Under-used NE London? Not by these schemes

Lea Navigation © david.altheer@gmail.com

ONE OF northeast London’s finest recreational and nature resources has been described by an influential property commentator as  “under-utilised”.

Writing in the Evening Standard about Enfield’s announcement of Meridian Water, the council’s £1.3 billion, 85-hectare scheme for 5,000 new homes, property writer Peter Bill said: “It  [the scheme] will all be within a three-kilometre wide strip of gritty urban space, split by the ‘green lung’ of the under-utilised 10,000-acre Lee Valley Park.”

Caroline Day, of campaign group Save Leyton Marsh, commented: “It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the term ‘green lung’ to posit this space as ‘under-utilised’. A green lung is an area of parkland within a city that has virtue because of the healthier environment it provides as undeveloped green.

“Any development on green space means it no longer has the same virtue nor provides the same health or well-being aspects as critically important green land, green land that absorbs carbon, rather than adds to our ever-expanding carbon footprint.”

Enfield council said Meridian Water would be “highly accessible” for its new residents, as well as for those already in the area.

© Enfield ccl
Artist’s impression: the Meridian Water scheme

In a press statment council leader Doug Taylor (Labour) added: “Not only will we be providing high-quality waterfront living for families in a fabulous setting but we are also working closely with a number of partners to improve the infrastructure around this project to make sure the education, transport links and leisure infrastructure necessary for a development of this size are provided at the right time.”

The Meridian Water scheme, southeast of Angel Road station N18 3AY, is part of Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson’s Upper Lee Valley Opportunity Area Planning Framework, a voluminous document launched at City Hall last week.

It outlines a bigger plan to build more than 20,100 “new well-designed homes” in the valley as far north as the M25. As usual with such announcements, it talks about job creation, promising in this case 15,000.

This scheme has been devised by the Greater London Authority in co-operation with Enfield and Transport for London, and Hackney, Waltham Forest and Haringey councils.

Stephen Wilkinson, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s planning and strategic partnership head, told Loving Dalston: “We have been working closing with the GLA and surrounding boroughs on the development of the framework.

“The park attracts around 5 million visitors each year; a figure which has grown steadily over the last few years. The authority seeks to strike a balance between preserving areas for biodiversity while seeking to encourage visitors to the parks, open spaces and venues.

“The framework recognises the importance of securing improved access to the park. The authority’s recent opening of the campsite at the WaterWorks Centre in the Lea Bridge Road area, together with plans for new riding stables at Lee Valley Riding Centre and continued work on the Walthamstow Wetlands project is designed to encourage access and participation in sport and leisure.”

Hamish Scott 300713

© Enfield council
Canalisation: the planners take a ‘municipalisation’ design approach

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

* The official documents use the Lee not Lea spelling. It is likely to become widespread. — Ed.

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