Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Emergency alert! Council hoping to dispose of Leyton County Ground

A big story back in 2005 was the massive disappearance of school and community playing fields. Labour was pledged to stop this. So naturally our local Labour/Lib Dem coalition council is now planning to get rid of Leyton County Ground, a large playing field in Leyton which is enclosed by Crawley Road, Brewster Road and High Road Leyton. It has a distinguished sporting history and is used for sporting activities by young people from across the borough.

The council wants to pour concrete over this large green space by redeveloping it as a ‘campus’. Ownership would be transferred to a Trust, which would develop the site through one of those notorious Private Finance Initiative schemes. The Trust would apparently also run the primary and secondary schools and sixth form unit which would be built on the site.

Leyton County Ground is currently designated open space and before the council’s plans can go ahead it has to de-designate it, after advertising its intentions to the local community. Its only effort to do so, apparently, was in wfm (issue 42 page 16), hidden away in small print as a change of use of Leyton Youth Centre.

One local campaigner fighting this plan says “It appears to be another example of the Council giving away valuable assets and trying to wash its hands of its duty to the local community in as secretive a way as possible.”

Objections to the proposal must be made no later than 19th February.

If you are a resident of the London Borough of Waltham Forest you can email an objection to

Include your postal address and give a reason or reasons why you oppose this plan.

The most obvious objection is that this is a valuable community open space with a long history of use by the borough’s young people and others for sporting activities.

Secondary planning objections can include such matters as increases in volume of traffic and parking demand.

You can obtain a copy of the plan (apparently a paltry single sheet of paper) from an obscure office on an industrial estate in Walthamstow:

Childrens and Young People Services, London Borough of Waltham Forest,
Silver Birch House, Entrance A, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, London E17 5SD.

The above address is also the one to use if you are posting a letter of objection, but make sure it is addressed to Chris Loy.

There are some local objections registered on this blog and the local Lib Dems appear to be opposed to the scheme, though since they form part of the council they are in a strong position to do something about it.

If through some extraordinary mischance you have already thrown away your old copy of wfm, here’s how this slippery council has chosen to enlighten local people about its cosy PFI scheme:

Change of Use of Leyton Youth Centre Crawley Road Leyton London E10 6PY
NOTICE is hereby given that a proposal has been made that land held for the purpose of playing fields should be used for the construction of a learning and leisure campus; this land is described in the schedule below. The Council owns the land situated in Crawley Road Leyton E10 6PY.
A plan has been deposited at the Council offices at Silver Birch House Uplands Business Centre Blackhorse Lane Walthamstow London E17 showing the extent of the land.
Any person wishing to object to or to comment upon this proposal should email or write to Mr Chris Loy setting out their objection or comments. All correspondence arriving before noon on the 19th February 2009 will be considered before a final decision is taken. Objections to the intended change of use must be made by no later than by noon on the 19th February 2009 by email or in writing and addressed to:
Mr Chris Loy, Childrens and Young People Services, London Borough of Waltham Forest,
Silver Birch House, Entrance A, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, London E17 5SD.
THIS NOTICE is issued by the Acting Director of Governance and Law to the Council for the London Borough of Waltham Forest and is dated the 26th January 2009.
SCHEDULE: Leyton Sports Ground High Road Leyton London E10.