Friday, 16 August 2019

Pocket Park under threat


Council to flatten mature Pocket Park and 100 trees regardless of Climate Emergency Declaration

Pocket Park to become builders’ depot
A deputation from ‘Love Lea Bridge’ group gasped when they heard from WF Cabinet Member Cllr Simon Miller last Friday that the first phase of the Council’s Lea Bridge Station Sites development will be the conversion of the existing Orient Way Pocket Park into a construction depot and heavy delivery vehicle stand. The Cabinet is expected to engage developers in April 2020, only two months after the expected completion of the massive ‘Motion’ estate now being built opposite the Pocket Park.
Medical and community facilities bereft at the new Lea Bridge Town Centre
When questioned about infrastructure facilities for the ‘Motion’ estate and the subsequent development at Lea Bridge Town Centre, Cllr Miller further told ‘Love Lea Bridge’ that health commissioners have declined to site a primary health care resource on the Pocket Park site owing to the difficulty of vehicular access. Although 1,000 new residents are due to move into the Motion estate from October this year, and while the numbers of trains calling at Lea bridge station is being increased, the Council have so far been unable to secure any agreement from TfL to extend the W19 bus route from Argall Way along Orient Way. TfL’s decision to cut the 48 bus route from the same date will reduce the public transport access from Lea Bridge to Walthamstow and central London by one-third.
There is currently no pharmacy, post office or GP surgery for this newly-specified urban area which has already been subject to three years of construction disturbance, noise and pollution. The Lea Bridge Station sites project will add five more years of similar disruption.
Pocket Park’s function as pollution-buster and flood-preventer ignored by Council
The ‘Love Lea Bridge’ deputation, which included local residents as well as individual members of the Green Party, the Labour Party, Waltham Forest Extinction Rebellion and Waltham Forest Animal Protection, were dismayed that Cllr Miller refused to review the need for the Pocket Park as part of protecting this part of the borough from the effects of climate change. The ‘Love Lea Bridge’ deputation pointed to the Pocket Park’s essential local role in improving air quality, providing flood defence and as a rich natural habitat for birds, insects and wildlife.                               /ends.











Left: ‘Love Lea Bridge’ group with the pop-up photo display they showed to Cllr Miller. Right: tall mature trees in the Orient Way Pocket Park destined to be felled.

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