Saturday, 18 August 2012

help secure the best possible reinstatement of leyton marsh

message rec'd from the save leyton marsh environment team.

Dear friend of Leyton Marsh

The ODA have submitted their reinstatement plan to the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Initially the discharge of these conditions was going to be dealt with under delegated powers, but we have managed to secure agreement that the planning committee will discuss Condition 1 in public, probably on 12 September.

This is good news, but the fight is far from over. We still have concerns about the reinstatement plan, which are detailed below, and you may have your own. I therefore urge you to write to LBWF to express your concerns. Please feel free to use some or all of the points below.

The key thing is that we get as many letters and emails of objection to LBWF before the planning officers write the report which will be discussed by the planning committee. A large number of submissions will make a difference when the planning committee are making their decisions. I haven’t been able to wheedle a deadline out of LBWF, but I think all objections should be submitted as soon as possible and by 31 August 2012 at the absolute latest to be on the safe side.

Objections should be emailed to:

Feel free to adapt and expand upon the following points prepared by Save Leyton Marsh group:

Leyton Marsh Temporary Basketball Training Venue (Ref: 2011/1560): Discharge of Conditions 1, 11, 13 and 14.

            If the London Borough of Waltham Forest are to properly scrutinize the discharge of conditions relating to planning application 2011/1560 then the reinstatement plan should cover all aspects of the reinstatement. At present:
1.          The reinstatement plan does not cover discharge of Condition 14.
2.          The reinstatement plan does not acknowledge that the work cannot be completed by the repeatedly promised deadline of 15th October without working extended hours, yet the ODA say they have submitted an application to extend their working hours.
3.          Only Discharge of Condition 1 is being discussed at the planning committee meeting.
         Given that much of the anger over the Games Time Training Venue (GTTV) on Leyton Marsh is about the way in which the full story was never presented and properly discussed when the initial planning decision was made, it is critical that LBWF insist that they are presented with a full and final statement and that the discharge of all conditions is discussed at the planning committee meeting.

         LBWF should also censure the ODA for beginning work before the reinstatement plan has been approved. If work had to begin on the turf in June then the proposals for discharging all conditions should have been submitted to the council prior to this.

            It is essential that the ODA and their contractors have a robust plan in place and that they are open and honest with LBWF and local people about how long it will take to execute this plan. This does not appear to be the case at the moment. There are inconsistencies in the timelines presented within the plans:
1.          The timeline for Option 3 in Appendix B bears no relationship to the information in section 5.3.10.
2.          The reinstatement plan states the land will be handed back on 15 October. Yet, in 21.11 of the method statement it says that the start date for the removal of the perimeter fence is 16 October and the task will take two days.
3.          The detailed plan in Appendix A of the method statement isn’t readable.

            The documents consistently state that the topsoil is safe to reuse. However, it also states that one piece of asbestos was found. As I understand it eleven samples were taken from the topsoil and this one piece of asbestos was found within one of these eleven samples. The law of probability suggests that if one piece of asbestos was found in eleven small samples then the likelihood of the topsoil containing a lot more asbestos is very high. All the topsoil must be handpicked to ensure that there is no more asbestos.

            It is not clear from the documents where liability lies if the reinstatement fails. Who is responsible for ensuring the sub-base is adequately laid and does not shift or sink? Who is responsible for the imported subsoil? Who is responsible for ensuring the turf does not fail? It is vital that long-term liabilities are established before the conditions are discharged and the ODA’s contractors begin work.

            Why do the documents discuss digging up the Type 1 fill laid during the building of the GTTV and replacing it with Type 6F2 fill which is very similar? Why not limit the work and retain the Type 1 fill already in place?

            The reinstatement plan ignores the logistics of managing stockpiles of incoming soil, waste arising and vehicle deliveries. It needs to be explained how this is to be managed without impacting either on areas already reinstated or encroaching on areas outside the licensed land causing further damage.

            The documents mention a geotextile separator and state that this will help ‘should further excavation take place’. Leyton Marsh is Metropolitan Open Land. It is protected from development. No further excavation should ever take place and there is, consequently, no need for this geotextile separator to be laid. If it is retained, it will lead local people to conclude that the promise made by LBWF and the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority, that the building of the GTTV was a one-off event carried out under extraordinary circumstances, was false and the development is in fact part of a much larger plan to erode the protection afforded to Metropolitan Open Land. We therefore ask that the officer’s report and the planning committee to publicly reiterate LBWF’s commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainable future of Leyton Marsh as a green open space.

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