Dear Authority Members
I am writing to ask you to reject the Land and Property Strategy that will be presented to you on 19 January.
Over 3000 people have already signed a petition (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-council-s-plan-to-build-on-leyton-marshes) calling on the London Borough of Waltham Forest to scrap its plans to rezone a large swathe of green open space around The WaterWorks Centre - part of Leyton marshes - for housing, and I am asking you to play your part in ensuring our green open spaces are protected.
This land is Metropolitan Open Land, which means it should be protected from all inappropriate development, just like Green Belt land. Housing is not, and never will be, appropriate for Metropolitan Open Land.
This land is also part of the flood plain for the River Lea and as such needs to remain as open space so that the “once in 100 years” flood can be catered for and more importantly not risk the lives of people whose homes would be in the front line of any flood. I have seen the flood relief channel nearly overflow so the odds are on a flood while global warming continues.
The founding rationale of the Lee Valley Regional Park was to protect the Park as a green lung for London, and all Authority Members have a duty to uphold this. At no point during the consultations about a new ice rink was anyone told that it would be funded by selling off land presently held for recreational use. To do so would subvert the clear intention of the Act of Parliament with which the Park was founded.
Under the Lee Valley Regional Park Act, the Park Authority was given financial independence by virtue of the power to draw a precept from the GLC (now London boroughs) and Essex and Hertfordshire, the power to borrow and the power to make charges. In addition, it can receive contributions to its capital facilities from third party bodies. Up until now, the Park Authority has lived within its means, limiting its plans to what it can afford from the resources available to it. To depart from this funding model, by selling off recreational land for development, goes against the principles upon which the Park was established.
If the Park Authority concludes that it cannot afford to build a new ice centre without resorting to selling off recreational land for development, then a new ice centre is currently beyond the Park Authority’s means.
Furthermore, it is disingenuous to argue that the fact that The Waterworks Centre is underused is justification enough for closing it. It is underused only because those managing it have let it steadily run into the ground over the last few years, and have resisted all suggestions from local people about how it can be made a vibrant community hub.
Please protect the future of the Lee Valley Regional Park, and reject the Land and Property Strategy that will be presented to you on 19 January.