We are extremely disappointed by the decision to locate the new double-size ice centre on Leyton Marsh. The centre will have an unacceptable impact on the openness of our protected land. It will also destroy precious habitat, including for hedgehogs, a species at risk of extinction who are highly territorial and extremely difficult to re-locate.
Whilst the Authority and users of the ice centre may have made the case for a new ice facility, the case for Very Special Circumstances was not made. It was not proven that the facility needed to be on Leyton Marsh, which is adjacent to an SSSI and is accessed along a congested single-carriageway road. The new ice rink could have easily been accommodated on Eton Manor, at the Olympic Park, as part of a cluster of sporting venues where the transport connections are far better.
Local people will lose precious open space at a time when access to green spaces is more important than ever for health and well being. We will see mature trees chopped down and Leyton Marsh once again turned into a construction site. The construction will involve the excavation of contaminated land. Our thoughts are with the adjacent residents at Essex Wharf who will face increased pollution both during the construction phase and once the building is operational, particularly from traffic.
We were promised that the new building would not be extended any further onto Leyton Marsh by the LVRPA. This promise was broken. So whilst we will be working hard to make sure that the promised biodiversity measures are realised, we have valid reasons for distrusting the hyperbole with which the ‘enhancements’ and benefits to the local community are claimed.