Hackney,
15
September
2014
|
16:38
Europe/London

Hackney Marshes planning application Q&A and images

Marshes+event+fundraiser

This Q&A relates to the Council's planning application for a new sports pavilion and car park on Hackney Marshes, submitted in August.

 

Questions and images

What are the plans?

 

The North Marsh pavilion and car park

What’s wrong with the current changing rooms and car park? 

Why do we need improved sports facilities? 

Is there any evidence that people want new facilities?

Why has the Council chosen this location for the pavilion rather than building on the existing changing block?

Why must the building be single-storey?

Would the new pavilion and car park cover more of the marsh than the current changing block and its origial car park?

What will the pavilion and car park look like?

Who could use the pavilion and when?

Who will be in charge of the building and car park?

How eco-friendly is the building?

Will the new pavilion lead to more noise, light and disruption?

What impact will the pavilion have on wildlife?

Will trees be cut down due to the new pavilion and car park?

How much will this cost, and who’s paying for it?

If approved, when would the pavilion and car park be built?

 

The East Marsh car park

What is the history of the East Marsh car park? 

Why do we need a car park in East Marsh?

Who is the car park for?

What’s the car park made of and what’s its visual impact?

 

Remaking the Marshes

What is ‘Remaking the Marshes’?

What’s been done already?

What’s left to be done?

Who’s paying for it? 

 

Other matters

Will there be more or less car parking on the marshes overall?

Why do you need parking spaces when people could use public transport or cycle, aren’t you just creating more congestion?

How can the council apply to itself for planning permission?

Why did the council use a planning consultant?

 

Image gallery

Includes comparison aerial views the marshes as a whole, the pavilion site and East Marsh car park, photographs of the existing changing block, artist impressions of the new pavilion and photographs of the old and current East Marsh car parks. 

 

Questions in full

What are the plans?

The Council’s planning application has two parts:

1) Build a modern sports pavilion in the northwest of North Marsh, primarily for cricket and football players. It will be a single storey building containing 16 team changing rooms (each with four showers, two wash basins and two toilets), four changing rooms for officials, a social space, kitchen, toilets, storage and a glass-fronted viewing area which will allow spectators to watch cricket matches on the new 'show' cricket pitch. To its south would be a four-lane cricket net.

The pavilion will be served by a new 68-space car park – 60 standard and eight blue badge - to its West, accessed via Cow Bridge, off Mandeville Street. This is to replace the larger car park which used to serve the current changing rooms before it was replaced by the show pitch. The new car park will also have space for five minibuses/coaches and 26 bicycles and be constructed on the site of the existing changing rooms, which are no longer fit for purpose.

2) Seek retrospective planning permission for a car park in East Marsh. This was created to replace a car park which was removed ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games to make way for a temporary transport hub. 

It would include 57 spaces for cars - 53 standard spaces and four blue badge - and spaces for five minibuses/coaches and 30 bicycles. It is intended to complement the Hackney Marshes Centre by improving public access to East Marsh and acting as a satellite parking facility to ease congestion from surrounding streets.

Vehicular access would be via a proposed priority left-in, left-out junction with Eastway (A106). An associated fence and gate are included in the plans.

Under these proposals there will be less space given over to car parks on Hackney Marshes than there used to be, and more trees (details below).

 

The North Marsh pavilion and car park

What’s wrong with the current changing rooms and car park? 

The current block has reached the end of its life, is not fit for purpose, not suitable for refurbishment and regularly falls victim to vandalism. Its 22 changing rooms do not meet the official standards of the and Wales Cricket Board or the Football Association/Football Foundation. It also has limited access for people with disabilities and only communal showers.

The current changing block is also the official home of Stoke Newington Cricket Club, who use it mainly on a Sunday. Its poor quality hampers the club’s progress and popularity, both in attracting players and opposing teams.

A new car park is required on North Marsh to ensure the new pavilion can function properly. Currently, when the changing block is being used to capacity, the existing car park cannot accommodate need so many people are forced to park in nearby streets. The car park will replace a much larger 240 space car park that used to serve the site, part of which is now the new cricket show pitch.

 

Why do we need improved sports facilities? 

Hackney Marshes is widely considered the ‘home of grassroots football’. It has more than 60 football pitches, the highest concentration in Europe. It also has ten cricket pitches and three rugby pitches. Thousands of people of all ages use it to play sport every weekend throughout the year. As well as local leagues, clubs and schools, the Marshes are also well used by local residents and community groups to play sport informally.

