URGENT: PLEASE Object to Planning Inspectorate About Hackney Council’s Plans

Hackney Council has to get consent from the Planning Inspectorate to build its new car parks and pavilion on the Common Land of Hackney Marsh. It’s vital to get as many objections in as possible by 12 September. So we are putting an urgent appeal out to all our supporters to please email this by the 12th. It won’t take long but may help save precious green space.

A high level of public concern and controversy may lead to a lot of difficult questions being asked of the Council and hopefully a public enquiry.

We are including points against both East Marsh Car Park and the North Marsh Pavilion – these are both in the one application so should go on the same email.

We are asking people to send emails to: commonlandcasework@pins.gsi.gov.uk .

Subject: Hackney Marsh consultation response

Dear Planning Inspectorate,

I am objecting to the granting of consent for the current proposals by the London Borough of Hackney for works on Hackney Marsh Common Land.

[I am a local user of Hackney Marsh.]

[Optionally add what’s most important to you here about loss of green space/lack of benefits/harm etc.]

I agree with following points:

 

East Marsh car park

  1. It will result in no benefit to the Common or advantage to the majority of its users, who either live locally or do not have or choose not to use cars.
  2. There are good transport connections locally for visitors from outside the neighbourhood and no justification for encouraging additional unnecessary car use. The Transport Statement is out of date, and ignores post-Olympic connections to the major transport interchange at Stratford East.
  3. Environmental impacts from encouragement of car access onto the common include: air pollution; risk of illegal vehicle access and fly-tipping
  4. There are no residential roads nearby so not providing this will not cause any parking pressure impact on neighbours.
  5. It will mean a permanent and continuous loss of a natural area of the Common with a negative effect on all users, while only being used for very limited periods (Sunday mornings) and a very small number of drivers.
  6. There is no general need for additional parking on Hackney Marsh as demonstrated by the emptiness of the existing car parks at any time other than Sunday mornings.
  7. The applicants say that the car park is “designed to meet the needs of the Borough’s residents, as well as any other visitors, who wish to use the marsh for education or recreational purposes”. This would appear to be untrue as they have previously stated that it would be available only for paying customers using the pitches.
  8. An additional > 3000m2 of East Marsh has already recently been lost to superfluous hard surfacing through unconsented works. This is more than the former parking area. Many hectares of green Common have been recently covered with paving, roads and buildings at Arena Fields, White Hart Field and Morris Field in the southern parts of Hackney Marsh. The effects of this proposal will add to this progressive erosion.
  9. It is incorrect for the applicants to describe it as a ‘reinstatement’; it is a new generic car park in a new location; the former parking surrounded changing rooms which no longer exist.
  10. A great deal of underused parking space exists in the vicinity. A large multistorey car park has been built on Hackney Marsh Common approximately 7 minutes’ walk away; surely footballers are capable of walking this distance. New and little-used car parks have been built at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre only 100m from the proposal site. Hundreds of parking spaces remain empty during the daytime at New Spitalfields Market directly adjacent to the site.
  11. The claim that the proposal will ‘prevent cars being parked on the grass around the pitches’ makes no sense as this never happens, driving onto the Common is illegal, and access for vehicles is physically prevented by posts and railings.
  12. Additional cycle parking could be achieved in a low-impact way in various locations around the Common and would not require this large area of paving.
  13. No demand for disabled parking in this location has been proven – ample provision exists at the Hackney Marsh Centre, close to its facilities.
  14. The heavy-duty block paved surface is excessive, obtrusive and completely inappropriate for minimal traffic for a few hours a week; no lower-impact alternatives have been considered.​

North Marsh Pavilion and associated car parking

Pavilion / Changing rooms

  1. It will incur an unjustified loss of an additional presently open, green and accessible area of Common.
  2. The proposed pavilion location will cause harm to the landscape by its elongated design and prominent position​​ . It will block current views east across the marsh and be a dominant artificial feature in the entire northern area of the marsh.​
  3. Planning approval and commons consent was obtained in 2008/9 for 20 new changing rooms plus officials’ changing and other facilities on the site of the existing building, without extending out onto new green space. All considerations led that to be considered the optimum location. This continues to be the only acceptable option in the interests of the environment and neighbourhood.
  4. The applicants now claim that using the site of the current building is not practical as the current building must be retained until the new one is in use to provide continuity of facilities, and providing temporary changing facilities would cost money. Such minor cost considerations cannot justify such a major loss of open green space and impact on the Common. Furthermore this was never raised as an issue when the 2008 plans were approved.
  5. Avoiding loss of Common Land and damage to its utility should be the first priority in this sensitive location, yet the primary consideration now seems to be the provision of a large parking and vehicle zone entirely consuming the current site.

    Car parking

  6. Access is over a steeply humped bridge with poor visibility and across a footpath heavily used by runners, cyclists and people with dogs, who should be able to use the Common without risk from traffic.
  7. It is undesirable and unnecessary to have a drop-off area within the Common as part of the proposal – visitors without mobility problems can be dropped off in Millfields Road and have a short walk over the bridge to the changing rooms.
  8. Environmental impacts from encouragement of car access onto the Common include: air pollution, risk of illegal vehicle access and fly-tipping, as well as risk of collision with pedestrians, dogs and cyclists.
  9. The provision of the parking and vehicle circulation area appears to be the reason for the design ‘solution’ of placing the new building out on new green space.
  10. It will result in no benefit to the Common or advantage to the majority of its users, who either live locally or do not have or choose not to use cars.
  11. While a former car-parking area existed on what is now the cricket show pitch, this became inaccessible over 10 years ago, and prior to that was rarely utilised. It is misleading for the applicants to claim that there is a net reduction in parking provision by reference to this.
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