|"Don't panic, we know what's best" LBWF
| Council Leader [mailto:Leader@walthamforest.gov.uk]
Sent: 27 April 2012 08:48
Subject: RE: Leyton Marsh 'Temporary Basketball Courts' (ref CR 201445)
Dear Ms Sagar,
Thank you for your recent email.
The works to create the temporary basketball venue on Leyton Marsh have been the subject of much interest and debate. You may have attended the meeting of the Council's Planning Committee when the application was heard at which time Councillors debated the issues for some time before voting to allow the development to proceed, taking account of the unique circumstances and challenges presented by the region hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games and particularly mindful that the permission is for a temporary period and the land will be reinstated after the completion of the Games.
Upon commencement of work, it became apparent that site conditions were not entirely as first expected and it has proven necessary to remove more soil to provide a solid base for the buildings. This is not uncommon in building projects. In considering the additional excavation, officers have spent much time satisfying themselves that the works did not raise new and further concerns in relation to the content of material being removed, archaeological and amenity interests.
On the question of the removed material, the Council's Contaminated Land Officer has responded to another enquiry as follows:
The Ground Investigation Report by RSA Geotechnics Ltd (Jan 2012) showed elevated levels of lead in soil samples but no asbestos was identified. In addition, the asbestos screening tests carried out on cement sheeting found in borehole 1 did not identify the presence of asbestos. While the potential for asbestos containing materials within the made ground cannot be ruled out, vigilance will be maintained by groundworkers during excavation.
There has to be a potential linkage between the hazard on site (elevated contaminants of concern) and the end-users for there to be a potential risk to human health. For instance, there would have to be (say) direct ingestion of soil, inhalation of dust, etc. During development works, construction workers will be exposed to the made ground. To mitigate the potential risk to their health, appropriate levels of personal protective equipment is required.
In general, the marshes in this area remain relatively undisturbed so there will be a limited amount of exposure to the soil by users.
Unexploded ordnance has been found on development sites across London for many years and is an unfortunate fact of the city's history. Procedures for such instances are well established and before work commenced the required surveys were undertaken and detected the presence of metal underground. As a result, a specialist consultant monitored the excavations and when the unexploded device was discovered, work on site was stopped and the device was disposed of in the prescribed manner under police supervision with no danger to local residents or users of the Marsh.
I am satisfied therefore that the decision to allow the development to go ahead was properly made and taking account of all the issues was the right decision for the Council to have come to. I am also satisfied that the measures taken during the works so far completed have been fully scrutinised and have minimised any potential risks to the local area and community. Further safeguards are in place to ensure that once the 2012 Games are over, the site will be rapidly returned to its open character for public use.
I trust I have answered your concerns but if you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact me again.
Cllr Chris Robbins
Leader of the Council