You may have read the recent report in the Citizen newspaper about Sporting Hackney’s delegation to create a local football stadium. Not only did Jules Pipe say it would be ‘ideal’ to see this new facility built on the marshes but that anyone who thought otherwise belonged to a ‘bunch of tree huggers’. Whilst some took this particular attempt to be derogatory as an inadvertent compliment. others expressed utter dismay at his clear contempt for local user groups and volunteers who had not even been consulted about such a possibility. The chair of Mabley Users Group resigned his membership of the Labour Party in response to the Mayor’s contempt for local people who have committed so much effort to protect and enrich our commons which the Mayor is only too happy to see commodified, rather than help clubs find appropriate brownfield sites in the borough. Apparently there is a defunct stadium behind the Hare & Hounds, just down from the marshes on Lea Bridge Road.
SLM member Kev sums up the response of many of us…
Once again Mayor Jules Pipe proves how little he cares about open spaces in Hackney. To dismiss anyone who disagrees with him as a ‘tree huger’ shows his contempt for local people who care about the environment they live in. The very fact that these “acres out there” are being enjoyed by young and old alike to play not just football, but a whole host of sports and other recreational activities (including dog walking) should be protected as a valuable community asset, not fenced off for single use sport for people who can afford it. Surely we lost enough to the Olympic Park.
The very fact that Hackney isn’t “in the middle of the countryside!” means that the green space we have is treasured that much more by the people who live by and use the Marshes.
Just like many other London Boroughs at the moment it seems that Jules Pipe and LBH want to make money out of their green spaces rather than protect them. It’s time to think not just of the councils bank balance but the mental and physical health of residents both current and future. The people you serve Mayor, want their green spaces to remain, because once they’re gone, there’s no getting them back.