Monday, 13 June 2016

SLM Digest 26-5-16

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Save Lea Marshes is an open group of  local people concerned to keep the marshes and green spaces of the Lea Valley open and green for wildlife and local people.  For further information go to

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SLM Weekly Digest
Keep Our Marshes Open and Green!

Yellow irises can be spotted right now on Walthamstow Marshes

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes.  We are an open group of people living in the Lea Valle!y Area concerned to keep the marshes and green spaces in good condition for wildlife and local people now and in the future and to ward off any unnecessary, money-grabbing developments that could be a material and visual threat to this important natural landscape.  To find out more about our work see our (our old blog is also still running)

Sometimes when we’ve been out talking to local people and campaigning, people say that they love the marshes but ask, “What threats are you talking about?"  They seem unaware of the unfortunate fact we cannot take for granted that these beautiful spaces are here forever. Instead what we see is before us are the marshes being gradually nibbled away and devalued.  Well, if anyone needs a 'wake-up call', this week’s digest should stir you into action.

THREAT 1 – the proposed Ice Centre redevelopment, which the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority would prefer to build on Leyton Marsh on the ice of very thin arguments. You can see our latest blogposts on this topic, here and here

THREAT 2 – we’ve news that 97 Leabridge Road is going to be discussed at Waltham Forest Planning Committee at 7.00 p.m. on the 7th June.  This involves demolition of buildings on the old industrial site and the proposed building of a mixed development space of 300 residencies comprising 81 x 1 beds; 178 x 2 beds, 28 x 3 beds; 1 x 4 beds and 12 studios stacked between 5-18 storey blocks plus retail, car and other amenity space.  (If this goes through we might have to change the lyrics of the famous musical hall song about Hackney Marshes and substitute: “If it wasn’t for the tower blocks in between”).

THREAT 3 – a notice was put up by Hackney Council, proposing changes to the car parking plans associated with the Sports Pavilion on North Marsh agreed by the Planning Inspectorate last year.  Placement of the notice and the length of time given to respond are questionable but so too is the apparent increase in vehicle spaces since the electric vehicle charging points recommended by TFL have been rejected. Hackney Council are applying to themselves for permission to remove the condition to reduce the parking spaces as previously agreed with TFL. SLM are on the case.

THREAT 4 – notice spotted at the Ice Centre car park for a Car Wash to set up shop – PURLEEZE!

WRONG FORMULA – you may recall in a recent digest an item about Formula E racing in Battersea Park?  An opposition group formed, crowdfunded the necessary amount and went to Judicial Review.  It seems that the matter has been settled for this year, with the Formula E folk agreeing to restore the park to 'pre-March 2015 condition' and to put funding into future restoration.  So it seems money talks or at least goes VRRROOM!  Let’s hope that this decision does not affect future legal decisions.

MESS IN THE RIVERS – good news that the London Waterkeeper’s group has been granted Charitable Status by the Charity Commission and is launching a new campaign to research and work towards improving London’s sewage polluted rivers.  “Riversides”, will focus on the fact that so many rivers that flow through parks are contaminated with human effuluent and present a public health risk.  Send comments and questions or generally find out more

FUNDING - our friends at Edgefund are launching their sixth round of funding with a deadline of Sunday 3 July.  The idea is to provide funding for groups who may be don’t use social media or who would not get traditional sources of funding to get some help with making an application see  and to apply

RESEARCH REQUEST - we were delighted to hear from a Geography Graduate student, preparing a dissertation on the Upper Lea Valley (and Walthamstow Wetlands), seeking views on the various us purposes that local people use the green space for and how individuals and communities see its future.  If you would like to be interviewed (June-July), please contact


Locally, a story in the Waltham Forest Guardian:  “A fence will not be built along a stretch of the M11 where 800 40 year old trees were removed despite noise and other complaints at Fiddlers Hamlet in Epping Forest”.  Instead timber fencing, willow screening and new trees will be planted.

In the Hackney Gazette, I noticed an intriguing advertisement on page 5 from the Department for Communities and Local Government see 

There has been a lot of coverage this week, particularly in The Guardian about unlived in housing blocks; The Tower in Vauxhall  is a good demonstration of a building owned by overseas investors and kept practically empty.  Today (26 May), The Guardian, follows up on the story on pp.1,12,13 and letters (see particularly letter from the Waterloo Community Development Group), p.32.  Other stories are p.13, National section “Forecast: Population falls in north as capital looks to house 10m”. Buried on p.36 under the weather is “Plantwatch” on the late spring burst of wildflowers but the decline in meadow plants due to industrial farming practices.

POLICE CELL BY DATE  - if you remember a while back, the digest mentioned the Department of Education’s plan to put a school into the old premises of the Mare Street Police Station, well it’s surfaced again with a change in response to complaints about the effect it would have on local traffic.  Latest plans suggest putting a bus layby in St. John’s Church Yard.  If you think this is a bad idea and not a “fair cop”, you need to write to Hackney Planning by 1 June


This Saturday sees the launch of Mabley Green’s regular gardening club 11am on Saturdays, bring enthusiasm, family and friends to tackle weekly jobs.  Approach, from the Lee Conservancy Road side.  Excellent for keen gardeners with no garden and those with no garden experience keen to learn ..

After you have finished your stint of gardening you can jog over to Abney Park for the Spring Fun Day (12.00 – 4.00 p.m.), where SLM will be having a stall focused on the “Keep Hackney Pesticide Free” and Ice Centre campaigns.  So come and see us and get involved. There will be lovely activities on offer too, check out

NEXT SLM MEETING – Monday 30th May at 7.30pm in the Princess of Wales pub – we’ve decided to forget that it is a Bank Holiday and meet anyway seeing as there's lots to do to protect our marshes. New people always welcome.
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