We are delighted to announce that Waltham Forest Council has refused to give permission for the car wash on Leyton Marsh, constructed prior to planning approval, due to its contravention of local policy and the fact it is an inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land.
Save Lea Marshes have conducted a long-running campaign against the car wash, for which an inaccurate planning application was lodged, the Park Act was ignored and M.O.L. policy was contravened.
The car wash was constructed and became operational back in June, prior to planning permission being obtained. We wrote to the Chief Executive of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Shaun Dawson, pointing out that in authorising the car wash, the Authority was acting outside its powers as set out in section 12 of the Park Act – to operate the park as a place for the “occupation of leisure, recreation, sport, games or amusements and similar activities… the provision of nature reserves and provision and enjoyment of entertainments of any kind.”
Moreover, Section 13 of the Park Act specifically states “nothing in this section shall empower the Authority[…]To carry on the business of maintaining [or repairing] motor vehicles.”
Dawson wrote back to us defending the creation of the car wash facility as not constituting ‘car maintenance’. However, we did not give up on resisting this unsightly and polluting business, adjacent to the river Lea, which is one of the most polluted rivers in Britain, already polluted by oil and detergent run off from roads and car parks. We spoke at the LVRPA Annual General Meeting on 6th July making many arguments against its approval.
After our delegation at the annual Authority meeting in July, we then received news that the LVRPA had responded to our complaints by informing us that their Leisure Trust had “requested that the operator cease trading until such time planning permission is obtained.” We asked people to write to Waltham Forest Council and object to the planning application. We would like to thank everyone who did so.
The Council decided the application under delegated powers, stating that the car wash “constitutes inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land and would have an adverse impact upon the visual amenities and openness within the designated Metropolitan Open Land.” They also stated its contravention to several local policies, namely the Waltham Forest Local Plan – Core Strategy (2012) and policies DM12 and DM24 of Development Management Policies (2013).
Due to its proximity to the Essex Wharf residential development and the hours of use of the operation, the Council also concluded that it “would result in noise disturbance to the nearby residential occupiers.”
Since the decision cites the site’s location within Metropolitan Open Land and the effect of pollution on local residents as grounds for refusal, this is a welcome boost to our campaign against the schools being built on Metropolitan Open Land opposite.
Well done to all those involved in any way with this campaign!