Improving Hackney Marshes
Over recent years Hackney Council has been delivering a multi million pound investment programme at Hackney Marshes, part of the borough 's Olympic legacy. We've seen the Hackney Marshes Centre built, new cricket and football pitches and improvements to footpaths and cycle ways.
Now the East Marsh is being returned as pitches and we are building a new pavilion on the north Marsh to replace dilapidated changing rooms. We looked carefully at building on the existing site but issues ranging from the presence of a Thames Water main, impact on a Site of Importance for Nature Conversation and the visual impact of a two storey building meant we are now proposing an alternative location. It is important to note that the proposals will only require one tree to be removed, but this will be replaced by 28 trees including a rare Black Poplar, grown locally from seed at Hackney Tree Nursery.
In terms of parking, our overall proposals would result in 357 parking spaces compared to 490 in the past with 156 new bicycle parking spaces.
There are a number of reasons why we want to see some car parking to serve the East Marsh when it is returned. It will limit on road parking and congestion for local residents at busy times, make the East Marsh more accessible to people with disabilities and provide easier access for emergency vehicles for the occasions when people playing sport are badly injured. As already mentioned, the parking proposed includes new cycle parking in line with our overall commitment to more sustainable travel – a long term commitment that has made Hackney the cycling capital of London.
The Marshes are incredibly special and they cater for a really wide range of uses. Balancing the competing demands will always be a challenge but we feel massively improved sports facilities and a reduction in overall parking numbers is the right approach to take.
A recent consultation on plans to improve and replace the dilapidated changing rooms on North Marsh indicated that 63.2% (141) of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that replacement was a good idea, with 70.9% in favour of the proposed location.