The sports pitches on South Marsh, East Marsh and the lower part of North Marsh are well served by the Hackney Marshes Centre and car park. However, because the changing block in North Marsh isn’t fit for purpose a new facility is required to properly serve the dozens of football pitches and the ten cricket pitches in North Marsh.

As well as benefiting the sports scene and the national profile of Hackney Marshes, getting more people involved in using the marshes also has big public health benefits, particularly in regards to child obesity and mental health. The more people in Hackney who regularly participate in sport, the healthier and happier the borough will be.

Also, a community sports facility which does not have good access and facilities for people with disabilities, and only communal showers, simply should not exist in the 21st Century. The residents of Hackney deserve better.

 

Is there any evidence that people want new facilities?

Yes. A public consultation carried out in July 2013 found most people were in favour of our plans. Headline findings included:

  • 63% of respondents agreed that replacing the old changing facilities was a good idea (14% disagreed)
  • 71% supported the suggested location (30% disagreed)
  • 63% said it was likely that improved facilities would encourage them to participate in more sport and events on the marshes (29% said it was unlikely)

Full consultation report (PDF)

Support for the proposals, as part of the ‘Re-making the Marshes programme’ (see below), has also come from major sporting bodies – England and Wales Cricket Board, FIFA, Football Foundation, London Marathon Trust, Olympic Delivery Authority, Rugby Football Union and Sport England.

 

Why has the Council chosen this location for the pavilion and car park rather than building everything on the existing site?

Four options were carefully considered and the proposed location was chosen for a variety of reasons.

The new pavilion is a single-storey building and the footprint of the current block, which houses fewer facilities, smaller changing rooms and doesn’t comply with accessibility regulations, is too small to accommodate this.

Building the pavilion on the current site would also mean the new car park, neccessary for the anticipated extra demand, would have to extend onto the playing fields, beyond the tree belt (the existing car park is a fraction of the size of the original car parking which used to serve the changing block, most of which was built over for the show cricket pitch. See 'Pavilion site changes' image below).

The existing site sits very close to a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and tree root protection zones. Because the new pavilion has a larger footprint than the existing changing block we were keen to keep away from these areas as far as possible.

The new location allows a viewing gallery of the show cricket pitch.

A 42” Thames Water main runs through the existing site and no new building within five metres of the main is permitted. The new pavilion with its larger footprint would encroach on this.

The construction of the pavilion in the proposed location lies outside of a flood risk zone which would not be the case if the current site was selected.

If we chose to demolish and redevelop the current building we would have to find temporary changing rooms for North Marsh while the building work took place. This would not only be inconvenient, but also cost more money. Under the current proposals, the existing pavilion will largely remain in use during the construction period until the new one is completed and open.

 

Why must the building be single-storey?

Because sports experts say so. The funding for the pavilion has come from the Football Federation and the English Cricket Board. They will not support changing rooms over two floors due to the health and safety risk posed to players wearing studded boots. 

A two-storey building is also less accessible for disabled people and would have a greater visual impact on the marshes, being far more difficult to obscure with trees which is what the current application proposes.

 

Would the new pavilion and car park cover more of the marsh than the current changing block and its original car park?

No, it covers less. This table details the areas covered by the building footprints and car park areas:

 

Pre 2010 (show pitch created)

 

Proposed

 

Building footprint

1,117m2

1,395m2

Car park hard standing

7,719m2

5,749m2

 

Total area

8,836m2

7,144m2

(2,237m2 of which is cellular reinforced grass)

 

 

What will the pavilion and car park look like?

The building design is based on a series of parallel masonry walls which open out to embrace the cricket show pitch. These are punctuated to allow entry and exit. The external faces of the spine walls will be of brickwork and the external cross walls will be timber boarded or, in the case of that facing the show pitch, glazed. The building will have a brown roof and the brick walls will incorporate glass block glazing and will be interspersed with bays of climbing plants. There will be a central corridor with changing rooms on either side. 

The car park will be predominantly made of permeable materials including ‘cellular reinforced grass’ for the parking spaces, meaning it will look green when not in use. It has been landscaped with tree-planting to further help it blend in with the marsh.

The landscaping and tree-planting is designed so that the pavilion will be largely screened from the playing fields. The cricket nets, which can be dismantled during winter and stored at the Hackney Marshes Centre, will also be screened by new trees.

 

Who could use the pavilion and when?

