This note has been prepared to update users and other stakeholders of the Eastway Cycle Circuit on its’ relocation to Hog Hill, Hainault. The LDA met with a representative group of users on 11th August with the intention of agreeing the principles of the final design for the Hog Hill road circuit and to produce a plan which accompanies this note. It will also outline the future timetable and interim provision measures the LDA is pursuing.
The LDA resolved to pursue Hog Hill as the preferred relocation site for the Eastway Cycle Circuit in May 2006 as a result of deliverability considerations and the consultation it undertook with Eastway users. The consultation made it clear that further work would be required in order to understand in detail what would be required to deliver the facility. It was also made clear that by relocating to Hog Hill there would be a temporary break in provision in the period between Eastway closing and the new facility opening. The LDA committed to look at land under its’ own control to provide an interim solution to this and also to use reasonable endeavours to extend access to other existing facilities.
Progress to Date – Ecology
Hog Hill is an environmentally sensitive area. This was understood and will not act as a barrier to developing the circuit but some specific issues have come to light which will delay the final delivery of the facility. Great Crested Newts are known to be on the site and the species is afforded the highest protection under European and UK law. The LDA has therefore been in discussion with English Nature and the local planning authority and is confident that there will not be a negative impact on the proposed scheme through the maintenance of suitably protected habitat on site.
The presence of Great Crested Newts combined with the general necessity to maintain the ecological value of the site has meant that an ‘ecological corridor’ is to be preserved on the site within which no cycling activity will take place.
However, in order to carry out construction work where Great Crested Newts are known to be present it is necessary to obtain a licence from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In order for the licence to be granted detailed surveys of the newt population and their geographical extent need to be available. The current data available from LB Redbridge is not sufficient and further surveys can only be undertaken during the appropriate season which in this case is between March and May. It is for this reason that the LDA can not begin work on site until May or June 2007. Expert advice received by the LDA from Defra, English Nature and its’ own ecological consultants anticipates that this licence will be granted.
The LDA held a design session with a cross section of key stakeholders and users in August which resulted in the production of the plan which accompanies this note. The circuit design may have to be altered with the outcome of the topographical survey but it is not anticipated that any alternations will be significant. Detailed off-road tracks have not been shown as this level of detail is not required for the planning application. The LDA will be looking to consult with off-road users in due course in order to establish the nature and location of routes. Now that an agreement has been reached with the existing tenant and land lord the LDA is able to access the site to carry out a topographical survey and to test the ground conditions in order to finalise the detailed design. The LDA is now in the final stages of securing a 25 year lease for the site.
The LDA has received confirmation from LB Redbridge that a formal environmental impact assessment will not be necessary. The LDA and its’ agents are now progressing the planning application with a view to it being determined before Christmas. Discussions with LB Redbridge are proceeding well. The full application will be posted on the LDA website in due course.
The existing Eastway site will close for all use on the 12th November 2006. The Lee Valley Park Regional Authority are currently finalising the detail of how usage of the circuit will formally finish. Due to the unexpected delay in the final handover of Hog Hill the LDA is looking to extend, for as long as possible, the interim provision between the closure of Eastway and the opening of Hog Hill. The LDA is looking at land under its’ own control for this interim solution and the most suitable option to emerge is the Royal Docks on a site to the north of Royal Albert Dock, opposite London City Airport. The LDA is currently assessing how a temporary circuit could be accommodated and constructed on this site.
The LDA and British Cycling (BC) are also pressing for increased access to existing facilities. The LDA has an in-principle agreement with LB Bromley for an extra evening a week at Crystal Palace. BC is also exploring opportunities at North Weald. The LDA and BC will also be speaking to LB Waltham Forest to discuss any opportunities which may exist within the borough.