Thursday, 29 May 2008

Wake Up Leabank Square!!!!

I have just returned from the Olympic Meeting introducing Hackney Wick to what is going to be built directly opposite the canal from us.

Leabank Square - we had all better be prepared to live a completely different life after the Olympics!!!

Our legacy from the Olympics is a very built-up crowded future. There is going to be another town centre straight opposite Leabank Square.

Remember all those very quiet dreamy sunny afternoons having barbies on the Lea Bank? Well - those days are over. Not only have we got all the noise & dust for the next 4 years leading up to the actual Olympics. But afterwards - as OUR part of the legacy - we will have a high street opposite the Lea Bank. A completely new picture from now on.

The question is - is this a good or a bad thing?

Well - the smug architect giving the presentation seemed to think that it was a great thing. His vision for the area we all once walked our dogs on, played footie on, went on nature trails on, etc - is one of a fully functioning town centre.

So I suppose it will be a good thing for the employment prospects of many residents.

Then most the SMALL handful of Leabank Square residents there thought it was an absolute disaster of a plan. We remember being promised our green fields back after the Olympics as OUR part of the legacy. Of course we were all very naive to believe the suits. But then when they say it to your face with a smile - it's very difficult not to believe them.

So - as has happened since humans ever walked the planet - the suits walk all over us little people. We in Leabank Square will just have to live with cars riding over Arena Fields, with buildings blocking out our sunrises, with air-conditioning units drowning out the birdsong, with.......

Never mind.

The suits always win.


Dave said...

Hi Leabank Square

I live in Wick Village, and I was totally disgusted at the attitude of the architect.

Why is it always someone who doesn't live here thinks they know how WE want to live in the future?

He probably has a nice house in a leafy suburb somewhere, whereas we are all just trying to get by with the leasr amount of lifes trappings and fuss.

How can it EVER be better to swop all the greenery we presently have for a car park?

As Joni Mitchel says: You Take Paradise and Put Up A Parking Lot.

Dave from Wick Village

Geoff said...

Has anyone heard what is going to happen to the promised bit of green left over from Arena Fields?

Is the school still going to get it back as a playing field?

From last nights meeting it looked like it was exactly in the same place as the satelite park.


Matt said...


I didn't make it back from work in time mate, sorry.

What a cock-up mate!!!!! Where is the GREEN OLYMPICS?!?

Lets just chop all the trees down & concrete the entire olympic park!!

PLEASE tell me that 'artists impression' forgot to put the trees in. Sóna - please find out if there are plans to start planting mature trees NOW to replace the ones being chopped down for a bloody ROAD!!

I am sooooooooo pissed mate - I'll talk to you later.


Farah said...

Hi Sona

Can they get away with it?

I mean are they all ALLOWED to build what is in effect another industrial neighbourhood ALL OVER Arean Fields?

Who gives the planning permission for this? Who has the final say?

Do we all need to occupy the land & squat it in protest?

How can this JUST happen?


Stacy said...


Please tell me this is not happening.......

Are they really going to have roads a few metres away from our balconeys?

I mean, REALLY Sona?

Please get back to me to tell me if this is REALLY going ahead?


Mary said...

This is going to change the entire neighbourhood for the worse!!

Once operating - the studios that are going to be buil a few metres from our living room windows are going to require HUGE trucks to bring & take LARGE amounts of kit all day long.

Has anyone consulted us?

Does anyone care about Leabank Square?


Kate said...

Trees, trees, trees, trees, trees!!

We have got to have a line of HUGE mature trees planted all along the canal to shield us from the new town!!

Please can you ask them to plant them NOW so that they are at least half-way shielding the road & studios when the olympics are finnished!!


Eileen said...

Thanks for the call Kate

This is outrageous!! The whole reason I bought this flat was for the view and the peace and the lush trees and wonderfull greenery.

There is no way I am personally going to let this happen without the mother of all fights!!


Neil said...

If one person shouts, it's easy not to notice because it can be hidden by other noise. If a ten people shout, then that's more likely to get attention… from something - perhaps a passing cow! But if a thousand people raise their voices together, who can ignore that?

I say this because there are over 11,000 of us (real people!) living in Hackney Wick and we are all being affected by the decisions the "suits" (as Sōna calls them) make - the majority of whom, if any, don't even live here.

I was at an LDA drop-in meeting last year in the Community Centre (Wick Baths) and at the end of this PR session about how "the changes will be good for us" several of the 'planners' were clueless about where we actually are! They even said so and needed directions from me how to get out the area. These people had no passion for their work, it was just a job to them. They fail to realise "This Is Our Home" and they are tampering with it.

Of course change is coming, in many ways it is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be the cack-handed way they are doing it. They should involve us, rather than dictate to us.

Case-in-point; the Elephant & Castle Estate which was smugly and widely hailed by architects as a new model for social living in the 60s, within a short time turned out to be a disaster; with countless "rat-runs for muggers" and sadly, neighbours stopped communicating because they no longer had easy access to the communal space to do so.

