Contentious proposals for Hackney Marshes are submitted
PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 August 2014
A controversial council proposal to build a £3.6m sports pavilion on a new site on Hackney Marshes to replace the current facilities has been submitted to planners.
Hackney Council is seeking permission for the new structure comprising 16 changing rooms, social space and a viewing area for cricket spectators next to Cow Bridge, off Mandeville Road.
It also wants to create a 68 space car park and landscaped grounds on the site of the existing changing rooms and car park on North Marsh, as well as retrospective planning permission for the East Marsh car park built for the 2012 Olympics.
But campaign group Save Lea Marshes (SLM) has been calling on the council for the past year to build the pavilion on the footprint of the present outdated North Marsh building rather than a new design on open land, currently used by dog walkers, children, walkers and cyclists.
However Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for health, social care and culture, insisted that to fit the pavilion in the current footprint of the site would require a two-storey structure
He said: “We wanted a building that was low profile and so made little impact on the beauty on the marshes.
“I know some of the groups are also concerned that we are building these car parks and the project is about somehow creating infrastructure for events, but it is entirely driven by sports use.”
Cllr McShane continued: “Hackney Marshes is a huge resource and a world famous sports venue used for cricket and rugby. The changing facilities there at the moment are a disgrace.”
“We want to make the changing facilities match the quality of the pitches.
“The legacy of Olympics means spreading the people that can do sport. We are designing first class and genuinely accessible facilities and we are very lucky to be able to do that.”
Cllr McShane added: “We want to make the facilities accessible to disabled people, women and children to reach a wider range of the community.”
Hackney Marshes is considered to be the home of grassroots football with more than 60 football pitches, 10 cricket pitches and 3 rugby pitches.