Saturday, 5 April 2014

SLM Weekly Digest 4-3-14

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes.  We're a group of people local to the Lea Valley who are trying to surmount the enormous task of trying to keep local green spaces vibrant, green and healthy for local wildlife and people.  Do look at our Website 
Firstly, as I had to produce this digest a bit earlier last week, I missed coverage in both the "Hackney Gazette" and "Waltham Forest Guardian" relating to our campaigning over the planned sports pavilion in Hackney and the Leyton Marsh boating and land stripping issues in Waltham Forest.
This weekend the newly "reborn" Olympic Park rises again.  There was a very good article in this Thursday's "The Guardian" by Oliver Wainwright p.11, critical of the architecture of Stratford and the way the new park was more an adjunct of Westfield Shopping City than of the rest of local area.  Interesting picture of children's play area accompanying it - with wooden posts very familiar to anyone who lives near the Lea Bridge Roundabout in Hackney, where there are similar posts.  We can only guess that these posts may be used to execute protesters who object to such "landscaping"!  There is further coverage in another pull-out in the "Hackney Gazette this week for anyone who is interested...
BOATERS - since last week's SLM Digest, the proposed meeting on the 6 April has been cancelled.  There was a meeting on Wednesday evening organised by the boaters.  Some people have signed up to new arrangements, whereas others haven't had the offer.  However, SLM activists are still following up on the main issue of whether the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority are legally entitled to have issued these mooring changes in the first place and whether they have proof of ownership of the Leyton Marsh stretch of the river.  There is also the question of the towpath itself - which should be considered as a right of way and not have any obstructions.
NESTING BIRDS RISKED - alarmingly, scrub and vegetation along Orient Way from the southern end of Mash Lane Fields up to Marsh Lane was spotted recently.  SLM members investigated, being particularly concerned because it is nesting season such work should not be carried out under the 1981 Countryside Act.  The Aboricultural and Wildlife Officer of L.B. Waltham Forest was contacted and said that anyone seeing similar work being carried out - particularly during nesting season should ask the contractor (when it is safe to speak to them i.e. when they are not operating machines), whether they have a "Site Specific Risk Assessment".  In this particular incidence, we understand that the firm carrying out the work is a newly appointed contractor and that the work was requested by the local Police, due to allegations of people living rough in the area.  Thanks Plod!
CLIP-CLOP ... sound of horses hooves ride again.  LVRPA are advertising trekking "around" Leyton Marsh, we do not know whether this means within the confines of the Riding Stables or on the rest of the M.O.L. land.  SLM have made enquiries, particularly on behalf of dog walkers.  It has also been noticed that certain access routes have been cleared with pathways seemingly wider than usual....  Meanwhile, no mention of riding in Waterworks Centre area....
Talking of the Waterworks Centre - the "What I Love About the Marshes", Photo Exhibition is now up there and there will be the official open evening this coming Wednesday.  Can't wait to see all the fabulous photos that I've been hearing about....
HedgeHerb events - if you are quick you might like to attend and event happing tonight at Ye Old Rose & Crown from 7.00 p.m. with various singing and poetry going on.  Sunday 6th there is also an event at Vestry House Museum, 2-3 Vestry Lane, with a talk by a medical herbalist.  More events coming up too.  Contact 
Beating the Bounds is happening on Sunday 25 May in the afternoon meeting outside Princess Of Wales and the Sunday after their is an organised foraging walk taking place led by Joan.  (Will update on both these events nearer the time).

NEXT SLM MEETING - 7 April at 7.00 at the Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road - new people always welcomed

Lea or Lee?

1. "Lea" or "Lee"?
The River LEA flows through the LEA Valley.
The spelling "Lee" was first used by Parliament in the 16th century, when it was proposed to improve navigability of the river, and by convention "Lee" is now the preferred spelling when referring to man-made interference or "development" in the Lea Valley area.

The naming of the Regional Park in 1967 used the "Lee" spelling. It is incorrect, but that is how the LVRPA's name is spelt.

The River, Valley and Marshes are always and only spelt "Lea" (although the Lea Navigation, where the waterway is a man-made channel rather than the improved river, can be spelt either way).

Hope that's clear!!

