New sports pavilion for Hackney Marshes approved by Planning Inspectorate
A new sports pavilion on Hackney Marshes took a step closer to becoming reality after the Planning Inspectorate gave the Council’s plans the green light.
The Council proposes to relocate and replace the present changing block on North Marsh - which is dilapidated and does not meet current sporting guidelines and regulations - with a new facility, complete with modern cricket and football changing rooms, social space and viewing area to the ‘show’ cricket pitch.
Proposals for the new pavilion and its suggested site, slightly east of the current block, were also backed by the Football Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Applications for the new building, off Mandeville Road, and an associated car park, and retrospective permission for the East Marsh car park, were approved by the Council’s Planning Committee earlier this year.
However, the Planning Inspectorate, which considers applications on Common Land, decided to hold a public inquiry in Stoke Newington Town Hall in June as a result of objections to the Council’s plans.
After several weeks’ consideration, the inspector found in favour of the Council’s pavilion plans which she said were “consistent with the use of the Marshes as it is intrinsically connected with the enjoyment of traditional pastimes on the common”.
The inspector turned down the Council’s plans for East Marsh on the grounds that “landscape and public rights of access would be harmed”.
The decision about the pavilion is fantastic news and brings us a major step closer to realising the full potential of the Marshes as a centre for sport and community activity, accessible to all.
Lots of people told us they wanted this new pavilion and we worked hard to ensure it would not have a negative impact on the beauty, tranquillity and wildlife of the Marshes. It’s great that the inspector agreed with us, and we can now start planning for the delivery of what will be a brilliant asset for local sports clubs and the borough as a whole.
It’s disappointing that our application for the new car park on East Marsh was turned down and we will now be developing proposals to return this area to grass to comply with the inspector’s decision.
Tom Tanner, Club Secretary of Stoke Newington Cricket Club, which will use the new pavilion as its clubhouse, said: "Hundreds of current cricketers and footballers will be celebrating the decision to give the new pavilion the go-ahead on Hackney Marshes. This is a victory for common sense as it will enable thousands of future aspiring sportspeople the chance to use this fantastic facility, helping improve the health and wellbeing of young people in Hackney and east London."
Mike Gatting, ECB Cricket Partnerships Ambassador, said: “ECB is working with several local authorities across England and Wales to promote cricket in urban areas this application is yet another example of how these partnerships are delivering a lasting legacy for recreational cricketers nationwide.
“This is great news for cricket in the local area and will be a terrific boost for Stoke Newington Cricket Club which is a tremendous club with strong community links and a thriving junior section."
David McDermott, Director of Stakeholder Development at the Football Foundation, said: “The Football Foundation fully supports the upgrading of the facilities at Hackney Marshes. Once completed these developments will significantly improve the quality of experience of players and help sustain and increase participation in our national game.”
Hackney Marshes is widely considered the home of grassroots football with more than 60 football pitches, the greatest concentration in Europe. It also has three rugby pitches and is a burgeoning cricket hub with 10 cricket pitches.