Daily Archives: May 5, 2011

Park Authority must challenge Pickles

(continued from 26 March, 9 March)

The Lea Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) executive committee is to consider taking the Department for Communities and Local Government to judicial review over its refusal to intervene at Essex Wharf. Despite contrary advice from their senior planner, and legal officer, the LVRPA planning committee decided on 7 April to refer the decision upwards, following the intervention of a Lea Valley Federation delegation.

We ask all our members and supporters to press Hackney’s representative to continue supporting judicial review.

Speaking for MUG and the other LVF groups, David Rees argued that

  • the proposed development is not merely a local issue: the Lea Valley is a Regional Park in the capital city, established by an act of Parliament, hence of national importance, and government should intervene to prevent a single local authority (Waltham Forest) damaging it
  • there has been no housing in the park on the east bank of the Lea till now, and there are other ‘white land’ sites where developers would build if they could: once this development goes through, the park authority will be confronted with many more attempts to develop the east bank

Hackney’s delegate to the planning committee, councillor Chris Kennedy, argued persuasively against accepting their planning officer’s advice, and in favour of looking closely at the possibilities for review. He noted that Waltham Forest council had gone so far as to rewrite their Unitary Development Plan (UDP), without consulting the park authority, to allow themselves to accept the development, and supported David Rees’s argument about the likely domino effect for the park’s white land enclaves. He argued that the authority might do best to fight on principle so as to put down a marker for developers, and for any boroughs tempted by them, that future applications would be fiercely resisted from the start.

Chris Kennedy also sits on the Executive so his position gives us some hope. Please contact cllr Kennedy to support his position and urge him to continue pushing for the LVRPA to pursue judicial review:

The next LVRPA executive committee is on 26 May. Judicial review would have to be brought within three months, which would fall on 18 June.