CAR PARKS - for a Council that prides itself on being a premier cycling borough and not providing car parks in its leisure and entertainment areas - the London Borough of Hackney (LBH) sure wants to put cars on our green spaces. Yes folks, along with the resurgence of "The Generation Game" on TV, the Council wants to play "Double Your Car Parks". Putting through plans, with not just one but two car parks - reinstating the East Marsh Car Park (that wonderful legacy of the Olympics) and not restoring it to green as planned. SLM campaigned to stop them just leaving the car park space be, so now an application is being slipped in with the North Marsh Sports Pavilion and its extended car park. This week's "Hackney Gazette" carries the story by Shekha Vyas on page 2. To view the new combined planning permission application go to http://idox.hackney.gov.uk/
PRIVATE INTEREST - we have found out that LBH are using a private consultancy firm to help them with the above plans called Firstplan. This agency, recently worked on the Mabley Green application and were also involved in the Hackney Sports Centre building (A.K.A. "The Rusty Box"). "Ah, ha!" I hear the more informed of you thinking aloud - this is the building which was supposed to have provided the sports changing facilities to replace the old pavilion. Yes, that's right, except that the architects concentrated on the income earning recreation area, so not enough space left for adequate changing rooms. Also enough space for a car park, which is only ever full at weekends and is only 10 minutes walk from the pavilion site.
I digress - Firstplan's website describes its own key challenges as "Restrictive policy designations, working within a tight timescale to submit applications" and its role as: "Leading pre-application discussions, co-ordination of planning applications including liaising with the professional leaders and reviewing the application documentation in liaison with planning officers and statutory consultees, including the GLA". So now you know.
SECRET CINEMA - there is an interesting letter in this week's "Hackney Gazette" (page 10) echoing the article last week (which, apologies, I forgot to include), concerning Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs). The particular issue here is the use of Hackney Downs for a cinema project on common land, extending further than SLM members believed it should. Some information was denied by LBH on the grounds of "commercial interests". The author of the letter contests this.
STATION TO STATION - Following the dogged work of a local resident in getting her local Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy to ask questions about the Lea Bridge Station and Crossrail 2, Ms Creasy has had replies from Transport for London to the effect that: (a) Crossrail2 and Lea Bridge Station (due to be completed in December 2015), are at this stage being dealt with separately. (b) re. Crossrail 2, the portal tunnel should be south of Tottenham Hale; not affect the SSSI and its siting will be depending on which of the stations in Hackney (Hackney Central or Dalston), gets chosen. The correspondence also suggest that the Upper Lea Valley area will be one of the biggest new sites for housing and jobs with a projected figure of 2m new inhabitants by the 2030s.
LOVE THE LEA/RIVERCITIES EVENT - for those of you who missed the event last Sunday - particularly the Rivercities performance art project, there should be another chance to see a longer performance later this year (we will keep you posted). The event as a whole provided a useful focus on the health and life of the River Lea and some ideas to ponder on as to what people can practically do to help keep the river clean e.g. not flush needless chemicals into the sewage system.
Our friends over at Belair Park have sent us information that the London Borough of Southwark is considering a new park for its residents in Camberwell. Deadline for support is 24 August. see www.southwark.gov.uk/Greendale and more information can be gained from www.friendsofgreendale.org.uk
Nearer our patch, the residents of London Fields are requesting donations to build a green space on the Morland Estate. The project needs £10k towards revamping, planting, putting in a small orchard and play facilities. The idea is to engage children. Target deadline is October 20 to donate go to www.spacehive.com/
The Mabley Green Users Group will be meeting in the back room of the Adam & Eve pub in Homerton Road at 7.00 p.m. onTuesday 26 August and they will also be running a Free Garden Club (with free refeshments), for adults and children 4-6 p.m. every Thursday. The site is near the A12 Flyover. see Mabley Green's new website www.mableygreen.org if you want to book a gardening session.
SLM will be meeting at 7.00 on Monday 25 August at the Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road. The Hackney Marshes car parks are sure to be on the menu.