Monday 16 January 2012

I remember when all this was fields...

Draper's fields to be exact.


Drapers Field - to be shut for 2 years


Draper's fields have been given to the ODA for the period of around a year and a half to accommodate logistics services for the Olympic village (seen in the background of the second photo). 

A BBC report on the the community usage of Draper's fields can be found here. The site was playing fields and an astroturf pitch used by a local school and clubs. According to this report in the local paper, the astroturf pitch was used by 1,380 (an oddly precise number!) people a week alone. The report also headlines with the fact that the site may be used for VIP parking - something not in any planning documents I have seen, so either the ODA are keeping very quiet about this, or it is an unfounded rumour.

Now, I understand that the large Olympic village will require logistics support on an equally large scale. I also understand that open space near the Olympic village may be in short supply, and Draper's field is ideally situated. It is unfortunate that the open space is one of the few in this part of Waltham Forest, and will mean that clubs and local schools will not have access to it for more than a year.

The council have been compensated £3.5M by the ODA, which they say will go to turning back the site to an even better sports facility - with the fields opening again for the public in September 2013. They say that the compensation will not only allow redevelopment of the Drapers site, but will go towards improvements in other parks as well. What concerns me most is that I haven't managed to find any documents relating to what the redevelopment after the games will actually involve. The planning statement from the ODA (found as pdf here) is very light on use after the games since Waltham Forest will be in charge of the "legacy component" (I presume this means that Waltham Forest will be given the site as is and will then change it back to leisure use themselves). Waltham Forest were going to submit plans for the changes to the field after the games, but I haven't been able to find any details of these plans online (or indeed any mention of them).

After the ongoing saga of the arcade site, I prefer not to trust Waltham Forest with regeneration plans, especially ones that are unspecified before the event occurs. Maybe I am just not a trusting soul. I would be interested to know if Waltham Forest indeed have plans for the field that are available for the public. 


  1. Belated greetings, grumpycyclist: I only heard of your blog last week.
    A while ago I found a post-legacy glossy brochure somewhere on the web, about the North-Olympic Development Zone, or some such (ie up to Lea Bridge Road). The CGI picture of the post-Games Drapers Field seemed to show it at least half covered in flats.
    If I come across the exact ref I'll get it to you.

  2. Found it: a comment in the local paper a while ago: excuse long quote.

    'blackandtan, leyton says...
    11:46pm Thu 29 Jul 10
    Alex Savine of the ODA planning decisions team has told me(12/07/10 at 15.56 ) that under normal circumstances when the ODA no longer need to use a piece of land they would, in accordance with the contract, return it as it originally was or in an improved state.

    However, Waltham Forest Council has yet to decide how they want Drapers Field returned. They are to carry out a consultation and then decide what to do. Having said that, the local councillors seem determined to persuade residents to have a “lovely park”. They have not mentioned the plans for their “lovely park” are enclosed on 2 sides by tower blocks, (they appear to be 8-10 storeys high).

    If they succeed in convincing people locally to vote for a “lovely park” the recreation ground we presently have with the protection of ppg17 planning guidance will be lost. As a park they will find it much easier to get around the law and build flats.

    Waltham Forest Council is free to ask at the time of drawing up the contract for the field to be returned in whatever state they wish. The decision is up to the council.

    Alex Savine also told me that Ralph Luck, director of property for the ODA ,was the man to speak to concerning negotiations on this matter with the council. Ralph Luck has been unavailable for comment for several days. Perhaps the Guardian may have better luck in contacting Mr Luck to establish the facts than I have had.

    I suspect the council want to turn the recreation ground into a park to engineer a change of use blaming the Olympics for losing this facility. I also suspect part of the deal will include selling part of Drapers Field for building flats. The Northern Olympic Fringe Master Plan states “Drapers Field area could be packaged up as a single opportunity with a disposal to the market subject to a planning framework in place”. The link below shows how the flats on Drapers Field could be envisaged. This is part of a document produced by The London School of Economics. It is the Northern Olympic Fringe Urban Co-production.
    The Northern Olympic Fringe Master Plan first showed the flats in their proposals as can be seen in the link below. The full version of this document has since been removed from the council web site.



  3. Thank you for the posts. After years of the Arcade Site debacle, I don't trust the local council with decisions of this kind. Although Waltham Forest does have green spaces around it, inside the borough they are in short supply. I am not against developments in our borough, but losing parts of drapers fields seems a very unsatisfactory compromise.