Monday 16 February 2009

The search for Silver Birch House

The local rag has picked up on the saga of the Council’s desire to rid itself of Leyton County Ground.

I went looking for bucolic Silver Birch House. The first time I wandered around the industrial estate off the unfortunately named Hookers Road without finding it.

Undeterred I went back the following day. Trying to find Silver Birch House is a bit like trying to return the ring in that interminable Tolkien epic. My quest entailed cycling along the terrifying Formula One race track known as Blackhorse Lane. Eventually I found it. It is tucked away here.

As a Council office used by the public I naturally looked for the cycle stands for visitors put there by the most progressive cycling authority in Greater London. Gosh, you can just imagine how surprised I was when I discovered there weren’t any. Just reserved car parking for council staff.

A charming person at reception explained I was only the second person who had succeeded in crossing the great Plain of Futility, fought off the Orcs, slayed the fiery dragon, and visited to ask for a copy of the plan.

I should have had that Franz Kafka with me. The plan turns out to be a single sheet of paper showing the perimeter of the playing fields. Yes, I could just have stayed at home and looked at an A-Z with a magnifying glass. The accompanying planning papers, which can be read on a notice board, were equally sparse and uninformative. In fact you'd find out more reading this blog than the Council's anal-retentive dribble of arid and impoverished data.

Unfair! The site plan did contain a statistic. Apparently the gross volume of the site amounts to 39,246 square metres. Well, you can see why any property developer might be gripped by uncontrollable salivation.

The Council seems to have paid a consultancy to produce this utterly useless, uninformative and redundant sheet of paper, as the small print says ‘Produced by School Organisation, Partnership and Development.’ I expect it was a bargain costing not much more that fifty grand. So much cheaper than photocopying the A-Z.

You now have just three days to lodge an objection to the de-designation of this land as public open space, so if you haven't done so already, do it now.