Friday, August 03, 2012

A Question of Balance?

I am drawn to the Planning Application 1429/12, submitted by Miss R Vision of Redbridge Culture & Leisure, to install Floodlights to the main circuit track at the Redbridge Cycling Centre in Forest Road plus the addition of a BMX track and a cut through path. I thank Chris Gannaway of the London Wildlife Trust for drawing this to our attention.

Chris, on behalf of the Redbridge Group of the London Wildflife Trust, is opposed to this planning application on wildlife grounds as the site has an important community of great crested newts (a protected species) and is a feeding site for bats (all bat species are protected) - both are nocturnal and therefore floodlighting is severely detrimental to them. The BMX track will take up valuable great crested newt habitat reducing the carrying capacity of the site which may make the site unviable for the newts.

Chris has submitted an objection in rather more technical langauge based on how the application conflicts with the Council’s own Nature Conservation policies and how “the intensification of use that will be promoted through this application will not only compromise the ecological status of the site, but also potentially adversely impact the integrity of the nature conservation interest of adjacent sites too.” The immediately adjacent site being Hainault Lodge Nature Reserve where access is limited for obvious reasons.

There are also representations in favour of the application from, as you might expect, cycling groups and users of the facilities there.

Back in 2008 we were also aware of The Redbridge Greenway, a cycling route linking the borough's open spaces and specifically passing through Fairlop Waters with the potential for a cross country route from there to the Cycling centre. However this seems to have disappeared off the Olympic Legacy list.

Barkingside 21 has not yet discussed this so we have no position as yet. But we are very supportive of both cycling, (sporting and leisure facilities) and biodiversity, (the wellbeing of our natural surroundings) - and we know that great care was taken with the Newts when the existing facilities were built.

So, we have a dilemma but hope that it can be resolved to the satisfaction of both interests.

Would love to hear your views in the comments and if you wish to add your views to the Planning Application process you can do so on-line via the Council’s Planning Portal. Just go to the search page, type in the application number, click search by “Reference” and then follow the instructions. The direct link is here but sometimes these time out.


  1. cycling borough,,,,i use Hainault Road every day and it still amazes me how there is not a cycle lane,this is dangerous for both drivers and cyclists,the pavement is rarely used and is wide enough (but maybe not smooth enough)to have both cycle lanes and pedestrain lanes on it as the road is not wide enough,as for the floodlights well the local residents were never consulted about the track being built in the first place so sadly i am sure they wont be asked or took notice of this time......also we were lied to as to the cost too.and i wonder if miss R vision changed her name by deed pole to be more appropriate,should be; Miss R Vision and there's nothing you can do about it (all at an over priced cost)of course.

  2. Miss Ed Vision more like it.