Wednesday, 16 December 2015

SLM Digest 11-12-15

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This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes. We are an open group of people living in the Lea Valley Area concerned to keep unnecessary building development off of the marshes and other local green spaces and keep the Lea Valley for nature, for people for the future.  Please check our website for more information and to visit our Shop page before our beautiful calendars with photos taken by local photographers run out:

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SLM Weekly Digest

Keep Our Marshes Open and Green!

ICE WARNING – yesterday I attended the first “Drop-in” session held at the Ice Rink concerning the first stage of consultations about the future of the current rink on Leyton Marsh/Lea Bridge Road.  The first thing I have to say is that there was a lack of a notice on the board in front of the ice rink and a lot of the 15 or so people in the room seemed to have been fetched from the rink...The second is that like the Lee Valley Regional Park “workshops” this was more of a Powerpoint presentation with the opportunity to ask questions.  We heard the usual buzzwords such as “strategic” but a few new ones like any new centre must be “Ice-focused” – which means the priority is ice activities first, with less multi-purpose facilities and other types of regular events such as concerts – although the occasional one would not be ruled out.  CEO Shaun Dawson and his wing man from the new Trust – Alan (who sat silently), explained the three stage process – first, research (although they have been working on it for at least two years); take a report to the Board and then if the board approves do the feasibility study and liaise with other bodies e.g. L.B.W.F. and see if the funding can be gained as well as further public consultation...

After outlining the options – refurb the current one as is; add on another rink; complete rebuild on site or move it to another part of the Lea Valley e.g. Hertfordshire or near Eaton Manor.  The rink would not be mega Olympic size or quality but would likely be of a standard the next stage down.  Being surrounded by a roomful of the ice skating fraternity I waited whilst other people asked questions such as “Wouldn’t it be better to site it in Stratford for transport reasons?”  Mr Dawson said that the opening of the Lea Bridge Station next year might improve matters if the Ice Rink was to stay at its current location; “What would happen to the current centre whilst the new one was built if it was on the same site?”  (“Good question” said Mr. Dawson – indicating perhaps he hadn’t thought about it).  In all, people wanted a good, reasonably priced centre that would accommodate a range of skating sports and the general public to pootle about on and were most concerned about the transport and particularly the traffic on the Lea Bridge Road.  So, having heard not a thing approximating the word “environment” I asked what was the thinking on environmental considerations, including powering and insulating the building.  “Good question”, said Mr. Dawson again.  We will, of course be involving the planners in the physical location at an early stage..”  I was looking for some sort of clue as to what Mr. Dawson favoured, when someone asked him that directly and he said he would favour a twin pad (2 ice rinks to you and me), but apart from his remark about the new Overground station did not elaborate further.  The timetable if the report is agreed would be a feasibility study to be completed (by one of two consultancy firms) by summer next year and the process of building, including an approximated 18 months of building time could take a few years.  There is another opportunity to attend a “drop-in” session on Saturday at the Waterworks in Lea Bridge Road from 10.30-11.30.  (Note, if you are coming from the Waltham Forest direction you won’t have to pass by the garish Xmas Tree World next to the Ice Rink, lucky you!)

SLM is holding some of its own “drop-in” sessions at the usual meeting space the Princess of Wales pub (we’ve booked a table at the back on the road side of the pub) from 7.30pm on Monday 14 December – for anyone who wants to come along and talk about this issue – in addition to a regular agenda.

MINI HOLLAND – almost a regular feature in the digest... Waltham Forest Scrutiny Committee were supposedly scrutinizing  the £15m Lea Bridge Road part of the £27m (does m stand for “misery” perhaps?) Mini Holland Scheme.  There are 30,000 vehicles and 1,500 cyclists using the road per day but, as raised at the Neighbourhood Scrutiny Committee, no-one has thought about motorcycles.  (Though I thought Boris had given the go-ahead to use cycle lanes in London, but I may be wrong).  Crucially they are recommending a 20 m.p.h. speed limit along the road.  (Are they having a larf?  It is mostly 2 m.p.h. at the moment!).  Responses to the consultation only resulted in 1,300 people and 175 businesses, which is much less than the daily vehicle total above.  Full story on the Waltham Forest Guardian website

MARSH MASH-UP -  an SLM member was walking by Marsh Lane Nature reserve on Monday and to his horror found that there was no access to the nature reserve and it was being dug up for “essential works”,  putting in new surfaced paths and not on the periphery either, right on the reserve.  SLM members are also concerned about any imported soil here.  Am sure we’ll come back to this one.

EAST MARSH GATES – correspondence is still going on about putting in new scaled down gates to replace the Stalag ones currently there.  Hackney Officers believe Planning Inspectorate permission is not needed – SLM disagrees...

