URGENT: Please Submit Objection to Further Attack on Metropolitan Open Land

PHOTO SHOOT: Tuesday 5th March by the Dagenham Brook Bridge(next to Eton Manor cottage, where the plaque is that commemorates the 1892 Lammas Day mass direct action) in Marsh Lane.

We have just learnt of plans by Waltham Forest Council, in a time of austerity and budget cuts, to replace the bridge at Marsh Lane over the Dagenham Brook into Marsh Lane Fields (a southern portion of Leyton Marsh still subject to commuted Lammas Land rights). The replacement would mean three access points for coaches and heavy goods vehicles from Freight Rd and Orient Rd.

Why is this important?

The Flood Risk Assesssment states: ‘the aim of the proposed scheme is to widen the existing bridge into Leyton Jubilee Park to allow heavier vehicles to cross into Leyton Jubilee Park.’ Replacing the bridge would improve access for vehicular traffic and urbanise the character of the Marsh beyond, but do nothing to improve pedestrian access or make the green space moreattractive“.

What can I do?

1) We are asking that people submit their objections AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – at least by Monday 25th February. To do, look at the application here and go to the Waltham Forest online planning objection form. The reference is: 2013/0085. There are some strange aberrations in the before and after images that have been released which can be seen here

2) You can also write to the planning officers: caron.sanders@walthamforest.gov.uk and


3) Come and observe in the public gallery on:

Planning Committee on Tuesday, 26th March (revised date), 2013, 7.30 p.m.

The agenda will be displayed in the week before the meeting

Proposed venue: Council Chamber – Waltham Forest Town Hall

Contact: Oliver Craxton, Committee Services Team Leader 020 8496 4380 | Email: oliver.craxton@walthamforest.gov.uk

What points should I make?

Below is an example objection made by a local resident. We ask that you put these points into your own words and add your own if possible:

1. The aim of the project is stated as ‘to allow heavier vehicles to cross into Leyton Jubilee Park’. This would adversely affect the peace, quiet, safety and environment of the Park and lead to more noise, pollution and disturbance there. There should be no regular reason for heavier vehicles to enter the Park. The Park is in Metropolitan Open Land and should be protected from being driven on or through by motorised transport.
2. The current pedestrian bridge is very new and has nothing wrong with it. To demolish it after such a short time is a waste of money, poor value for money and represents the loss of an asset.
3. There current narrow road bridge does not need replacing for any structural reasons, and there is no statement of how many (or how few) proposed heavier vehicles would need to cross the proposed bridge in order for it to be worth spending the money on it. There is no acceptable cost justification to this project.
4. Heavier vehicles can already access Leyton Jubilee Park at the western end via a specially-built opening from Orient Way.
5. Enabling access for heavier vehicles at the opposite, eastern end via Marsh Lane would create a through route for these and any other vehicles all the way from Church Road to Orient Way. This is undesirable in traffic management terms and would destroy the character of the Park as a safe place where children can play and dogs can be let off leads.
6. Heavy traffic was routed off Church Road in the last few years by the construction of Orient Way as the freight road. It is therefore perverse to re-introduce heavier vehicles back onto Church Road in order to access the Park – or any other reason.
7. Marsh Lane is at present, because of traffic arrangements, almost a cul-de-sac. Any traffic needing to access the Park naturally slows down as it approaches the existing bridge, precisely because that bridge is narrow. The proposed wider bridge would enable, or even encourage, vehicles to travel much faster down the slope of Marsh Lane, and this would be hazardous to pedestrians particularly the many schoolchildren in the area.
8. Marsh Lane and the Park are used extensively by cyclists. Paradoxically, a wider bridge would present more hazards to cyclists because traffic would be likely to attempt crossing the bridge at the same time as the bikes, whereas at present cyclists usually negotiate the bridge on their own.
9. At present the foot bridge is dedicated solely to pedestrians and was built for access to Lammas School. It leaves the road bridge for the occasional access traffic. The proposed single wider bridge comprises a road with two pavements, meaning that children, their families with pushchairs, toddlers etc, going to Lammas School will have to share the bridge alongside the traffic. No case has been made why the safe pedestian bridge for the schoolchildren should be demolished.
10. There are two schools bordering Marsh Lane – Willowbrook and St Josephs primaries. Those children would be exposed to more pollution from the heavier vehicles when in their playgrounds or doing outdoor sports and games. Similarly the presence of heavier vehicles in the Park would increase the exposure to pollution by children at the Lammas School.
11. The primary schools, one being a faith school, generate much car-borne traffic, and much of this uses Marsh Lane in which to manoeuvre and reverse when dropping or collecting children. Heavier vehicles using this lane would be a disturbance to this relatively safe arrangement, and might cause drivers to use other roads for parking, something also undesirable, as they would then add to the pedestrian footfall on and across Church Road.
12. Enabling heavier vehicles to cross into the Park and making it easier for any vehicles to gain access would inevitably generate more traffic at the crossroads junction of Marsh Lane, Church Road and Park Road, and this would increase the hazards and congestion already there. There are two heavily-used bus stops from where many people have to cross Church Road; there is a pedestrian crossing by one of the schools; there is the retired persons’ accommodation (Etloe House) on the corner of Church Road/ Marsh Lane. Any more turning traffic, especially right-turning traffic approaching Marsh Lane from the north, would exacerbate this busy junction and accidents would be more likely to happen. In view of the many children, families and elderly people using this junction, their safety should be increased not put at greater risk.
13. The proposed new bridge gives a wider coverage of Dagenham Brook than the existing ones, and therefore would affect adversely the species there through the blocking out of more light.
14. The proposals acknowledge that it would not be feasible to build a bridge over Dagenham Brook that would meet the national flood plain requirements – because of the difference in heights of the land on the east and west banks of the Brook: a bridge meeting the flood plain criteria would have to be very high and this in itself would present disabled access issues. The spending of money on a bridge that does not provide safety access in time of flood, can be seen as a waste of an opportunity. More simply, building a new bridge offers no environmental flood strategy advantage over simply leaving the existing bridge there, and therefore the spending of money is not justified.

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