Hackney Council decides on Marsh car parks ahead of inquiry

A mock up of the cricket pavillion on Hackney Marshes

A mock up of the cricket pavillion on Hackney Marshes - Credit: Archant

Hackney Council was due to decide on its own controversial application to build a cricket pavilion and two car parks on the Marshes tonight, ahead of a government public inquiry about it.

Cricketers from Stoke Newington Cricket Club on the site earmarked for the new pavillion.

Cricketers from Stoke Newington Cricket Club on the site earmarked for the new pavillion. - Credit: Archant

The government’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS) announced last September that an inquiry would be the “most appropriate way” to determine the application, which involves building on protected Metropolitan Open Land at East Marsh and North Marsh.

PINS consent is needed before the application can go ahead, because it involves building on common land, and public inquiries are held when an application has received many objections, or when the issues involved are complex.

The Save Lea Marshes (SLM) campaign group has criticised the council’s planning application for demonstrating bias.

In their statement to the planning committee they state: “It lists objections annotating many remarks with the comment “this is not a material planning issue” whereas letters of support are summarised with no such qualifying annotations.”

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SLM objects to the plans, saying that it would be possible to provide sporting facilities without building on open green space, by building on the present footprint of the changing rooms. A council application granted planning permission in 2009 described the present site as the “optimal location”.

A planning application to build a car park on East Marsh was withdrawn at the last minute in September 2013 to include a report on why it has already been built.

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SLM has since criticised the council’s for spending thousands of pounds of public money hiring planning consultants, Firstplan, to help push through the plans.

Cricketers from Stoke Newington Cricket Club however, want the development to go ahead. Tom Tanner said: “We call on Hackney Council’s planning committee members to seize with both hands this once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure the future of sport on Hackney Marshes.

“The pavilion will help safeguard the health of future generations with a first class facility that will also help foster the huge depth of untapped sporting talent in Hackney and other east London boroughs, all within the shadow of the Olympic Park.”

The PINS enquiry begins on June 16.

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