Yesterday, Thursday 13th June, SLM members arrived unannounced at the Lower Lee Valley LVRPA meeting at the Waterworks in order to express our sincere disappointment with the Authority.
At the only official meeting we have ever been offered with the LVRPA, which took place back in February, this organisation (which receives considerable public funds) made a series of promises to the group relating to working with marsh users, taking action on the poor state of Leyton Marsh and carrying out proper consultation in advance of any future plans.
The LVRPA have broken all these promises.
SLM read out a short statement outlining how our group and the public had been let down in the lower Lee Valley and delivered the following document to all present:
At the meeting on 7 February, to which Save Lea Marshes was invited by Shaun
Dawson in order to improve the communication between the LVRPA and users of
Leyton and Walthamstow Marshes, a number of promises were made. None of
them have been kept. The meeting was not, as presented to us, a chance to change
the way the LVRPA engages with us, but an attempt to pacify us while the LVRPA
continued to hatch plans to develop our part of Metropolitan Open Land for
commercial gain (campsite, livery stables) in order to enrich itself at the expense of
local people. This is in direct contravention.to the purpose of the LVRPA.
Waterlogging: Brian Daley stated that the ODA would carry out remedial work by
the end of the month (February). This did not happen. We told you the remedial
action proposed by the ODA wouldn’t work long term anyway as there is the
equivalent of concrete fill underneath the membrane.
Wildflower inspection: scheduled for end of March, and at some point before
June. Have these happened? If so, where are the results of the inspections?
Seeding plan: Brian Daley was tasked to get the document showing exactly what
seeds were planted and where from the ODA, and then pass this on to us. Not
Full snagging list: this was promised for some time, by Martin Page at User
Forum meetings and then again at the meeting on the 7th. Not received..
Feasibility study was to be completed by the end of March and results made known
to us. Shaun Dawson stated that the results would be public. We have heard
IMPROVEMENT IN CONSULTATION AND USER ENGAGEMENT
SLM to be invited to all investigations on Leyon Marsh AND SLM to be
involved in finding solutions to the problems.
Core Samples: We were invited at very short notice to attend at 2:00, In fact, the
contractor started at 8:00. By the time we arrived, the contractor’s drill had broken
when he got to the part of the site where the concrete fill was. The contractor was
told to come back and finish taking the samples with a new drill bit, but we were not
invited back when this happened, if it did happen and we have never received the
results of the sample taking. There has been no further correspondence from Brian
Daley about this at all.
The contractor confirmed to Brian Daley what we said at the meeting — that the ODA
plan of drilling drainage holes would not solve the drainage problem because of the
concrete fill. Although we have amongst us an abundance of knowledge, whatever
we say is ignored. BD refused to accept that the fill is equivalent to concrete, despite
evidence from the contractor and the fact that we observed the whole excavation
and building process during which he wasn’t even here..
Wildflower investigations: We have been given no information on this – although it is
clear to see that there are no wildflowers (aside from some white clover of unknown
provenance) and the only grass is monoculture fodder grass on the site of the
basketball courts. There has been no spread of the grasses and wildflowers from
the untouched part of the field to the “reinstated” area –.as if there is an invisible,
impermeable fence surrounding it which won’t let anything else in.
User forum: The last user forum was18 March and there was no date set in the
minutes for the next meeting, nor has there been any information on the so-called
“Community Notice Board” as to when the next meeting is. The agenda for the last
meeting did not include the proposals for the campsite and the extension of the
riding stables. They were tabled at the meeting and our strong objections to both
were ignored, as were our emails to members and officers on the day of the
Executive Meeting reiterating our objections. The golf course users had no idea that
the golf course was being closed for good, as the LVRPA website continued to
promise its reopening right up to a week before the “announcement” of the campsite
plans. Indeed, the LVRPA are already taking bookings for the campsite, even
though the application for change of use will not be decided until 9 July. They have
been quoted in the Waltham Forest Guardian as saying that their plans are for a
temporary campsite, which is clearly untrue according to their own planning
application. The only comfort we have is that this plan will probably be a complete
failure as it is highly flawed. A better idea would be to re-open the golf course as a
nine hole organic golf course, with meadow areas to encourage wildlife and enhance
the appearance of the area, thus satisfying both the golfers and local walkers and
nature lovers, while giving the LVRPA a less costly source of income.
The lies told and empty promises made by the LVRPA ensure that the local users of
the area do not have a chance to object to the LVRPA’s raids on our green spaces.
The LVRPA presents the lack of objections as consent. But there is no consent to
the commercialism of our green spaces – there is, instead, a groundswell of local
public opinion that sees the LVRPA, not as the guardian of our land, but as an
increasingly greedy predator. If the LVRPA truly wants a dialogue with the users of
the land it is charged with protecting, however doubtful that seems to us, then it will
have to drastically change its ways.