Thursday, 27 March 2014

More about the Trust

Lee Valley Leisure Trust Ltd

Dear Stella,

A disappointed thank you for replying to my email by means of sharing a response from the LVRPA intended for another constituent of yours. Apart from this being disrespectful and misguided, I have not been able to use it or forward it because you have left the personal data of that constituent written on the letter. As you already know, my original question to you was copied in to the Save Leyton Marsh group to whom I now wish to relay your reply.

My response to your email is:

  • No, I don't find the your response useful - as in paragraph above
  • it doesn't answer my questions because nowhere do you state your views as requested
  • I disagree with your faith in the LVRPA statement that it has no intention to privatise or lose public accountability.

Your reply has astounded me and I have doubts as to whether you have read the LVRPA report (A/4181/14) that was made public last month. In it the LVRPA has stated that it intends to 'maximise the return on land and property assets' and intends to set up an (unelected) Trust to whom it will delegate the running of many of its operations falling under this definition. This Trust will be beyond the direct reach of the democratic process. I am not even sure that it meets with current market and European regulations about 'fair competition' as to who will get the lucrative positions and contract. Item 16 of the report says LVRPA plans to go to the market in 3-5 years time to produce some kind of sell-off. While the stated charitable Industrial Provident Society is being portrayed as just a technical device to reduce tax liability (which in any case may fail in its aim), market floatation, which is what item 16 seems to be talking about, would actually be full-blooded privatisation.

Furthermore a Trust that simply consisted of the six major sporting facilities would be a sure fire loser because there would be no way it could generate enough income to keep itself going. Item 33 suggests it would lose £700k a year. So the farms, marinas and camp sites need to be included. Since the local ones do not make a profit it's hard to see how they can offer much help unless by commercialisation what LVRPA means is development.

At issue in all of this is the fate of our precious green open spaces: these will never, and should never, be profitable in the sense of providing a financial return to the LVRPA since they are open access and uncommercialised. That is, unless the trend of further encroachment turning open access land Metropolitan Open Land into so-called "destinations" continues. First on the LVRPA's list for "Destinisation" is 'Lea Bridge Road'. Obviously this location includes more than just the highway,  so I can only assume that the LVRPA must be aiming to do something to the MOL, ie Leyton Marsh and Lammas lands, bordering on it.

I appeal to you to get off your fence-sitting position, and investigate what the LVRPA really intends for this part of your constituency in the Lea Bridge Ward. What is your view about losing our green open spaces, together with the habitats they provide for bird, animal, insect and plant species, losing them to hotels, flats, more roadspace, pristine parkland etc simply in order to prop up the financing of the over-capitalisation we are left with as an Olympic legacy?

I challenge you to explain what you feel about the importance of biodiversity and how it should be prioritised and promoted in the 'green lung' of north-east London. We have a huge responsibility to future generations to preserve and protect what has been created already and to prevent the Lea Valley from being turned completely into a commercialised theme park run by an unelected body.

Yours sincerely,

Claire Weiss

Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 17:45:07 +0000
Subject: Fwd: Our Ref: RF/WEIS01003

Dear Claire

Thank you for your email about the recent contact we have had with the Lea Valley Park Authority (LVRPA)

As you know we contacted the LVPA at the request of Katy Andrews as she wanted clarification regarding the possible privatisation of the Authority. Please find a copy of thier response attached.

The LVPA have advised us that they have no intention of privatisation or losing public accountability. Please see the attached letter for details of how they hope to fund thier future work.

I hope this response is useful and answers the questions that you raised initially.

Should you require any further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to let me know.

kind regards


It is clearly disingenuous of LVRPA to say it is not seeking privatisation. There's no way LVRPA could run a hotel (it's not even allowed to do this under the Lea Valley Act) so that's privatisation for a start. Secondly the ultimate aim of turning the trust into an independently organised group must certainly be privatisation. And (as an aside) I seriously doubt that the Lea Valley Act allows LVRPA to do this work (the research required to create the independent organisation).

I don't oppose the privatisation of facilities like the ice rink (so long as the land it's on continues to belong to the people and the private organisation just gets a long term lease). What I do object to is council tax payers from south west London and other peripheral areas of the LVRPA catchment being forced to contribute to the profits of a private organisation by asset stripping of the Lea Valley Park.

Jonathan Brind

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