|How to object
By Katy Andrews
Someone asked me last night for a list of bullet points to make when writing, so here goes:
IF YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN AN OBJECTION LETTER YET
Get it in by lunchtime tomorrow, as the Draft Report is coming to the Planning Dept weekly meeting on Thursday morning (usually held first thing) this week.
Objections on the grounds of (briefly! - and you don't need to make all of them and you may have others of your own):
1) Absence of an Environmental Statement despite severe detrimental
biodiversity impacts, due to the length of time the "temporary" structure would be in place and the threat of increased footfall pressure on the environmentally sensitive areas around the perimeter of the Portersfield Meadow
2) Insufficient reason has been given for requiring this particular location, which is protected by national and regional (London Plan section 7.17) legislation regarding Metropolitan Open Space and is contrary to the Waltham Forest Unitary Development Plan - if the matter is of such national importance, why has it taken until 6 months before the Games to start looking for a venue, and why are no other sites considered mentioned in the planning application and their lack of suitability
3) Loss of amenity of green open space for local residents, many of whom live in flats without gardens and use the area for recreational pursuits and for exercising their dogs (and horses), and an unwarranted inroad into a Regional Park that is intended to be a "green lung" in the urban surroundings and "a playground for [all] Londoners" not just the local community in Clapton
4) The proposed site cuts off two well-used “informal” footpaths, which are clearly visible on the ground and from aerial photographs of the area. The area is also one of the few places on the marshes where the ground does not easily waterlog, to the point where horses can be ridden off-track without causing poaching.
5) To recommend granting permission would be to fly in the face of all planning guidance and legislation, including the Lee Valley Regional Park Act and the current Park Plan (which the LVRPA are themselves ignoring)
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SENT IN AN OBJECTION LETTER AND NOW WISH TO WRITE DIRECTLY TO THE OFFICERS ABOUT THE REPORT TO COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Again, do try to get it in by tomorrow lunchtime, or 5pm at the latest.
1) Suggest conditions - which can include remediation measures and substantial environmental improvements to the area after the training venues are removed (should they be given permission).
2) Tell the officers that the question of whether this is of sufficient "national importance" to justify setting aside all planning guidance and legislation at every level, from local to regional to national to European Wildlife and Habitat Directives, is not a planning matter but a matter of political judgement which it is beyond the scope of the Planning Officers to decide. Their recommendations shoul dbe made on planning grounds only, and on that basis they must recommned refusal of planning permission.
(It is up to the members of the Planning Committee whether or not to accept the Officers' recommendations, regarding granting or refusing permission and with regard to Planning Conditions, and the chances are that a majority will vote for the scheme to go ahead.)
THE ITEMS TO BE PUT ON THE AGENDA FOR THE 7th FEBRUARY P.C. MEETING WILL BE POSTED ON THE WF WEBSITE ON THURSDAY 19th JANUARY. People who wish to address the Committee at the meeting need to ring up the Committee Secretary (Brenada Danahar) themselves to ask for a place. They will probably run a waiting list in case someone drops out. PLEASE can everyone keep in touch with the other objectors of whom they are aware, and in particular could you let Councillor Barry Buitekant know (firstname.lastname@example.org) as he is a Riverside Close resident who wishes to speak, and we need to be clear as to who is permitted to speak and for how long, and what each person is going to say.
You can write to members of the Planning Committee any time after the Agenda Items list is up, but please bear in mind that the Members will not know anything about the area or the planning application, and will not have seen any of the planning documentation that we have seen - nor will any of us have seen the final Officer's Report, so we will have no idea which way it is going to go in terms of making a planning recommendation until the Report is published five days before the Cttee meeting, so we can't ask them to consider voting any particular way at that stage.
Therefore, if you do write to Cttee members at this stage it can be only to introduce them to the application - the best thing to do is to send a copy of your original letter of objection (assuming you have written one) with a very brief covering letter. They will never ever see your letter otherwise, so this is what I usually do at that point - it involves very little actual work! Please remember all letters sent must be worded absolutely identically to each member, and should be sent c/o Members' Room at the WF Town Hall, Forest Road, E17.
Once the Report is published we have really only a couple of days to get any further comments in, in light of the Officer's Report recommendations, as most PC members read the Agenda over the weekend and not all will collect their post or have it couriered to them before Monday.
I'd suggest that we should try to meet on the evening of Thursday 2nd February - which just happens to be the UN's international World Wetlands Day! - to discuss what we are going to say in our letters, and also to sort out who is going to be speaking about what at the Planning Committee meeting - you only get three minutes each!
There may be also turn out to be some quite substantial changes to the scenario from what we have at present - for instance, someone called Claire from WS Atkins is working with the Borough's Arboricultural and Wildlife Officer (Mike Punchard) to prepare some sort of unoffician environmental impact assessment, at his insistence, and LOCOG are on the point of agreeing NOT to use floodlighting at all and only very minimal perimeter lighting. There are also discussions ongoing between mike and the LVRP's Ranger Service about possibly fencing off the environmentally sensitive long meadow-grass area from dogs for the duration of the Games use (although skylarks haven't nested there for about 7 years, probably because that is when the “professional dog-walkers” started turning up in force with large numbers of dogs). We in NLLDC certainly know how difficult it can be to get fences taken up once they have been put in! and it isn't an option we'd be happy with.
Well, all for now -