Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lea Bridge Road walkway closure

Message from Hackney Council below.

"British Waterways have notified me that the walkway underneath Lea Bridge Road will be closed this coming Monday 28th March for 6 weeks in order to facilitate the replacement and upgrading of the walkway in time for the London 2012 games. The new walkway will be wider and have LED lighting in the handrail. British Waterways will be putting up signage advising pedestrians to use the nearest safe crossings further up and down Lea Bridge Road.

If you have any enquiries please let me know and I can find out for you or alternatively call the British Waterways enquiry number directly on 020 7985 7200.
Ben Kennedy | Senior Transport Planner | Streetscene Service | Neighbourhoods and Regeneration | London Borough of Hackney T: 020 8356 8023 "

Monday, 21 March 2011

Essex Wharf development to go ahead

Waltham Forest Guardian reports today that the Secretary of State for communities and local government has declined Lee Valley Regional Park Authority's request for him to intervene in the housing application for Essex Wharf approved by Waltham Forest Council in January.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Protecting Millfields' nature

There was an interesting article recently on biodiversity in Hackney parks in Hackney Citizen (Wild Spaces: Protecting Hackney Nature) detailing why well-kept parks and open green spaces are not always great for wildlife.  We've posted before on here about the Hackney's masterplan for Millfields and also the work it has underway on increasing the biodiversity in the park. You'd think these would aim to complement one another, but that's not the case. The biodiversity plan refers to compartment 7 in south Millfields as: “one of the most diverse areas of scrub/woodland on the entire site.” 

 pictures taken (19 March) in compartment 7: 
We agree with the Bioversity Plan which says this would an "ideal area to create a small nature garden with meadow areas, minibeast habitats and possible a pond or other wetland feature. " Instead, the differing versions of the Millfields masterplan have all proposed things for this area all of which would require the loss of the current vegetation - the current plan has it replaced with a kitchen garden.

The Biodiversity Plan says the "habitat creation proposals outlined for the other compartments will help to mitigate for this loss". It makes no sense at all to destroy one of the areas in the park with the most biodiversity, in place of a kitchen garden. The other proposals might (if they ever happen) eventually mitigate for some of the loss, but what happens to the wildlife displaced in the meantime?  A kitchen garden somewhere in the park would be lovely, but compartment 7 cannot be the right spot for it. 

It's interesting that neither the masterplan nor the biodiversity plan make any recommendations regarding this neglected eyesore on north millfields. Wouldn't this be a better location for a kitchen garden?

only in hackney (part II)

Monday, 14 March 2011

one park or two?

Hackney Council have published an updated version of the Millfields' masterplan on its website.

Key change from the last version (never published as far as we know) seems to be swapping the location for the meadow (25) with the location for the natural play area (7). Interesting how few projects feature in north Millfields. We understand some of the s106 funding initially secured as part of the Latham's Yard development for improvements to north Millfields is now likely to head south to fund a natural play area there.

Friday, 11 March 2011

towpath gets a makeover

Millfields north towpath has been given a makeover. With the black tarmac gone - it's much improved.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

yet more housing planned for north Millfields

Taylor Wimpey has submitted a planning application to Hackney Council for a change of use of part of the ground floor and part of the first floor of the Latham's Yard development at the end of Harry Zeital Way from restaurant / café use (Class A3) to 6 residential units (Class C3), comprising 2 x 1 bed and 4 x 2 bed flats.
The planning application (2011/0569) can be found at:
hackney planning 
We understand the requirement on Taylor Wimpey to provide the restaurant /
café space in the first place was part of the mitigation agreed for the loss of the King's Head public house that was demolished as part of the development. No doubt they've been quite content to leave it empty with a view to this subsequent application to convert it into more apartments. The Council should refuse the application - if a restaurant /café is not viable - they are plenty of uses it could be put to that would better support local communities, local infrastructure, the millfields masterplan and access route plans for the olympics.

Over on essex wharf, the public inquiry into 2nd application has, thankfully, upheld the waltham forest's refusal: Essex Wharf 2. However, planning permission for appl'n 3 still stands, unless the Secretary of State agrees to consider it following Lea Valley Regional Park Authority's request.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Millfields' biodiversity plans

This is a link to the London Wildlife Trust report on Millfields referred to in the previous post.

Millfields Management Plan

Kate Mitchell, Biodiversity Officer, London Borough of Hackney has asked us to stress “it is a list of recommendations that we will consult on rather than a fully adopted management plan”.

We understand there will then be an open user group meeting in April where park users will be consulted on different aspects of the plan to ensure the user group are happy before any works starts. Kate has also confirmed Hackney Council seeks to “involve all sectors of our diverse communities in our work and that any biodiversity projects will be inclusive”.