At Marsh Lane, Leyton E10, the hundreds of kids and parents going daily to and from the newly-built Lammas School currently have the advantage of a dedicated pedestrian-only bridge over the Dagenham Brook. This leaves the parallel roadway bridge clear for cyclists and the few cars that access the three cottages on the eastern section of Marsh Lane.
In adjacent photograph you can see pupils and adults making good use of the bridge, and the photo above shows the end of the school afternoon as the kids stream homewards up Marsh Lane having walked across the pedestrian bridge.
Waltham Forest Council want to change all that, and put the pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle traffic back together on one new replacement bridge. To this end they will demolish both existing crossings.
Nobody has asked for this, it has been foisted on the community as the flagship project that will turn the former Marsh Lane Fields into a ‘Park’. Disastrously, this is yet more low-level encroachment of a formerly green open space running the risk of inviting more so-called development later on.
A contract for this work has been let and began on Monday 30th April. The work will involve the excavation of 110 tonnes of soil from the adjoining area. The programme of works has not yet been issued, but the Council’s Highways Department has already provided for Marsh Lane to be closed during the works.
A Council spokesperson has admitted that the access needs of the schools during the closures – including not only Lammas School but also St Joseph Nursery, St Joseph Infants and the Willowbrook Primary – have not yet been worked out. The Council has a choice: do the works now and disturb the schools’ summer terms, or do the works later on and block access to the Marsh Lane Fields (unilaterally renamed ‘Leyton Jubilee Park’) during the school summer holidays.
The spokesperson for the Council has further admitted that they don’t know why the three properties in Marsh Lane were not consulted in the first place about the proposed bridge works.
They also plan to wastefully demolish the set of steps shown above, which were installed, together with a bench, as recently as July 2012. The associated shrubbery planted at the time has been sadly neglected and much of it has dried up, as if wanting to be pulled up and destroyed.
All this is going to cost £250,000, and yet the Council has recently made hundreds of its employees redundant, and runs its vital services, where it has not closed them, on extremely tight staffing levels.
What would you rather see £250,000 spent on in Waltham Forest? Tweet your ideas @LeytonMarsh!