For the newer residents - Arena Fields was the beautiful, large, green, luscious park directly over the canal from us - that was stolen from us by Act Of Parliament - to give to the Olympics.
But before that - we were trying to get some regeneration going behind Arena Fields - where the old Hackney Dog Stadium and some dodgy religious buildings were. We had a long period of correspondence with the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions headed by John Prescott, MP.
He would not commit to any regeneration for years, delaying & no-commenting for so long that we began to feel that something else was afoot. Then came along an Act of Parliament to take this beautiful park - that was given to the people of London in 1894 - all properly registered as Common Land and Metropolitan Open Space - and for their enjoyment and recreation and that to be "in perpetuity"!
Many of our residents in Leabank Square planted trees all around the border with the Hackney Environment Forum (http://clubplan.org/cms/page.asp?org=2673&id=388) - and on their own. Directly opposite Leabank Square there we planted figs, cherries, apples, bananas and a stunning wildflower meadow. All that has been demolished - but we always knew that could happen.
We have been promised that a small part of Arena Fields will be returned to a green playing field - directly opposite Leabank Square - as part of the legacy. The time has come to start signing petitions, and visiting MP's again - in order to make sure that this happens!!
Leabank Square must start putting EXTREME pressure on the Olympic Delivery Authority to make sure that this smaller bit of Arena Fields is not lost to ANY type of development!
We will be discussing this at the next meeting - and will then start a campaign of action - giving about a hundred suits a very big headache - until they promise to keep their promise!!
For more historical information on Arena Fields - please see: http://www.metamute.org/en/Of-Lammas-Land-and-Olympic-Dreams
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