Reinstatement of Porters Field   
  Lea Marshes   Basketball project

This file contains response (below) from LBWF planning officer explaining why it signed off a planning condition about the reinstatement of soil at Porters Field, an email to LBWF complaining about this sign off and expressing doubts that LBWF had the competence to do it. An email from Claire Weiss about the soil reinstatement stating that the leader of LBWF had revealed alarming information about the topsoil and a letter from LBWF to Arup confirming that the topsoil planning condition had been discharged.
020 8496 6711
Dear Mr Brind,
Re: Reinstatement of Leyton Marsh
Thank you for your email of 7th February 2013,

The role of the Local Planning Authority is to process applications and to deal with matters arising from the conditions imposed when such applications are approved. As such, we are the relevant body to discharge the conditions, but during the process of this we consulted external bodies where appropriate,

During the construction of the temporary basketball venue fragments of asbestos cement sheeting and an unexploded World War II bomb were discovered. As such, this presented an additional issue for the reinstatement which was lo ensure that any contaminated material stayed separate from the clean material.

The depth of the geotextile membrane during reinstatement was not decided upon due to time constraints but primarily for human health reasons. The plan was designed to avoid unnecessary movement and re-exposure of contaminated waste in the underlying historic landfill. In addition to avoid movement of the rubble, placement of the membrane at a lower level would have led to further imported soil and such soil would have been unlikely to provide the ground stability required in relation to the adjoining make-up.
The reinstatement plan was:

1. To remove drainage ground elements and backHIt with "sub-soil" (6F2) to create a level site.
2. Lay brightly coloured geotextile membrane
3. Lay existing (stockpiled) topsoil
4. Lay appropriate wildflower turf

The membrane is permeable and provides a visual marker and physical barrier lo prevent utility company workers, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority ecologists, etc from unintentionally exposing themselves and other users of the Marsh from contaminants in the rubble during any future works.

There was insufficient existing topsoil to be placed on the membrane so imported material from Rainham was brought onto site. Both types of topsoil were tested and certified as clean' and suitable for human health.

The topsoil was installed throughout Oct 2012 during a period of heavy rainfall and some ponding of water was evident. Ponding occurred in areas Both over The geotextile membrane and around the perimeter of the site where topsoil had been , stockpiled but where there was no pre-existing geotextile membrane.

Officers from the Council's Development Management, Environmental Health and Tree Preservation & Nature Conservation services visited the site during the remediation works and verified that the works were carried out in accordance with the steps I have set out above. Accordingly the condition has been complied with and duly discharged, I attach a copy of the letter.

Thereafter, responsibility for ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the land returns to the LVRPA If they are dissatisfied with the work undertaken, then it Is for them to pursue with the ODA or any other residual body under the terms of the contract they signed (which the Council was not party to). I am satisfied that the Council as the Local Planning Authority has fulfilled its function in relation to the post Games reinstatement of the land and has no further action to take.
Your sincerely,
Ian Ansell
Section Manager
Development Management

Environment and Regeneration
Deputy Chief Executive &
Executive Director- Shifa Mustafa
Waltham Forest

Sycamore House, Town Hall Complex, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JF
Nick Finney
13 Fitzroy St

Ask for: TMcKoy
Our Ref 2011/1560
Your Ref -
Direct line: 020 8496 6711
Direct line -
Date- 13 December 2012

Dear Mr. Finney,
LOCATION: Leyton Marsh, Behind Lee Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, E10
DEVELOPMENT: Discharge of conditions 1,12,13 & 14 in relation to the formation of a temporary basketball training venue comprising two 11 metre high modular court buildings, tented reception facility, access road, drop off area, car park, plant storage containers, perimeter fencing in association with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, between 1st March 2012 and 15th October 2012.
I write to update on planning conditions for the above.
1> The submitted details contained within the reinstatement plan (ref.12215-12) issue:V2 dated September 2012, received 04/09/2013 are accepted. In addition, the email from Ian Mead dated 10th September 2012 confirming the proposed revised methodology for the reinstatement and revised plan by STRI showing 200mm of topsoil and 40mm of turf, received 12th September 2012 are accepted. Condition 1 is hereby discharged.
12. The submitted details are agreed and this condition is hereby discharged.
13. The submitted details are agreed and this condition is hereby discharged.
14. I can confirm that the details contained within the Remediation Summary Statement, received 7th September 2012, email from Ian Mead dated 10th September 2012 confirming the proposed revised methodology for the reinstatement and revised plan by STRI showing 200mm of topsoil and 40mm of turf received 12th September 2012 are accepted.
The import log of 6F2 material (crushed concrete) and consignment notes received on 6th November are satisfactory.
The topsoil delivery notes received 12th November 2012 are satisfactory as is the email trail of 19th November confirming that that the topsoil was purchased from Freelands Soils of Rainham Essex.
Condition 14 is hereby discharged.
Yours sincerely
Ian Ansell
Section Manager
Development Management

