Open letter to Matthew Essex, Redbridge Director of Regeneration

Open letter to Matthew Essex

Re:Sudden appearance of a ‘temporary’ car park in Fairlop Waters.

If you care about our Green Belt Land you can also write and tell him you’re not happy. Please read it through.

Hello Matthew,
Many thanks for taking the time to reply but unfortunately there are still some grave concerns which I will list below.

I still do not understand why there was no mention from Vision at the Phase 2 Public Consultation of car parking problems in Fairlop Waters. The fact that they waited until the day the consultation process was over to start the work smacks of lack of transparency and deceitfulness.

Surely this grass car park will not be temporary but permanent, unless you are planning to restore the area in September, and will therefore require planning permission? The fact that it will only be used on a certain number of days does not make it temporary, it will still be there.

If Redbridge Council is putting the environment first as laid out in their Climate Change Action Plan, particularly the section on car parks and public transport on Page 18, then surely alternative solutions should have been looked for and adopted? For example, ensuring all available 220 car park spaces are used by directing people to the east side car parks (which are always empty) if those near the clubhouse are full; bollards and traffic wardens on duty to stop illegal parking; promoting public transport links including Newbury Park, Barkingside and Fairlop tube stations and bus links to Barkingside which are all close by; reaching agreement with other facilities nearby to use their parks on busy occasions,such as PowerLeague or Redbridge Sports Centre. You seem very willing to build car parks but only provide 3 spaces for cycles in the whole park so again not really considering sustainable travel.

How many cars have been calculated to occupy this space and what would then happen if this was deemed not enough, just expand it?

Surely you have also got to consider whether there are actually too many users to the Park. With increased activities and people at the weekend it can be dangerous walking round the lake, when cyclists, hire bikes, horses, buggies, walkers and runners are all having to share the same space, risk assessment has to come before revenue! Again the Lake is becoming so busy I dread to think what is happening to its ecology.

I know it’s good for revenue but maybe if it’s causing traffic problems this Country Park is not the right location for large weddings?

A quick search on Google Maps will show there were no previous vehicle entrance points here as you have stated. In fact the entrance for golfers and vehicles was another 150 metres up the path across from the putting practice green. So in fact two wide, vehicle entrance points have been bulldozed into the hedge (as the areas contained mature trees and shrubs I object to it being called a vegetative bund). See photos below, the first two show the areas before being bulldozed that you said were already vehicle access and the third shows the golfers entrance, nowhere near the car park which I think you may have been shown a photo of – more deceit?

Before – Google maps

AFTER they bulldozed the area

Golfers Entrance

Also, this area is not just “scrub” but beautifully maturing meadowland, now home to a number of rare species including orchids and butterflies.

We all know that the underlying soil has had gravel removed and is mainly clay-based so in wet conditions with cars going over it the ground here is going to very soon get compacted and waterlogged. Is there a plan to asphalt the bulldozed entrances?

Can we be assured that this space will not be used in order to host other activities such as music festivals which was mentioned by someone from Redbridge during the consultation but not agreed by the vast majority of people taking part?Has thought gone into how cars are going to be kept out when the car park is not in use and if the bunds as you say will be removed in September will this not leave the area vulnerable to travellers and others who might want to drive onto the golf course with risks that that entails?

I think it is atrocious to use the pandemic as an excuse for building a car park. Most of the increased use during lockdown was from local people who either walked, ran or cycled here for their daily exercise as only essential car use was allowed for a big part of it.How would parking be controlled here, parking bays, wardens, pay machines or will it be free?

I fear this is just another short-term, ill-thought out revenue-making exercise with absolutely no understanding or care for the environment.Having said this I will be very happy to continue to work wth the consultation process and master planners. However I, and others in the AHDA will always be concerned with the protection of our Green Spaces. It would be wonderful if we could trust the officers in Redbridge Council to feel the same way.

Regards

Jenny Chalmers
AHDA

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