Olympics chiefs plan giant airhall on Leyton Marshes

Clapton residents were horrified to find out Olympic chiefs have submitted a planning application for a giant basketball air hall on Leyton Marshes, just opposite their homes.

Views from North Millfields park and Riverside Close over the river and across the open marshland will be obstructed by the 11 metre high hangar, should planning permission be granted by Waltham Forest Council.

The massive structure will take up four times the area of the adjacent Ice Centre, just off Lea Bridge Road.

Housing two basketball courts, it will be used as a practice venue during the 2012 Games, and security measures mean a large part of Leyton Marshes could be fenced off for up to six months next summer.

Amenity group the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee (NLLDC), which campaigns against the fencing off of public land on the marshes, have branded the scheme “a fence too far.”

“There’s too much fencing and too much building on the marshes now, you hardly get the feeling you’re walking on a marsh anymore,” said member Katy Andrews.

“It’s more like a series of marshes because of the fences - you don’t get the sense of an open marshland environment.

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“There’s only one in London anything like the size and that is in Chiswick, it was put up in 2006 as a temporary structure and is still there five years later,” she added.

The deadline for submissions about the application is this Thursday October 20, and then the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) will make a formal application to Waltham Forest.

If permission is gained, works could commence next March.

To comment on the Lea Valley Training Venue, email nick.finney@arup.com or call 020 7636 1531.