Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Trees Trees Trees



As you can see in the pics above - the trees that we all spent years planting, watering, loving & picnicking below - are all gone.

It seems all the more sad to look at now - as the new alternative view is one of sand, trucks & dust!! But to top it all the Olympics seem to think that we can't see enough construction - and put up huge posters of more sand, trucks and dust!?!?

I have written to Georgia Sharp (Community Liaison Officer) and asked if she knows of any plans to Green the Greenest Olympics for us.

I'll let you know what she says as soon as she replies.

Letter sent: 3 December 2008
Hi Georgia

I hope you’re all well.

The time has come to talk trees. Or more importantly – greenery.

George kindly offered to offer me a place on a garden workshop a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t able to get time off work unfortunately. So maybe you have all covered this ground so to speak.

As you probably know – residents of Hackney Wick lost their fantastic trees and gardens all along the tow-path when the wall went up. Although we could see some of the taller trees that we planted for a while, they have now all been felled.

As this is the first winter without our community planted trees – the full impact of what happened has just hit us all with dreadful gloom.

Not only has all the greenery gone - it has been replaced with mud, machinery and construction. To go from one extreme to another in such a short time is having a profoundly negative effect of Leabank Square, especially those of us lucky enough to have waterfront views.

So my question is fairly simple, and I hope it has an equally fairly simple answer. Are there any plans to re-plant the tow-path along the Lea River Navigational Canal soon? By soon – I mean very soon.



Mary said...

Hi Sóna

Thanks for writing this letter. I cannot stand to see what they did with our orchard. I hope they plant mature trees there so that by the time the wall finally comes down, it might look halfway decent.

Please put her response up here as soon as it comes through okay?


Charles said...

Hi Sóna
Great photo sequence - how do you get those panoramic views?

It is a tragedy seeing people's efforts and all those years of growth destroyed. It was the same story at Manor Gardens Allotments and the Bully Fen Community Woodland. Bully Fen was cut down as part of the first wave of Olympic site clearance in 2007 (4000 trees and shrubs planted by volunteers and 'adopt-a-tree' donations).
But at least those involved don't have their noses rubbed in it all the time.

Have you seen the plans for the Gainsborough bridge and the area opposite Leabank?

The new Gainsborough School bridge is a big structure that will extend 50 meters across the frontage of Leabank Square on the other side of the canal, immediately behind the towpath. Immediately behind the bridge ramp is the new road.
The long ramp is very wide - 6m - and there seems to be no space they could put trees (though some versions of the masterplan show a single tree opposite the square where the ramp starts).

See this diagram:

Hope this is of use and best of luck with ODA!

Keesha said...

Hi Sóna

Oh please tell me that they are going to do something soon. I'm not sure if I can bare to look out of the window anymore. It all looks so bleak.

Thankfully I have all the photos of what it used to look like. Maybe you can scan them in to show the dreadful Olympic people what we want planted back?


Mr Happy said...


Isn't this the same DOLT who set all those London Communication Agency/Red Spectrum/Wilma/Hugh/Simon Perry spooks onto us?!

What makes you so sure she's going to be bothered about how bleak our view is? These kind of vultures are only in this kind of job to see who they can impress with their CV's.

Well - I can guarantee her that I am going to mess with her next job - in exactly the same way as she's messing with my job.

I cannot sleep at all and cannot concentrate at Homerton, so if she thinks that she'll be able to add 'effectively liaised with Hackney Wick during the construction of the London 2012 games' without any future employee knowing just how badly she messed up?

Well - she can hope and pray that we don't know where she is trying to get a job, but I know better.

Mr Happy

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that the invitation is to tender for both Hackney Marshes and Mabley Green. This project is being undertaken in partnership between the London Borough of Hackney and Design for London and aims to deliver an overarching vision and master plan for the delivery of a landscape project at Hackney Marshes, Wick Wood and Mabley Green.

It is a closed tender and has been sent to nine companies. It is, however, too late to include other contractors on the list as the tender was sent out last week. The brief has remained the same except companies are asked to consider neighbouring green spaces within their submission.

We are inviting submissions to be made over the next two weeks, with a deadline date of the 15th December.

Please could you inform the rest of the Forum, especially the Mabley Green and Hackney Marshes User Group.


John Wade
Head of Green Spaces
London Borough of Hackney
0208 356 7605

new consultations, new takeover, don't even think about volunteering ever again?