Primarily the facility will be used during weekends and evenings during the summer by people taking part in organised cricket and football matches, but it may also be used during the week by schools and other groups. It will operate on a booking system and be used in relation to the sports pitches.

 

Who will be in charge of the building and car park?

The Council will cover the running and maintenance costs of the pavilion / car park but it will be managed by GLL, which also looks after the Hackney Marshes Centre and the borough’s sports centres. There will a car park access barrier which will be open when the venue is in use.

 

How eco-friendly is the building?

The proposed development has been designed to be sustainable.  The building will be constructed of sustainable materials with soil from excavation works being used for landscaping and to create a ‘brown roof’ which will provide a habitat for local wildlife. Bio fuel will provide renewable energy for heating and for hot water generation.

 

Will the new pavilion lead to more noise, light and disruption?

No, there will be no significantly greater impact in terms of noise, light and activity than compared with the existing development.

It is not intended that the pavilion will be used at night and no external parking or way-finding lighting is proposed. The only external lights will be those illuminating the entrances and those associated with security and escape routes. The entrance lighting will be operated by staff and only used when the pavilion is open, and security lighting will only be activated if an intruder is sensed.

 

What impact will the pavilion have on wildlife?

A number of studies have been commissioned for the site, the findings from which we believe have been addressed as part of the planning application.

There will be no external lights so as to minimise the building's impact on bats. We have also created breeding points for bats, swifts and invertebrates. 

 

Will trees be cut down due to the new pavilion and car park?

The majority of trees on the site will be retained and new ones will be planted to help screen the pavilion. However, it will be necessary to remove one poplar tree to enable the building to be appropriately sited and accessed.  A new shrub and tree belt is proposed which has the potential to form an extension to the SINC and visually screen the building when viewed across the playing fields. The proposals therefore result in a greater number of trees than are there at the moment.

 

How much will this cost, and who’s paying for it?

The anticipated cost of construction is £3.6 million. This is being funded as part of the ‘Remaking the Marshes’ programme, explained below.

 

If approved, when would the pavilion and car park be built?

Dependent on all the necessary permissions being given, construction work is likely to start in 2015 and take about one year to complete.

 

The East Marsh car park

What is the history of the East Marsh car park? 

There has been a car park in East Marsh for many years to serve people playing sport on East Marsh. It used to be situated in the southern corner of the marsh (see images below).

This original car park, roughly 3,500m2 – 143 car spaces, and the surrounding pitches were leased in 2008 by the London Development Agency and turned into a parking hub to serve the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

The East Marsh pitches are being reinstated post-Games. However, the land on which the original car park stood was no longer available because it had been used as part of a new footbridge development installed for the Games, linking the marsh to the Olympic Park.

As a car park was still needed to serve East Marsh once the pitches were reinstated, part of the Olympic parking hub was kept in the eastern corner, next to the access to Eastway. This car park is smaller than the original, being 2,746m2 – 57 car spaces (four blue badge), 30 cycle, five bus/minibus.

 

 Why do we need a car park in East Marsh?

We are committed to making it easier for people to use greener modes of travel, like public transport and bicycle, wherever possible. With that in mind, the new, smaller car park has fewer car spaces and has introduced minibus parking and bike racks. 

However, we cannot do away with parking at the site completely. The current facility is already at full capacity at the weekends with those unable to find a space using nearby residential roads.

In addition, the marshes are underserved by public transport and we need to accommodate those travelling to the pitches from outside Hackney and with sports equipment. 

 

Who is the car park for?

People using the East Marsh pitches. There is an access barrier which is closed when they are not in use.

 

What is the car park going to be made of and what is its visual impact?

It is constructed from permeable hard paving. Notwithstanding a parking bay with drop-down bollards for the emergency services, the car park perimeter is made up of wooden railway sleepers wrapped with a natural soil/grass in order to restrict private vehicle access to the sports pitches.

The sunken appearance of the car park and the natural materials of the perimeter also reduce its visual impact. It will not be visible in long views from the River Lea. Tree and shrub lines along the borough boundary with Waltham Forest and a tree line along Ruckholt Road further obscures it from view.

 

Remaking the marshes

This planning application is part of a much larger scheme called ‘Remaking the Marshes’.

 

What is ‘Remaking the Marshes’?

‘Remaking the Marshes’ is an £17.1 million improvement programme to enhance Hackney Marshes and make the most of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy. 

Its mission statement is: "Create a world-class sport, health and wellbeing hub which is accessible, affordable, sustainable and relevant to our diverse communities."

