At the moment it is very important that people write to the LVRPA and express their dismay at the inclusion of Porter’s Field Meadow (Leyton Marsh) in a ‘feasibility study’ for a new ice centre to replace the present facility.
Below are two pro forma letters that you could use to help draft your communication:
Subject: Lee Valley Ice Rink and Leyton Marsh
I have just read your recent letter to Councillor Ian Rathbone, attached for your reference, and am distressed on two counts.
Firstly, I have been campaigning alongside many local people throughout 2012 to protect Leyton Marsh and am horrified to discover that you are considering expanding the Lee Valley Ice Rink at its present site, which would inevitably put Leyton Marsh under threat of development. And this when staff at the LVRPA agreed that you would put out the following statement some time ago:
We are ensuring that the Olympic Delivery Authority returns the Porter’s Field section of the Marsh to public use by 15 October following their use of this area for a temporary basketball training venue during the Olympics.
Using part of the fee from the ODA we will implement a range of enhancements to Leyton Marsh, including improving access and conditions for wildlife, after consultation with local residents and user groups.
This doesn’t seem to tally with the wording in your letter to Councillor Rathbone:
We are of course mindful of the value of the Leyton Marsh as public open space and of the local sensibilities around any developments in the area and how they might impact on the marsh.
Secondly, your letter includes a list of projects which will benefit from the £65,000 received from the ODA for renting Leyton Marsh during 2012. It also states that, ‘Officers from LVRPA met with the Walthamstow Marshes & Filter Beds User Forum on Sunday 25th November to confirm the agreed projects and begin planning and delivery immediately’. I attended this meeting and wish to state that this is a false representation of the events. We did not confirm that we were happy with the list of projects. Most, if not all of us, wanted to see a number of projects removed from the list and we asked the officers present to return with more information (plans and budgets) for each project we liked the look of so that we can properly analyse which we believe should be supported. And we are, incidentally, still waiting for the minutes of that meeting and for the date of the next meeting which we agreed would take place in early 2013.
Please could you explain to me what on earth is going on? I worked very hard to convince fellow campaigners that we should try to work with the LVRPA to secure the future of the Lea Marshes as green open space in the wake of the Olympic fiasco, but this letter makes me feel very foolish. Am I the naive optimist and were the seasoned cynics right all along?
I look forward to hearing from you.
With best wishes
Subject: Lee Valley Ice Rink and Leyton Marsh
Dear Mr Dawson,
I am horrified to hear that LVRPA are including the existing Lea Bridge Rd site in the ice centre feasibility study. At every Walthomstow Marshes User Forum meeting, we discuss the eye sore that the ice centre is and how the whole area would be vastly improved if it were to go. Martin Page continually references it and talks about how it gives people the wrong impression of the marshes and is not welcoming. I would think it would be much better to relocate it within the Olympic Park where development has already taken place, not on or near Metropolitan Open Land or the SSSI. The area has not yet even been reinstated from the basketball courts and there is the essex wharf development and the bore holes for the exploratory study for the underground lines. This is meant to be a wild public space but it is being encroached upon at every angle. I plead with the LVRPA to remove the existing site from the study.
There is very strong feeling within the local community and beyond that Leyton Marsh will not be developed again. LVRPA will lose any remnants of a relationship it has left with local people if the existing area is considered.
In addition, in your letter to Cllr Rathbone, you reference the user forum meeting on 25th November. I was present at this meeting and your comments are entirely misleading as to the discussions that took place. We have yet to receive the minutes but when they are circulated, you will be able to get a sense of the reality of the discussions.
Hackney resident and marsh user
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