Su said...

Hi Sóna

What is this email from John Wade all about? This is a typical council email.

Does it answer ANY of the concerns we have about what is happening right opposite us?!


And what is that end bit all about?


Pete said...

Hello Sóna

You know that if Leabank Square was next to Clissold Park instead of Arena Fields, none of this would have happened!

There is no way that Hackney Council would have been allowed to simply give away Arena Fields to a bunch of criminal construction companies.

But now that they have.....

How come they are ignoring all our requests for the re-greening of the tow-path? Do they honestly think that ANY of their council tax payers and constituents love to stare at fast food adverts and construction sites for at least 6 more years?!?

Do they have as much utter contempt for us as the Olympic Delivery Authority? It seems so.

Hey - HACKNEY COUNCIL!!!!! We want our trees back!!!! We want to be able to see scenes like the top photo in the sequence above!! We also have the right to a quality of life!! Today is the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights - do something about it!!


Dirk said...

Hi Sóna

Well done with this letter. We desperately need our trees back along the canal.

How arrogant of the Olympic Delivery Authority do presume that we want to stare at their construction work, instead of our lovely garden that we planted?!

Have they replied to you yet?


Leabank Square said...

HI Charles

Sorry I've only just seen your question at the top - tonight!

The snaps of the canal are actually several snaps I took in a sequence - and stitched together using a panorama program.

Without getting too anorackish about it - I just keep the camera in one place and take a row of pics - and load them up into the program - and it does the rest.

I wish I had taken some of the Arena Fields before the wall went up so we could see it completely unspoilt - but then - none of us ever thought it would EVER look like it does today!!


Su said...

Hi Sóna

Has she even bothered to reply yet?

So much for Community Liaison huh?! Okay, maybe we should go for plan b and get Greenpeace involved. Have you still got the woman's name & details from the meeting?

Again, we seem to have hit another brick wall with these Canary Wharf fools. And that guy from the council wants to know why we have ruled these idiots out of the equation?!


Mr Brown said...

Hello Shona

Forget this Sharpe waste of space, she's absolutely useless. Britsih Waterways are VERY interrested in just how far the fence has encroached onto their space.

They were all for us planting our own trees along the fence until they did a walk along with us. Seems there is some discrepency about just where the fence is allowed to be. The ODA only bought Arena Fields - not the British Waterways land.

I'll let you know more after todays meeting.

Mr Brown

Ms Purple said...


You know what also narks me about the trees having gone?!

They have this stupid security guard patroling the canal tow-path like the Gestapo now. He goes past my window several times a day with his stab vest and wolf - intimidating the hell out of my kids (& dogs)!!

What kind of an image is this that they are trying to protray to us neighbours?

This is not Nazi Germany - this is Hackney Wick!! That used to be our playing fields - and now we have to walk around uniformed soldiers with aggresive weapons of war if we want to continue walking our dogs along the tow-path!!!

Never mind those spies hacking into our emails and tapping our phones - they're getting whats coming to them. The real battle is here along our tow-path with nasty goose-stepping booted & armed Olympic soldiers.

Nice image Mr Rogge!! Olympic Police State!!

Ms Purple

Ms Smilee said...

Hi Ms Purple

I completely agree with you!! If they wanted to patrol with their uniforms and dogs, why can't they do it like any other construction site, and do it within their own property?

They are very agrresively doing it on the public tow-path only to intimidate the local residents!

The message is clear. The Olympic Wall is going to be policed BERLIN POLICE STYLE!!

We are seperated from the open peaceful green space we once walked our dogs on, picniced upon, played footie around, and strolled across.

The Olympics are sending the message loud and clear that we are never EVER again going to be welcome on our own land, and we better get used to it, by jackbooting along the canal.

Nice one Canary Wharf and Hackney Council, next, would you like us all to stop walking our dogs along the tow-path, cycle along it, and take Sunday afternoon walks along it?

Sóna. please could you do another one of your blog entries specifically about this Olympic Police State, and send off a million press releases with the pics we sent you. The rest of London and the UK have not seen what we have to live with, and when they do, they will be shocked.

Ms Smilee

Leabank Square said...

Hi All

Sorry I've been so slack of late!

This is the busiest time of year for all my Oxfam shops, and then of course we have 3 seperate campaigns going on, Darfur, FDR Congo & now Zimbabwe.

