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Rosemary Johnson's speech to the L. B. Waltham Forest Planning Committee, 7/2/2007

[Rosemary Johnson is Marsh Lane Fields Area Officer of the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee]

I speak, urging rejection of this application, for the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee, in the interests of all users this precious piece of our historic Lammas Lands, that once covered all the Lea Marshes.

I commend our written submission to your consideration

I'm also a regular user of Marsh Lane Fields myself, a Leyton resident for over twenty years, and an avid armchair sports fan: a grieving armchair sports person.

In any other context, the idea of putting allotments on Marsh Lane Fields would be just laughable. This proposal does NOTHING for London 2012, nor for the wider Olympic movement that I'd love to feel able to support, but to bring them into public disrepute -AGAIN!

It does NOTHING for the voters and council tax payers of Waltham Forest - nor our children who like to play on the Fields and along the Lane.

Kate Barker, author of the recent Barker Report, said on the BBC's World At One programme: "what people really value in urban green space". In the case of Marsh Lane Fields - WE DO!!

We use this Metropolitan Open Land, this little piece of the country in a city, for many purposes:

  • walking the dog and cycling to work
  • play ball
  • this is England - of course we play football there! But there are many more things to do on a green field, and why not?
  • patting the ponies, picking berries, getting a bit of peace and quiet
  • and many more.

You should have been there early this morning, when I was - with the morning sun, and the frost on the grass. It was really beautiful!

To make way for an ENCLOSED facility, from NEWHAM, are we to lose such a great swathe - an unnecessarily great swathe - of this, contrary to Borough and London plans, national and regional planning policy, to gain only nuisance and safety hazards?

We, the people of Leyton, say NO!

Where is the legally-obliged exchange land?
Where is any compensation?

The "landscape enhancements" offer a mish-mash of ordinary maintenance, further degradation and extra hazards.

Local schools join us in opposing this application on safety grounds.

The applicant, to give them their due, do seem to have considered the possibility of non-works traffic turning IN from Orient Way to Marsh Lane, and of how to prevent this.

We don't believe they have even thought of traffic coming down Marsh Lane and EXITING onto Orient Way. When the gates at the east end of Marsh Lane are opened for legitimate users, extra traffic will get through.

This will turn a quiet country lane into an EAST-WEST rat-run, and a DEATH TRAP for young children going to school.

PLEASE, PLEASE, you must stop this carnage!


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