ODA Meeting: Why So Scared To Have Your Statements Be A Matter of Public Record?


On Tuesday night there was a meeting of the ODA, LVRPA and local residents at a small nursery on Riverside Close, Hackney to discuss the ‘reinstatement works’ for the marsh.

To attend the meeting, residents were told they must submit their names, addresses and contact details to the ODA. However after most people had already done so, the ODA then said people could attend the session without doing so (they still tried to take peoples names on entry).

Shortly after the drop-in session began, Caroline tried to record the meeting with a sound recorder. She was told that she needed to give her name and could not record the meeting. However, residents and Save Leyton Marsh group put up a united front and demanded that anything that was said on an individual basis should be said to the whole group and be a matter of public record.

The ODA did not know how to respond. They took ten minutes to liaise privately and decide whether to be recorded. In the end, they came back into the meeting and said there would be a statements from the ODA spokespeople until 7.30pm and then the meeting would resume for individual discussions. The meeting unanimously refused saying everything that was said should be said publicly and with accountability so there should be an open public meeting for the whole session. Some of the ODA refused to give their names until Barry Buitekant and Ian Rathbone challenged this; they said they were councillors acting for the public and anyone acting in this capacity should provide their names.

The LVRPA refused to answer any questions after it was agreed the meeting could be recorded. Residents were absolutely outraged. What does this body have to hide?

There was a lengthy discussion with Mark Sorrell, who claimed that the group has harrassed him, evidencing the postings on Facebook which had been added by Mark Walsh who had later identified himself as a PC and had added a series of fake aliases to the site in order to get information.

Residents were not satisfied with the inadequate answers given to a series of questions related to both reinstatement and to the way the facility gained planning permission and was constructed.

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