Waltham Forest Pool and Track, again

Reporting on Tuesday’s planning committee meeting, Amanda Connolly writes:

‘Last night we had a great turnout at the Pool and Track Application. We had 12 articulate, emotional and compelling speakers. The Chamber and seating areas were full. The general feeling from Committee and Councillors was that if we didn’t pass the plans, the whole project was at risk of failing (and as the Council has already let the place be demolished that would be a travesty). Long story short, the plans were passed with some minor conditions that they “continue” (!!) to consult with users over their concerns (including child safeguarding issues and disability access, amazing we had to demonstrate over that!). In my view this whole project has put the Council in an extremely bad light. The complete disregard for the opinions of their constituents shows how unrepresentative our Council and Councillors are of us (although the exceptions there were Cllr. Allan Siggers and Cllr. Karen Bellamy who raised pertinent questions of both the Planning Office and GLL, the Applicant). It is little wonder that there is a lack of engagement in politics both local and national when the people who are making the decisions on our lives don’t seem to want to talk to us. If this farce of a process has taught the Council anything, I hope it is the need to proactively engage the community right at the start of any project. There was six wasted months between applications where the Council failed to address the concerns of the people. I’m sure that we will have a cutting edge leisure facility when it is finally built, I have no problem with the new sports facilities they are creating, the concerns I had, remain: we are reducing access for the most vulnerable parts of our communities (this was confirmed by a disability speaker last night) and this Council has failed to deliver on our Olympic Legacy (that said by nearly every athlete that spoke last night!). Shame on you LBWF, if this is what you call democracy, we have a long way to go’.

See also:http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/11847062.Controversial_sports_centre_plan_approved_over_loss_of_funding_fear/