Update from Meeting to Save Leyton Marsh!

Last night a large group of people attended our first Save Lea Marshes meeting to discuss the new threat to Leyton Marsh. As many people also gave apologies and wanted an update, here are the main issues arising from the discussion last night:

The letter from Shaun Dawson, chief exec of the LVRPA re. plans to expand/develop the present Ice Centre and what will happen to £65,000 in rent that was collected (which has gone up to £72,000 due to late reinstatement) was discussed. The key issue is the proposed expansion of the Ice Centre facility on Lea Bridge Road; if they consider the current site, there will be a public consultation i.e. they have not ruled out the existing site; the existing proposal is to make the facility twice the size; if built on the existing site it would definitely encroach on the marsh. The LVRPA have consistently ignored the strength of community opposition to any building on the marshes; we demand that they completely rule out the existing site. On its present site the ice centre is presently loss-making so it doesn’t make sense to defend its expansion.

The letter sent to SLM member Abi by Dawson in response to her letter about this issue confirms that they are considering the current site and still doesn’t rule out Leyton Marsh. There is a massive gap between this and what was said at User Forums as well as the statement made by Dan Buck on 19th September (of which we have a copy) that there are “no plans to build on Leyton Marsh”

Responses from the group outlining this opposition to re-developing/ expanding the Ice Centre on the present site should be sent to Shaun Dawson, CCing Vivian Blacker Deputy Chief Executive. More details and exemplar letters can be found on our ‘Get Involved’ page.

The letter from Shaun Dawson has been forwarded to London Assembly Member Jenny Jones (Green Party) and her view is that the ice centre land should be given back over to marshland. Walthamstow MP Stella Creasey will write back to Shaun Dawson including local councillor Claire Coghill. Local councillors in Waltham Forest have not responded so the issue will be taken to community forum.

It was already reported 1/2 years ago that the LVRPA want to have a spectator venue and the technology of present building is old so needs to be replaced; whether an ice rink needs to be in East London is an open question as there is need for space for two rinks and a gallery for audience; therefore more parking will be needed; so a popular suggestion was to put any new facility on the Olympic Park. This option would require a tremendous amount of lobbying but has much to recommend it. If the Ice Centre was placed on the Olympics Park, the aquatic centre could be used as a source of recycled cooling thus making a more environmentally friendly solution.Alternatively, a lot of London Councils on the LVRPA favour contraction rather than expansion, so another option is to rule out building a new ice centre that may make even further losses.

SLM UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO RE-WILD THE SITE OF THE PRESENT ICE CENTRE since the existing facility is an ugly building which is turning the area into a brownfield site (and was one of the reasons the Essex Wharf development got the go ahead).

It was also agreed that there will be a public rally to raise awareness of the strength of public opinion against development on the marsh. A date has not yet been agreed but watch this space! It is likely that a rally will be held close to the anniversary of the beginning of construction works on Leyton Marsh (1st March 2012).

Bob Sullivan (Cllr.bob.sullivan@walthamforest.gov.uk) and Chris Kennedy (Christopher.kennedy@hackney.gov.uk) are the local representatives on the LVRPA who represent Waltham Forest and Hackney respectively; both are coming up to end of their term at the authority in May and it would be useful if residents could contact them in advance of the next full authority meeting on 24th January asking them to support our campaign to put any new ice centre in a more appropriate location. Save Lea Marshes members have already applied to speak at the next meeting on the issue of Leyton Marsh.

Finally some reminders of upcoming events for our group:
• SLM Fundraising Quiz 726_10200258079920601_69012956_n at the Hare & Hounds pub at 7.30pm, £1.50 entrance.
This is not a gateway festival at Bishopsgate Institute on Sat 26 Jan. 5 panelists presenting on our post-Olympic city including Save Leyton Marsh.
• World Wetlands Day is on 2nd Feb; keep posted here!
• Sunday 17 feb, 2-4 pm – across the marshes group meeting – Rose & Crown in Walthamstow on Hoe St (E17) in the Red Room at the back.

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