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From: Hackney Marshes Users Group
To: tim@hmug.org.uk
Sent: Tuesday, 1 May 2012, 19:30
Subject: Marshes to be shut off for 4 weeks

Hello HMUG supporters,

This may be something you want to act on, and suggestions for action are given at the end.

The two-day festival taking place on Hackney Marshes on 23rd and 24th June will, according to the council, necessitate the closure of a large section of the Marshes to the public for one month. Three lines of fencing with large exclusion zones between them will ultimately be put up, with work commencing on 9th June.

In particular, for a whole four weeks, the well-used path from Friends Bridge to Homerton Road which follows the Old River Lea will be closed. There will be no public access to the river bank.

During the festival the canal towpath from Lea Bridge to White Post Lane will be closed from Friday 22nd to the 25th June.

The closure of a large section of the Marshes for one month is unacceptable. These arrangements take no account of the large number of local people who visit and use the Marshes on a regular basis for informal recreation and to enjoy the peace and quiet it provides. The proposed closure of the path along the Old River Lea, will deprive regular users of one of the best parts of the Marshes for walking, running, cycling and watching the wildlife.

The reason given for the excessive security arrangements is that the organisers want to have control of numbers and do not want the event 'swamped', so are trying to ensure no-one without a ticket gets a look in. A large and highly promoted event is bound to attract more than ticket-holders.

The use of public open space for an event is one thing, but to hold one that excludes public use of common land for a month suggests that the Marsh is not an appropriate place for such an event.

The council is spuriously claiming that the festival will bring people to the Marshes who would not otherwise go there and, therefore, attract them to use the Marshes more. The festival will attract a large number of people because there is a festival, not for the space, peacefulness and wildlife. People going to a concert are not concerned about the location, they are going to see bands and party.

The experience of the event-goers will be one of being herded across football pitches to a secured site. How much of the marsh will they even see over the security fence? Post-event, the aim is to clear the site as quickly as possible. Anyone attempting to explore the Marshes any further than the fencing will find the long arm of security around them, as will members of the public who want to use the space as is their right.

Local residents will presumably be affected by the noise and traffic congestion that will be generated by the event and its build-up.

Two trees have been cut down for vehicle access by the Marsh Centre, adding to the trees lost when the centre was built, and sections of the hawthorn hedge along Homerton Road are being torn out (the project manager refers to them as 'shrubs').

If this concerns you please contact your local councillor(s).
Please copy to HMUG at
The marsh is in Kings Park ward, councillors listed here:
but if you live elsewhere in Hackney please write to your own ward councillors

Other people you could contact are:
Cabinet member for parks Jonathan McShane
Cabinet member for sustainability Sophie Linden
Head of parks, Ian Holland
Senior parks development officer Sam Parry
Mayor Jules Pipe

-- Hackney Marshes Users Group (HMUG) are local people who volunteer to look after Hackney Marshes
=> sustainablehackney.org.uk/hmug
=> contact@hmug.org.uk