Proposed Basketball Training Facility Approved
Once again Waltham Forest Labour councillors on the Planning Committee have let the Borough down. By 4 votes to 3 the Labour councillors approved the plans to build a temporary Basketball training centre on Porters Field behind the Ice Centre in Lea Bridge Road. This land is Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and in Paragraph 8.16 of the planners report it admits the scheme does not comply with planning policies:
8.16 The proposal clearly does not satisfy the policies set out by the Council or the wider policies contained within the London Plan and National Guidance and the application does not propose any legacy benefits with the Council. Nonetheless, a decision has to be made with regards to the weight given to circumstance that ODA have found themselves in, which is the claim that there are not any suitable sites within 30 minutes of the Olympic Park that will be sufficient to accommodate a training venue to meet the requirements of the relevant international sports federation.
The Conservative and Liberal members of the committee gave well-reasoned arguments as to why the officer’s report, which recommended approval, should not be accepted. Two of the Labour councillors did not contribute and the third could not understand why there was a problem building on MOL. The Labour chair followed procedure and voted in favour allowing the scheme to go ahead.
All the members of the committee accepted the ODA’s assurance that the site would be cleared by 15th October 2012 and today Boris Johnson has even spoken of the Ukrainians buying the building after it is dismantled.
Objectors were bitterly disappointed by being let down by the Labour councillors and have gone away to plan their next stage in this battle to protect the principle of not developing MOL.