As Hackney Council goes through the bureaucratic charade of giving itself planning permission for another extravagant building to spoil the Hackney Marsh landscape, it has spelled out loud and clear its commercial agenda and disregard for Metropolitan Open Land at the other end of the Marsh.
A 46m by 15m ad promoting Adidas, the rapacious billion euros a year profit sportswear brand, is covering the side of the Hackney Marshes Centre and shouting its message of “predator instinct” across the landscape with arrogant disregard for the setting of spaciousness and greenery that makes the Marsh such a special place.
It appears to have been put up without the required planning consent and we are currently investigating how much Adidas paid for the privilege.
The Council’s planning agents Firstplan, experts in misrepresenting the grim reality of plans in order to win consent, claimed in the Hackney Marshes Centre planning application in 2009:
“Great attention has been paid to the setting of the proposal, including landscaping and car parking arrangements. As such, the scheme has been designed to cater for community needs whilst respecting the Metropolitan Open Land designation.”
Firstplan subsequently claimed on their website that one of the ‘key challenges’ for the HMC application were ‘restrictive’ policy designations – ie. Metropolitan Open Land protection, intended to keep open spaces free from intrusive developments.
Besides now doubling as a giant advertising hoarding the so-called ‘changing rooms’ are also hired out for wedding receptions and corporate events.
Confronted with this vast wall of vinyl now dominating the landscape, one can almost admire the audacity of the Council in pontificating in their North Marsh Pavilion application:
“development on MOL can only be considered if the development is ancillary to the use to which the open land is put and if it does not have an adverse effect on the visual quality of landscape. These were material considerations when a planning application was sought for the development of the Hackney Marsh Centre” .