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and so it begins

Hackney Marshes – Public Consultation

I am writing to let you know that the Council is planning to launch a public consultation on a proposal to apply for PINS consent to hold major public events on Hackney Marshes between 1st May and 31st August each year.

The Council is proposing to seek permission for a period of five years to provide the opportunity for a programme of viable events to be delivered, but also enabling regular review and amendments to this programme. The Council is not applying for consent for the events themselves at this stage and recognises and respects that Hackney Marsh is common land and has significant value for the borough’s residents as well as ecological and environmental value, designations and habitats. All of this needs to be balanced and protected as part of the Council’s approach to delivering events on the Marsh. The purpose of the consultation is therefore to gauge public response and note any concerns from stakeholders, which will inform our formal application. Once our application has been received there will be a formal period of statutory consultation.

Our consultation will launch on Tuesday 26th February, when further information will be available, and will run for eight weeks, during which time we will hold meetings with key stakeholders to ensure that all views are captured, as well as drop in events for the general public. We will be in touch shortly to arrange a meeting or conversation with you, should you wish to contribute to the consultation. In the meantime, I am writing to ensure you have proper notification of the consultation.

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Local football club says 'events' damage pitches

Local football club Birkbeck Orient who use Hackney Marsh says:

'The Radio 1 event held at the Marshes last year is still having an impact on our football. The wear and tear on the pitches has made them more susceptible to the weather, and several pitches have been lost for the season due to damage caused by trucks driving over them to set up for the event. This is putting increased strain on the remaining pitches, and they cannot cope. This is in addition to the 11 pitches lost 2 years ago when the East Marsh was turned into a coach park ahead of the Olympics. This is our Olympic legacy as an amateur sports club in East London.

This is why we are disappointed with proposals from Hackney Council to use the Marshes as an events venue during the summer months (May – August) for the next five years. We believe Hackney Marshes should be the focal point for sporting activity in East London, and that Hackney Council should be concentrating on developing the facilities for that purpose, rather than pursuing actions that actively move it away from that purpose.'