WETLANDS TWEET –  a bit of light relief – “Wetlands Steve” tweeted “a kingfisher film #walthamstow wetlands on 4 December @wildwalthamstow

TIP OF THE WEEK – Hackney Herbs @hackneyherbal have tweeted some tips from @permacultureMag about how to look after herbs in the winter months

PETITION OF THE WEEK – the Council for the Protection of Rural England alerted us to a petition which closes at time of writing about the Government’s proposals that will effect environmental justice but we are in time to another of their calls for action:  Hounslow Heath – there are plans to X12 the size of the current car park to 600 vehicles and block-off large areas for private events – if you don’t like that idea you should   What happens in Hounslow today..  I wonder if anyone has thought about the impact of water run-off, particularly in the light of the current floods up North?

IN THE PRESS – masses this week.  Hackney-ites should just go out and buy a Gazette or look at it on line – there’s front page news on the London Fields road plan debacle; page 2 on the Bishopsgate Goods Yard (Boris looms large like the proposed buildings) and the profit Hackney is making in car parking fees that funds the Freedom Pass scheme; Zen and the art of reducing air pollution on page 7; letters on page 16 feature Crossrail and plans for Fish Island down the River Lea and on page 18 the story of Clyde the rescued cat.

Private Eye -  11 December page 36 also has an alarming story on:  “Canals and rivers run by the Environmental Agency are so neglected that boating on them is becoming unsafe”, says the Inland Waterways Association.  Adding, that they are seriously under-funded.  Meanwhile, the largest canal body the Canals and River Trust who are responsible for the River Lea are busy selling off assets – including a 1.1m. strip of water space from the eastern side of the River Lea (at the side of a large property development) – I think we need to establish from the Trust, where this is exactly before we get to thinking it might be Essex Wharf.

Tuesday’s Guardian has a few stories reflecting the current newsworthiness of the Climate Change Conference but a story on page 11 caught my eye:  “Tall but not too loud: the City’s riposte to the Shard revealed” with a quote from Eric Parry in his book Context:  Architecture and the Genius of Place, “An orgy of tall buildings will transform and overwhelm London” (sounds like Bishopsgate).

EVENTS -  our friends at Mabley Green will be planting Rowan, Holly and Hazel trees onMabley Green on Saturday 19 December – meet at the Wally Foster Centre, Homerton Road, E9 at 12.00 and yomp across the road (dress for gardening), the idea is to create a source of food and a protection from the noise and pollution of the A12.  Were told that their plans are progressing on the Orchard and that they have teamed up with other Urban Orchard experts:

The Mill continues to go from strength to strength – this month’s news is that there is an on line guide called “Grow your Idea” about the Mill’s development progress and this is also available as a £1 (Secret Santa Present?) from the reception.  For other present ideas there is on offer 10 copies of an elephant illustration made at The Mill by Janet Cheeseman at a cost of £15.00.  There is also a Kids Arts Club Exhibition launching at 5.00-6.30 p.m. on 10 December, but continuing until 6 February.  If you would like to become a member and support The Mill the fees range from £10 for unwaged to £32 for family groups to £100 for corporates per year.  Further details:

Sat 12th December - Tree Planting at Abney Park Nature Reserve
: Tree Musketeers and volunteers will be planting two native black poplars to provide continuity of habitat and an oak tree:10am -12pm Sat. Meet 10am at the main gates on Stoke Newington High Street.

Sunday 20th December - Tree Planting on South Millfields. Tree Musketeers will be planting about 12 trees in and around the south Millfields arboretum. 10.30am - 2pm Sat. Find them in the park. MAP

Monday 21st December - Tree Musketeers Solstice Gathering: Meet the musketeers at the lovely Hackney Community Tree Nursery. Bring food & drink to share by the bonfire. 6-9pm MAP

Tuesday 29th December – Formative Pruning Workshop –Stoke Newington Common: Help TM and Stoke Newington Common Users' Group manage wildlife hedges and prune young trees. 10am-2pm. MAP

New Years' Day Guided Tree Walk in Abney Park Nature Reserve. Join the Tree Musketeers for the annual New Years' Day guided tree walk around the amazing Abney Park Cemetery Nature Reserve. 1st January 2016, 2-4pm. Meet 2pm at the main Stoke Newington High Street Gates. MAP 

 And to end this seasonal and long edition of this week’s Digest – we’ll be taking a rest over the festive season and start up again in the New Year.  However, if anything urgent comes up we’ll let you know.  

Don’t forget to come and visit our stall at the Abney Park Winter Fair on Saturday 11am-3 p.m. and pick up a copy of our gorgeous calendar; come along on Monday to the drop-in and meeting on Monday 14 December at the Princess of Wales at 7.30and be vigilant if you are out on the marshes over the Xmas period.  It looks like 2016 will be a busy year but from all at SLM we wish you a happy festive season, whatever that may mean to you.
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