Hackney Marshes

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Hackney Marshes' page

2014/2582 - 2 June 2015

By Nick Perry

2014/2582 - Full Planning Permission - Demolition of existing North Marsh changing room building and the erection of a single storey pavilion building to provide changing and associated facilities, provision of cricket nets, associated car parking and landscaping at North Marsh and the reinstatement of a car park at East Marsh.

The Hackney Society Planning Group had hoped to reserve comment on the substantive planning matter until after the DEFRA inquiry on the issue of Open Land had been heard in June.

The timing, so close the the inquiry, is unhelpful as it conflates issues which, whilst overlapping, have differing regulatory regimes; and yet by pre-dating it, will learn nothing from the inquiry's thorough examination.

We have seen many arguments submitted both formally and through the media on both sides of the argument and sadly, but predictably, the urgent need for up-to-date (or even just acceptable) sport facilities and the need to protect our open spaces are being pitched against each other as if they are mutually exclusive goals. This is entirely a result of timing and disjointed planning.

Even a cursory glance at the current pavilion reveals an urgent need for new facilities. But equally any analysis of the use of the award-winning facilities in the South Marsh would reveal an underused car-park apparently planned for exceptional peak demand that rarely materialises.

To repeat the same mistake further up the Marsh would double the misappropriation of land and be an abject lesson in efficiency planning.

The proposed scheme, whilst in form is acceptable, makes heavy demands on it's environment and, in the face of excess capacity on the South Marsh, cannot be justified.

The applicant needs to take a step back and look at making more efficient, less injurious use of the open land and better serve its users by providing top-class facilities in a hub that can make better use of both human and land resources; and would have the benefit of improving viability, efficiency and encouraging the provision of better public transport options.

If the committee recommends approval of the proposed scheme, it should do so with a significantly reduced car-parking facility, but with, in extremis, potential of very occasional, pre-notified, overspill use of the grounds around the permanent car parking.

Additionally a positive decision notice should not be issued until PINS have reported from their inquiry on behalf of DEFRA. This will allow any new, overlapping issues to be considered by officers and brought back to members if necessary.

This page was added on 02/06/2015.