Lammas land grab

Secret plans to hand over protected green space in Leyton to allotment holders from Hackney are being hatched by Waltham Forest Council and Olympic developers.

Submitted by Steven. on January 28, 2006

Furious local people learned about the scheme only last week though discussions began in October.

Marsh Lane playing fields were singled out by the London Development Agency (LDA) as a prospective site to relocate Eastway allotments from Waterden Road, Hackney, which fall within the 2012 Olympic site.

The fields around Marsh Lane are known as Lammas land, green space held in trust for the public by the council, and a condition attached to the stewardship of this land is that it cannot be fenced in and people must be free to roam there.

The council and the LDA, which is Mayor Ken Livingstone's development wing, confirmed that discussions over the land were under way.

A spokesman for Waltham Forest Council said: "The council is expecting to receive a planning application from the LDA temporarily to relocate allotments currently situated in the Olympic Park. A site near Marsh Lane is being considered but negotiations are continuing.

"The expectation is that the allotments will be reprovided back within the Olympic Park after the games have taken place and the park remodelled for its legacy purposes."

Now councillors, residents of Marsh Lane and Lammas supporters are angry and are demanding a full explanation.

John Spears, a resident of nearby Manor Road and chairman of Waltham Forest Allotment Holders, said: "This is a ludicrous situation. The LDA is planning to take around one third of the open space at Marsh Lane.

"This an attempted land grab by the LDA without any prior consultation with the public."

Cllr Bob Sullivan, who spoke at a meeting of the Friends of Marsh Lane on Monday, said: "Nobody seems to know anything about this.

"We've not heard a sound from anyone yet since the ideas were first put to the allotment holders in Hackney last October.

"What they are suggesting is horrendous. It is not going to be temporary and the land is not suitable for allotments.

"It's full of rubble from the Second World War.

"This is common land. It should be regenerated as a green open space for the people of Waltham Forest as part of the Olympic package, not given away."

from Leyton Guardian