Have your say about East Marsh car park this week

Hackney Marshes

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Comments on Hackney Council's proposed car park on East Marsh close on 2 September and it goes to committee on 9 September. HMUG will ask the council planning sub-committee to reject the proposal, or to postpone discussion until it can be taken with the proposal for another car park on the north marsh which is in the pipeline.

Please put in your comments.

  • here under application 2013/1788:
  • by 2 September or as soon as possible after that, up to 9 September
  • copy to or let us know you've commented.
  • Please also write to your councillors especially if you are in Kings Park ward.


Hackney Council parks department and transport planners want to have 3 car parks on the marshes. It is nearly 10 years since we had this many car parks. From 2004 to 2011 there were only 2 car parks and 2012-2013 there was just one. Somehow people have carried on! We'd like the council to build on this, not go back to business as usual.

At some stage it occurred to the authorities that a cheap car park could be had by leaving some of the Olympic coach park in place. This has been done without ever getting planning permission! Now the officers need to bounce retrospective approval through the council committee and the Planning Inspectorate.

Points to make

  • The council planning sub-committee is being presented with proposals for parking on the marshes piecemeal without a chance to discuss an alternative strategy. The crucial document is a Transport Statement (including a Travel Plan) for the marshes which is being submitted to justify the car parks but has not been discussed in its own right. East Marsh and North Marsh should be considered together. A cap on private car parking on the Marsh at the 2012 level should be on the council's agenda.

  • Private car parking spaces on east and south marsh will be increased over pre-Olympic levels. Hackney Council policy is to reduce private car journeys to its facilities. The plan claims that total parking on the marshes will be reduced compared to pre-2004. The 'reduction' is calculated by counting in 150 pre-2004 spaces on north marsh which were generally under-used and are now under a cricket field. East Marsh users will have a choice of both the East Marsh and Marsh Centre car parks – an increase in spaces over pre-Olympic numbers, of 11% - 25%.

  • Pressure to travel sustainably will vanish. In 2010-12 it's claimed there was a slight rise in car sharing by Marsh Centre users. The council credits this to information packs and notices. We think it's more likely to be due to the reduction in spaces. Put back the spaces, offer them free of charge, and what will the result be?

  • The previous car park on East Marsh served a changing room building which has been demolished. So this is not a 'reinstatement' but a new car park on green space.

  • It's only for booked users of the pitches. The proposals claim that the new car park will serve 'informal recreation for the community' but this is clearly untrue as it's also stated that a booking will be required. It's also claimed that it will serve courses at the Marsh Centre, and schools, but both these could obviously use the marsh centre car park. The site is on the borough's eastern boundary and Hackney residents can more easily reach the Marsh Centre car park. It looks as if they are making up uses to justify a fait accompli.

  • Sustainable transport to East Marsh has improved but the Transport Statement isn't up to date on this. The 308 bus is being rerouted in December 2013, and its frequency increased, to give a quick connection to the many buses, tubes and trains at Stratford – not to Leyton tube as the documents say. At the Hackney end the 308 will link to the many bus routes at Lea Bridge roundabout. Walking and cycling routes were improved before the Olympics and will be even better when the Olympic land bridge and park are fully open.

  • Hard surfaces on East Marsh are increased. It's claimed that the footprint is smaller than the old facility. This calculation includes the demolished changing rooms. We think the pre-Olympic car park was smaller than the new one. If you add new hard surfaces on the riverside path and land bridge, the loss of green area on East Marsh is larger still.

  • The Olympic legacy Multi-Storey Car Park is close by, and has spare capacity. We urge the council to explore whether that can be used rather than green space.

The proposal goes to planning sub-committee on 9 September. HMUG will ask to speak. Please come along.

Hackney Marshes Users Group are local people who try to
  • promote understanding and appreciation of Hackney Marshes
  • improve the marshes for local people and
  • defend them against unsuitable development
We also run Hackney Community Tree Nursery.

Anyone who uses the marshes can be involved in HMUG.

If you observe nature on the marshes we invite you to post your sightings here

Most HMUG meetings are held at the Tree Nursery (how to get there)