2. Leyton Lammas Lands.
ALL of Leyton, Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes - and some other land as well, like Hackney Downs and London Fields, was Lammas Land, i.e. subject to a regime of half year rotational haymaking and common grazing. 

Lammas Day (1st August) was the start of the grazing season, hence the name.
ALL of Leyton Marshes were dislammased in 1905 under an Act of Parliament 
whictransformed the 
governance of Leyton from a rural Parish into an "Urban District Council". Such Acts were usually known as "Corporation Acts".

The 1904 UDC Act "commuted" (i.e. exchanged) the right of grazing for the right of free public access in perpetuity, in accordance with public request, since there was little grazing going on by then (although the northern part was still used for informal grazing of goats and horses until about 1911).

Walthamstow Marshes were officially dislammased by Parliament in 1935 with out objection, but in fact remained as grazing land up to the 1950s and possibly later.

When the Regional Park was set up in 1967 its boundary was unaccountably drawn through rather than around Leyton Marshes, severing Marsh Lane Fields.

The part of Leyton Marshes within the boundary, now owned by the LVRPA, was compulsorily purchased in 1971, thereby automatically negating the covenant enshrining the commuted Lammas Rights.

Local people unaware of the law on CPO have refused to accept this, some even wrongly accusing the Lammas Lands Defence Committee of having "sold" the right of free access in perpetuity, which it was never in their powers to do anyway.

Marsh Lane Fields remain outside the Regional Park's boundary and are vested in the Council on behalf of the parishioners of Leyton.

They are not a "park", but remain (under the Corporation Act's covenant) as unenclosed marshland.

I hope this clarifies those issues.
Katy Andrews.

Statement by concerned Boaters

Concerned Boaters

SLM Weekly Digest 26-3-14

This is the weekly digest of the Save Lea Marshes Campaign (SLM).  We are an open group of local people in the Lea Valley area, trying to keep the marshes green and nature rich for people to enjoy.  This week's digest is a little earlier than usual and a little briefer, due to other commitments.  However, there is no lack of things going on - quite the contrary!  Do look at the SLM website  (you know it makes sense!).
MOORINGS DEBACLE -  rumours that have been swirling around for a while have now surfaced, with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority notifying some boaters and not others of proposed changes to the moorings near Essex Wharf/Oxbow Island.  This is why the towpath has been cleared of vegetation etc.  Representatives of the boating fraternity attended SLM's regular meeting on Monday night, where we agreed  support and to having a wider debate at a meeting to be arranged locally on Sunday 6 April.  This is not only part of increasing stabs of privatisation but also, we think, ill-thought through and not in keeping with the LVRPA's statutes.  There is a full statement stating the case on our website   An interesting reference to look at is 
ALL HALE HELL.. - most of the redevelopment plans at Tottenham Hale got approval this week.  However, there is still time to object to plans over the Hale Wharf section of the development.  Even the LVRPA have raised concerns about the impact on the regional park and the wetlands (so it must be bad).  There was an "arts" feature in Tuesday's Evening Standard called "Tottenham Turnaround" pp-36-37.  
CAMPING WITHOUT GLAMPING - we have been awaiting news of a licence for the "campsite" established last year to thunderous applause (not) and overwhelming use (not), on the old Golf Course, next to the Waterworks Café.  We seem to recall this was a necessary part of the planning application passed by London Borough of Waltham Forest.  Ho Hum!
DEBRIS OR NOT DEBRIS - SLM members have noted a lot of debris on the east bank of the Lea Navigation, downstream of King's Head Bridge, near the Ice Centre - in the river and on the bank.  A complaint has been lobbed at the LVRPA, whose responsibility it evidently is.
BEATING THE BOUNDS - coming soon (25 May), keep the date in your diary - there just may be some added attractions this year...
PHOTO EXHIBITION - opening on the first week of April and officially launched on 9 April.  Do come along to the Waterworks Café and have a look at the amazing photographs, showing just how much we love the marshes.

NEXT SLM MEETING - back at the Hackney venue (we alternate between Hackney and Waltham Forest), the Princess of Wales at 7.00 p.m. on Monday 7 April, all welcome.  Even if you can't make our meetings, keep vigilant whilst you are out on the marshes and let us know of any issues.