Marsh restoration 'a tragic mess'

Campaigners and Jenny Jones (second from right) examine surface water at Leyton Marsh. Photo by Karl Weiss.

Campaigners and Jenny Jones (second from right) examine surface water at Leyton Marsh. Photo by Karl Weiss.

First published in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

CAMPAIGNERS have accused Olympic organisers of leaving a popular green space in a mess, despite promising to restore the site following its use for a temporary training venue.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) pledged to return Leyton Marsh to its original condition after they built a basketball sports hall there over the summer.

Waltham Forest Council granted planning permission on the basis that the land would be back in "pristine condition" by October 15 - a deadline the ODA failed to meet amid claims that efforts had been hampered by heavy rain.

The organisation finally packed up and left Leyton Marsh earlier this month, but campaigners are horrified that replacement turf has seemingly failed to grow into the land properly and that parts now get waterlogged whenever it rains. 

Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones said she was "shocked" at the state of the marsh when she visited the site with campaigners last week.

She said: "There are clearly many broken promises about the restoration of the original space.

"I shall write to Waltham Forest Council to ask them to conduct an environmental impact assessment to quantify the damage that’s been done.

"I shall also write to the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) and to the ODA to establish why the Marsh has not been restored as promised".

Save Leyton Marsh campaigner Katy Andrews added: "It's a tragic mess. The water is not draining away as it should and it comes up to your ankles.

"It's not like a marsh should be, it's like walking in a paddling pool. The water is just sitting there."

A spokesman for the ODA said: "We have completed the reinstatement works in accordance with the specifications agreed with LVRPA and Waltham Forest Council.

"Land on Porter’s Field [Leyton Marsh] used for the temporary basketball venue has now been handed back to LVRPA and an ongoing programme of maintenance has been agreed.

"The reinstatement plan was drafted with residents’ input and they have been kept informed through regular site meetings and ongoing correspondence.”

Comments (9)

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12:38pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

Why are they riding bicycles on wet land and trampling all over it, churning it all up? They should let it settle for a year or so. It looks a right mess as does Jenny's barnet again.
Why are they riding bicycles on wet land and trampling all over it, churning it all up? They should let it settle for a year or so. It looks a right mess as does Jenny's barnet again. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Techno3 says...

It's a mess? How very unexpected.
It's a mess? How very unexpected. Techno3
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Wed 14 Nov 12

sunn says...

It looks like it's been patched up with a bit of turf, what a dreadful way to treat an important part of our local environment.
It looks like it's been patched up with a bit of turf, what a dreadful way to treat an important part of our local environment. sunn
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 14 Nov 12

bakers arms says...

Nature will reclaim the land and it'll be back to normal in no time.
Nature will reclaim the land and it'll be back to normal in no time. bakers arms
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Wed 14 Nov 12

leytonstoner says...

"Waltham Forest Council granted planning permission on the basis that the land would be back in "pristine condition" by October 15 - a deadline the ODA failed to meet amid claims that efforts had been hampered by heavy rain. " -

Funny that - they managed to build the whole basketball complex amid the wettest summer on record and on time.
"Waltham Forest Council granted planning permission on the basis that the land would be back in "pristine condition" by October 15 - a deadline the ODA failed to meet amid claims that efforts had been hampered by heavy rain. " - Funny that - they managed to build the whole basketball complex amid the wettest summer on record and on time. leytonstoner
  • Score: 0

9:09am Thu 15 Nov 12

Sam Hain says...

"It's not like a marsh should be, it's like walking in a paddling pool. The water is just sitting there." Perfect definition of a marsh I'd say!
"It's not like a marsh should be, it's like walking in a paddling pool. The water is just sitting there." Perfect definition of a marsh I'd say! Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Thu 15 Nov 12

hatemordor says...

It's worth pointing out the problem of standing water is caused by a plastic membrane put 12cm below the surface. Unfortunately this will not only prevent drainage but is not porous enough for organisms such as worms to penetrate and could lead to the turf rotting. Nature would love to re-establish herself but hasn't been given the best chance with the botched laying of mono-culture turf consisting almost entirely of rye grass.
It's worth pointing out the problem of standing water is caused by a plastic membrane put 12cm below the surface. Unfortunately this will not only prevent drainage but is not porous enough for organisms such as worms to penetrate and could lead to the turf rotting. Nature would love to re-establish herself but hasn't been given the best chance with the botched laying of mono-culture turf consisting almost entirely of rye grass. hatemordor
  • Score: 0

11:16pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Sam Hain says...

Tell us more, hatemordor, if you know the answers. Why was the membrane put in place and could it be pierced, or the problem area cut out entirely, to allow for drainage? 12cm is about 5 inches in old money so presumably this wouldn't be too difficult? The rye grass is a crass mistake but presumably wildflower seeds or plugs can be put in place as time goes on? Who would pay for it is a moot point (LVRPA? LBWF? LOCOG? LLDC?) but surely all these protesters would be willing to do the job voluntarily.
Tell us more, hatemordor, if you know the answers. Why was the membrane put in place and could it be pierced, or the problem area cut out entirely, to allow for drainage? 12cm is about 5 inches in old money so presumably this wouldn't be too difficult? The rye grass is a crass mistake but presumably wildflower seeds or plugs can be put in place as time goes on? Who would pay for it is a moot point (LVRPA? LBWF? LOCOG? LLDC?) but surely all these protesters would be willing to do the job voluntarily. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Fri 16 Nov 12

hatemordor says...

The membrane was explicitly put in place to 'assist with possible future excavation' (in the original reinstatement plan and quoted in the 'Fears Marsh could Face Future Building Work' WF Guardian article). However it was meant to be placed underneath the construction waste to separate the contaminated material from the imported material. For some reason it was placed on top. Re-seeding would be a massive undertaking; SLM got a quote from SeedBall - the area would require 135,000 seed balls. If the STRI had included all the rare seeds listed in the native species list this would have cost over £10,000. The only species we have is clover. It will not be worth re-seeding if the standing water remains.
The membrane was explicitly put in place to 'assist with possible future excavation' (in the original reinstatement plan and quoted in the 'Fears Marsh could Face Future Building Work' WF Guardian article). However it was meant to be placed underneath the construction waste to separate the contaminated material from the imported material. For some reason it was placed on top. Re-seeding would be a massive undertaking; SLM got a quote from SeedBall - the area would require 135,000 seed balls. If the STRI had included all the rare seeds listed in the native species list this would have cost over £10,000. The only species we have is clover. It will not be worth re-seeding if the standing water remains. hatemordor
  • Score: 0

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