Things should be back on track after the New Year - but in the meantime, please continue sending emails about the Olympic Shenanigans.


Charles said...

I doubt you'll get a reply - most communications with the ODA just get permanently lost inside the PR machine.

Maybe she's offended that you misspelt her name - it's Giorgia, not Georgia..

The job spec for these ODA 'Community Relations Executive' jobs is worth a look for a hollow laugh -


"* Act as the main link between, and liaise with the ODA project teams, contractors and local residents with special regard to the construction impact, with the ability to win the trust of sceptical local audiences through strong interpersonal, influencing and communications skills."

"* Proven ambassadorial ability and political astuteness, particularly in the context of engaging central and local government and local communities;"

"Discretionary bonus payments will be paid as a percentage of base salary and will be determined by the achievement of corporate, functional and individual objectives assessed by the performance management rating that an individual receives."

"* Highly motivated and not easily discouraged;"

Geoffrey said...

Hi Sóna

I am not too surprised that this georgia sharpe person still hasn't bothered to answer the letter.

Remember that freedom of information request request about how many times she and her team have been here to Leabank Square?! She is such a two-faced liar!!!

Those calls you recorded where she said that she had been knocking on peoples doors in the corner block before the bridge demolition do not seem to have been noted? I WONDER WHY?!

She always gives the impression that she is down with Leabank Square, only because she has HAD to come to meetings in your flat. But she full well knows that if anyone from her team comes knocking, they'll get an ear-bashing to make them deaf as well as blind.

Like I always tell you mate, these sharpes, kings and othe sundry community liaison people are paid o lie to us by the construction copmanies. Remember that geezer from network rail telling us about how john armitt dealt with those residents up north? Same down here.

I myself can't wait for the january meeting...........


Leabank Square said...

Dear Georgia Sharpe

All we want for Xmas is some trees like we used to have across the canal - please......

Safiri & Shanthi

Hackney Wick Revolutionary Front said...

Hi Sóna

If this person is coming to the meeting at the HWCA, please point her out to us.

She seems to be the cause of quite a bit of the lack of communication going on around the Wick, and it would be good to include her in some of the photo shoots.

Leroy said...


I take it the Olympic Liaison Department of Spin has decided not to answer this email?

BUT - when THEY want to chat - we should ALL just jump for merry joy at the prospect of being spoken to.

What a bunch of tossers bro?! Have you ever heard of a worse bunch of neighbours? Let's apply to have an ASBO slapped on them.


Shirley said...

Hello Sóna

And a great new year to you and your lovely family!!

Please tell me that these liaison people have got back to us over the holidays sometime?

I can't believe the cheek of them ignoring us like this, but then they hijack the community meeting in order to tell us lies again.

Typical innit?!


Gilly said...

Hello Nadira, Sóna & kids

All the best for 2009!!

Not that it would do any good - but please could you have a word with the ODA about those agressive looking soldiers they have patrolling the tow-path?

It was bad enough having to explain 'death' to our kids when the posters went up all along the wall. But now the whole concept of stab vests, attack dogs, truncheons, etc have come into the equation!

It is almost as if they want to anesthitise us all against the police state that is the Olympics.



Chenaii said...


Do you think it's worth re-sending this letter to who-ever this useless georgia persons boss is?

With any luck the whole liaison department is not as gormless as she is, and we might still yet get a reply?!

Gotta be worth a shot huh?


Mary Denton said...

Hi Shona

Chenaii has a good point. Maybe this Georgina can't cope with her job, and it may be that her immediate superior would be able to answer us more ably.

Please could you re-submit our letter to the next in charge, and if we don't get any joy there, we get on to the media again.

Thanks Mary Denton

Helen said...


I see this Giorgina Sharpe is still writing letters! She has the cheek to send us intimidating letters demanding that we put up with Sunday noise from 9am - but she can't even answer a civil letter about trees!

When the good lord handed out manners, she wasn't even in the queue.

Perhaps Chanaii is right, write a letter several managers above her, and see if they can be bothered to answer us. Surely someone in the so called - community liaison - department has got to have an ounce of proffesionalism in them?


Anonymous said...

If Ms Sharpe isn't answering letters, you need to cut her out and address all communications to her superior. It's important to make sure her superior is brought into the chain of direct accountability because otherwise when Sharpe moves on in good time the blame for anything done or not done will be offloaded onto her and the higher command will disclaim responsibility.