,000.

We are concerned with not just losing our common land to unnecessary car parks but also the increasing urbanisation and commercialisation of the marshes, represented no better than in Hackney’s decision to display an enormous advertisement for Adidas trainers all along the front of the Hackney Marshes Centre.

Members of the public can apply to speak at the Planning Inspectorate inquiry and we hope Sustainable Hackney and its supporters will join us in attending and opposing these plans. We will run our petitions up until the final decision on the planning application.

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