Subject: Application 2011/1560
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2013 15:03:16 +0000

From: Jonathan Brind <>
To: , ,

At an LVRPA meeting today Steve Wilkinson stated that LBWF had signed off on the planning condition concerning the reinstatement of the soil subsequent to the removal of the temporary basketball courts on Porters Field (Leyton Marsh), application 2011/1560. Is this true? If it is it seems very unfortunate since it was stated at the meeting that London Wildlife is to inspect the area in March to see if the original long list of plants found prior to the development, is growing on the site. Isn't LBWF taking a risk by jumping the gun? I believe that a different type of soil was used to replace the original soil since tests establshed (rather belatedly in my opinion) that this soil was hazardous as a result of the concentration of asbestos discovered. So far as I am aware very few of the long list of plants found there are now growing on the turf used to replace the top soil. On what basis could LBWF say that the condition had been met? In any case I can't see under what power LBWF is signing off planning conditions? Surely once planning permission has been granted it's a matter for the community or interested parties to compllain if conditions are not kept? LBWF neither has the personpower nor the remit to say this or that condition has been carried out. I accept that prior to development planning officers have a role in making sure conditions are properly applied and even sometimes negotiate with potential builders, but surely not post development when a building has been demolished? If, for example, legal action was taken over the evident failure to comply with this condition, wouldn't LBWF's signing off be used as part of the process? Would LBWF really want to expose itself to the risk of being wrong footed over this matter?

Yours etc, Jonathan Brind 519 Lea Bridge Road, London E10 7EB

On 13/02/2013 08:33, Claire Weiss wrote:
Dear Miss Hood,

Thankyou for this holding response. I am coming back to you as suggested as I have heard that Cllr Robbins yesterday or earlier made a statement directly to Mayor Jules Pipe of Hackney about the reinstatement of Leyton Marsh following its use as temporary training venue for Olympic basketball. As I understand it, Cllr Robbins has revealed that:

* the turf on Leyton Marsh is now rotting as a result of processes and materials used in the reinstatement,

* and that topsoil from Rainham Marshes had to be imported to Leyton in an attempt to address damage incurred during the tenure of the land by the ODA.

This is quite new information, and very alarming. The ODA appears to have left a costly mess; another precious open space has been raided; the public remain unable to use Leyton Marsh as had been agreed and the promise of restoring the ecological environment moves further and further into the future.

Cllr Robbins ends by reportedly blaming the date set by his own Waltham Forest Council Planning Committee (15 October) as having been too early to allow for proper reinstatement.

I'm disappointed that Cllr Robbins has chosen to communicate this news to LB Hackney, before informing his own borough residents including myself, particularly as you indicated he would be responding to me around this time.

I trust however that Cllr Robbins will have already given his statement to the WF Councillors of Lea Bridge Ward, since they will be discussing this issue tonight (13th February) at the Lea Bridge Ward Community Forum, where they have before them a letter from Derrick Ashley, the Chairman of the LVRPA, about the reinstatement of Leyton Marsh (WF ref 130110), a letter which gives a more optimistic account compared to that which Cllr Robbins is now reported as having stated to Mayor Pipe.

I have copied in the Save Lea Marshes email group who are campaigning about this issue, and those democratic representatives who have expressed concern about the reinstatement of Leyton Marsh.

As a resident of Waltham Forest I look forward to hearing:

* Cllr Robbins' statement about Leyton Marsh directly from him
* how he intends to lobby and/or work with the LVRPA and other agencies/representatives to restore public access and the proper biodiversity of Leyton Marsh
* and not least to lobby to ensure that the ODA pays in full for the damage they have caused to this part of our borough while they spent £5million on building and demolishing basketball courts that were never opened for residents to use or view.


Claire Weiss
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