It began in 2009 and is scheduled to finish in 2016.

 

What’s been done already?

  • The new Hackney Marshes Centre on South Marsh – opened 2010
  • New grass and artificial cricket pitches on the North Marsh – completed 2011 
  • Landscaping the eastern fringe of the North Marsh – completed 2011
  • New changing room on Mabley Green to serve new artificial and grass pitches – opened 2011
  • Refurbishment of Cow Bridge to allow vehicular access – completed 2012
  • A footpath across the Marsh – completed 2012

Part of the programme includes the delivery of five year development plans for football, rugby and cricket. These plans are approved and monitored (quarterly) by the sports’ individual governing bodies. 

We are now in year two of the plans and for all sports we are achieving or exceeding planned targets. The most noticeable improvement is the success of mini and junior football – with more than 50 teams and 630 individuals playing on a regular basis.

 

What’s left to be done?

  • Installation of a 2nd artificial turf pitch on Mabley Green – planning approved in July 2014, expected completion during 2015
  • A new Hackney Marshes Pavilion on North Marsh – planning pending
  • The reinstatement of East Marsh due for completion Autumn 2014

 

Who’s paying for it? 

Hackney Council has funded £6.4 million of the programme. The rest has been secured through grants from The Olympic Development Agency, Design for London, Sport England, The Football Foundation, FIFA, The Rugby Football Union, The England and Wales Cricket Board, The London Marathon Trust, Multi Area Agreement Funding and the then Primary Care Trust.

 

Other matters

Will there be more or less car parking on the marshes overall?

Less. The current proposals will maintain the overall reduction in both parking spaces for cars (with more space given to bicycles and shared transport, eg minibuses) and parking surface across the three marshes as a whole.

Table detailing parking area/spaces (figures have been compiled from the previous planning applications and measurements from the Hackney Council GIS team who have carefully measured from aerial images):

Location

Pre 2008

Current / Proposed

Approximate area of car parking and hardstanding

Standard car spaces

Approximate area  of car parking and hardstanding

Standard Car spaces

Accessible spaces

Cycle spaces

Coach / Minibus

East Marsh

 

2,562 m2

910 m2 overspill

143 including overspill

2,746m(current)

53

4

30

5

North Marsh

 

7,719m2

240 Approx.

5,749m(proposed)

60

8

26

5

South Marsh

 

5,642m2

218

7,170m(current)

184

18

106

7

Total

 

15,923m2

601

15,665m2

297

30

162

17

 

Why do you need parking spaces when people could use public transport or cycle? And aren’t you just creating more congestion?

The proposed parking provision is based on a comprehensive Transport Assessment, which considers who will be the main users and how many will there be, where they are coming from, what are they bringing with them, the nearby public transport options and other factors.

The inclusion of minibus parking is expected to provide an improved sustainable offer to users of the marshes and reduce single occupancy car travel and overall congestion.

The new entrance to the East Marsh car park is situated closer to the existing bus stop and will therefore encourage access by public transport.

However, it’s simply unrealistic to think the individuals and teams using the marshes for sport, lots of whom come from many miles away from Hackney, could all get there on bike or public transport. The marshes are poorly served by buses and trains. More fundamentally though is that many of the people travelling there are children or are bringing kit and equipment, such as footballs, cones, cricket bats and pads. Cars or minibuses are the only realistic option in many instances. 

 

How can the council apply to itself for planning permission?

More accurately, it’s one part of the council (in this instance, the Health & Community Services directorate) applying to its planning department – technically referred to as the Local Planning Authority which sits within the council but is independent of it. This is a very common practice and happens all the time at councils across the country.

The Local Planning Authority has a legal duty to consider an application from another council department using all the rules, regulations, processes etc that it would from an application from an outside body. For significant developments like this, the application will be discussed and decided on by the planning committee, made up of elected councillors, at a public meeting where interested people and organisations can have their say. 

 

Why did the council use a planning consultant?

This planning applictaion is extremely complex. As such, the Health & Community Services directorate, which is not staffed by planning experts, wanted to ensure its application was sound and free of technical omissions which would waste both time and resources.

It is very common practice for councils to use consultants for complex planning applications as, for obvious reasons of impartiality, they can’t ask for advice from their own planning department which will be judging the application. Firstplan is a leading independent planning consultancy which is experienced in this area and has worked on similar sites throughout the UK.

 

Image gallery

Hover cursor over an image to identify. Click to enlarge. Full and high resolution versions of images can be downloaded once selected.