A controversial allotment site in Leyton which was supposed to be temporary will become a permanent feature in the marshes.

Councillors voted unanimously to retain the Marsh Lane site at a planning committee meeting last night.

In passing the vote committee members drew attention to long waiting lists for plots in the borough and the health and food benefits for plot holders.

But campaigners say the 64-plot site, which was built as a temporary facility, is now falling into disrepair and retaining it will result in a loss of valuable open space.

Permission was granted in 2007 to temporarily move the allotments from Waterden Road, Stratford, after they were bulldozed to make way for a concrete walkway on the Olympic site.

In 2006 Waltham Forest's planning committee turned down a submission from the London Development Agency to move the allotments to Marsh Lane.

A revised plan was later approved.

“The question for me comes back to whether we want allotments that are very sought after in the borough or do we agree to bulldoze the site back to what it was before – an underused playground area,” Higham Hill ward councillor Karen Bellamy said.

“I think we need the allotments.”

Councillor Jenny Gray said: “I think the allotments improve the appearance of the park and that they compliment the green space.”

Campaigners and the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee, a group working to defend the open space of Leyton Marshes, claim Waltham Forest already has the highest allotment provision of any borough.

They say that in 2006 the council stated that there was no need to move the allotments to their current site and that it makes no sense to retain them now.

Campaigner Katy Andrews said: “These were supposed to be a temporary relocation and by retaining it we are permanently losing this area.”

Plot holder representative Mark Carlton said sheds at the site are falling apart because they were meant to be temporary.

“A whole lot of issues would need to be addressed to plan for what we thought would be in the Olympic Park,” he said.

“We would consider that to be a big loss.”

Temporary permission for the site was due to expire in December this year.