Well, those architects did create a new order of social living - but not the one their short-sighted plans had intended. History teaches us many lessons, but unfortunately, many planners only seem 'to look forward', so those lessons are lost.

Anyway, back to raising our voices, together, please make use of this excellent link:

All you need do is enter your postcode and it automatically links you to everyone who is anyone; Councillors, London Assembly Members, also our MP and MEPs, and from there you can pick and choose who you want to write to or not (shame, no cut and paste messages though).

In signing off, I am unashamedly going to borrow someone else's rallying motto - "TOGETHER we can make a difference".


Tricia said...

I agree with Neil - we have got to fight the suits.

Let's all get in touch with our local councillors, MP, mayors, London Assembly member, MEP, EEC human rights people, Prime Minister, even Barrak Obama if it helps!

We have got to fight this ludicrous proposal. They simply cannot take away our green area & replace it with roads & warehouses!!

Can someone get hold of Swampy?


Vicky said...

I am so very saddened by the complete lack of community vision these so called architects have.

They hav no sense of what binds a community, only what breaks a community up.

Sure we need more of leabank squares residents to get jobs, but we also need space to sit and watch the green world go by.

Instaed we have to sit on the lea bank and watch cars go by.

Shane on them all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sóna

I just got back from the long weekend camping to this crap news!

has it all been granted planning permission yet?

I mean is it confirmed?

If not, as Neil says, lets get on our councillors and MP's cases p pronto!!

Like what happened in the Felstead Road developement, I know it doesn't always work, but this is outrageous man!!

There is no way they are going to build a couple of roads over the canal without a HUGE case of civil disobedience from me!!

You know who

Dave said...

There is no way this must be allowed to go ahead.

I understand we can't stop the media centre, but the leagacy part of this proposal MUST NOT include all this new development right up close to the canal and tow path.

There is no where else along the canal that there are busy roads running alongside the canal.

This pillocks can still design a bunch of studios that all feed into the Waterden Road side of the Olympic site, NOT our side!!

Thankfully I volunteer for FOE, os I have told them exactly what was proposed at the meeting.

Don't worry everybody, we WILL stop this!! But keep up the pressure so that whatever new proposal comes next isn't THIS shit!

Dave (the other one)

taggerx said...

Hi Sóna

Are you going to the Hackney Council planning meeting on Thursday 5th?

If so, can you raise this massive f**k-up there please? I know these meetings are quite structured way in advance, but there must be space in AOB?

Please Sóna, theses people must be stopped at all costs. We CANNOT have a legacy that sets us back another 40 years?!


Anonymous said...

In those computer generated images - there are no trees along the river?!

Is that really acurate?

Please start hassling them for a curtain of mature, green-all-year-round trees ALL along the river between the media centre & us!!

That is simply the ONLY way this is going to work!!

Rad said...


That's it!!

I notice that you sometimes plant trees over the canal in front of the olympic wall.

I urge all the rest of Leabank Square to do the same. Let's all go over there and plant as many fast growing trees as posible in order NOT to see the hideous roads, busses, trucks, coaches, etc.

If the idiots at the olympics think they can simply devalue our quality of life, then I'm sorry, we have to take our lives back into our own hands.

Get planting people!


Matt said...

Can Hackney Council stop this stupid idea?

Do they have the authority to halt the planning application? Or does the ODA have seniority over Hackney?

If so, then who do we appeal to to get these roads stopped?

Please get back to this blog if anyone knows the answer!


Leabank Square said...


I've taken all these concerns & sent off the relevant enquiries to the relevant people.

I must say that I am very happy that there are a few other Leabankers getting into the spirit of the comment section.

Please keep it up - we ALL need to chat about these issues in order NOT to walk into the macympics with our eyes closed!!

As soon as I get replies from all these people - I will post them up here.


Pippa said...

Go 4 it Sona!

The whole of Leabank Square is behind you. We simlply CANNOT let this road network happen opposite Leabank Square!!

I do NOT know of any other part of the canal that has given up green space for major pollution generation!

Let me know what I can do.


Taggerx said...

I haven't got hold of Swampy, unfortunately, but possibly the next best thing.....

Of course, I'm not going to be so foolish as to give any names, needless to say that they are an incredibly commited eco-group who are willing to be as disruptive as possible, should the road network go ahead!

Sona, I know that you prefer to do things legit, but this is EXACTLY the kind of fall-back we need, should all your letter writing fail.


Leabank Square said...

Hi Taggerx

Please let's not start getting all MILITANT just yet. We still have loads of options left open to us.

The last thing we want is for all these suits (who don't live anywhere near us) to say that they are doing all this development for us to save us from ourselves!

If we start tearing down walls & invading the site they will have a perfect excuse to say that we need all those roads & developement in order to calm us down in an ordered society.

Actually - I'm not too sure that this is making any sense.

Let's please persue a peaceful dialogue with all these planners, architects, developers, suits.


Mary said...

Has anyone replied about the tree situation yet?

If we don't start planting trees NOW, then we are going to be left exposed to the horrible road and warehouses, etc for many years to come!

Who should I write to to?