Take action: Stop MSG Sphere bringing more cars to Stratford
Planning applications 19/00097/FUL and 19/00098/ADV
The Madison Square Garden company wants to build a new 21,500-capacity music venue next door to Stratford Station. It will be in the shape of a giant, glowing sphere (similar to Rover from The Prisoner), towering over residential blocks and the newly improved Stratford Town Centre.
We at Newham Cyclists are deeply worried by the proposals for the Sphere:
MSG have taken a look at the current travel patterns to gigs at the London Stadium, decided they’re acceptable (we disagree), and proposed exactly the same modal share for this new, ‘state-of-the-art’ venue. That means:
around 2,600 people driving to a sold out event—and a paltry cycling modal share of 0.1%. (It’s not like people will never cycle to gigs: the cycle parking at the All Points East festival in Victoria Park was actually full up!)
thousands more people through Stratford station at rush hour, making the station unusable for local residents and pushing many more people into their cars for short journeys.
We want a travel plan that aims for a cycling modal share of 5-10%, and doesn’t create worse overcrowding at Stratford station.
Cycling has been tossed a carrot in the form of an extended cycleway on Montfichet Road… but it looks just as bad as some of the older stuff in the Olympic Park. Interrupted by shared areas, with conflict between walking and cycling baked into the design. In 2019, we should be doing better.
More worryingly, their answer to the current pinch point and painted cycle lanes on Angel Lane (the Sphere’s main access road)? Narrow the road, so everyone—kids, grandparents, Disabled folk—has to cycle uphill, in front of lorries, artists’ coaches, speeding minicabs… the lot. This is bad. TfL have found that lots more people could cycle along Angel Lane in future (see TfL Strategic Cycling Analysis Route 7)—but if these plans go ahead, that will lock many of these people out from cycling here for decades. Considering we need to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, that’s plain irresponsible. We want an exemplar cycling facility here.
Newham Cyclists will formally object to the MSG Sphere application… but we need your help. You can send your own response to the planning application and tell LLDC and MSG that this isn’t good enough.In a hurry? Use our template to send an objection email. Click here and your computer will pre-populate an email. Don’t forget to personalise it with your name, address, and ways the Sphere will affect you!
Got a little more time? Write your own objection like this:
State that you formally object to the planning application.
Feel free to use or reference our reasons for objecting—but don’t forget, put it in your own words and use your own experiences. (For instance: Live near Maryland? Don’t feel safe cycling in front of lorries on Angel Lane to get to the shops? Do your kids go to school in the Olympic Park? Expressing your concerns in terms of the impact the Sphere will have on you, and your family and friends, will hold more sway with the planning committee.)
Don’t forget to include your name and address.
Send the email by Friday 28th June 2019. You’ve not got long, but it doesn’t take long to object—just five minutes to send an email will be enough!
Four stalwarts braved early showers for the latest variation of our traditional Newham Ride. This time we took in the excellent parks on Newham Thameside, including Royal Victoria Gardens, Thames Barrier Park and – for the first time- Lyle Park. They all looked lush, and the last was a surprising delight in an unpromising area of new development and traditional industrial sites.
With this inspiration we resolved to work out a Newham Parks Ride for next year.
We supported a ride, instigated by Councillor Blaney and Richard, for Newham Councillors to see the Mini-Holland developments in neighbouring Waltham Forest.
There was a good turnout of about 10 Councillors including the Mayor and the relevant cabinet members. We are grateful to Waltham Forest campaigner Paul Gasson for leading the ride and providing technical input; and especially Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council who spoke from the political angle and answered a raft of questions.
The objective of the ride was to demonstrate on the ground the broad range of community and health benefits that quality cycle provision brings; and in particular how Liveable Neighbourhoods can be implemented. Newham has succeeded in securing TfL funding for a Liveable Neighbourhood in Custom House and has developed progressive plans for one on the borders with Waltham Forest.
As a bonus the weather was excellent.
Along the journey we stopped at the Leyton Cycle Hub;
and Francis Rd.
We cycled a section of the transformed Lea Bridge Rd;
and experienced neighbourhoods which are filtered to exclude through traffic and provide pocket parks.
After a well deserved coffee break in central Walthamstow , we all returned to Newham on an off-road route through the Wathamstow and Hackney Marshes, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A very pleasant and sociable ride which we hope and believe will help promote the development of quality cycle provision in Newham.
The weather was sunny and warm when 19 of us set out from View Tube en route to Upshire and the mountain of cake. However there were many challenges that we had to meet before we could have our cake and eat it. We rode out of the Olympic Park under the Lea Bridge Road, the towpath was busy with walkers, joggers, cyclists and fishermen/women and on the water there were rowers, paddle boarders, houseboaters as we made our way through the distinctive areas of Springfield park and the start of the string of reservoirs extending north out of London.
Nesting swans were seen as the waterway became quieter and water fowl had more room. We had a few punctures on the rough tracks and although we managed to fix them quickly we did find ourselves returning to the same back wheel.
After we left the towpath just before Enfield lock, we followed the National Cycle Network before joining Sewardstone Road and then climbing Dawes Hill, which combined with too many cars was a tough challenge. As we rode into Chingford passed Gilwell Park scout camp, we were surrounded by the forest and we climbed up to the Queen Elizabeth hunting lodge where we had another brief stop. Turning off Rangers Road we entered the forest and followed the tarmac track towards High Beech, the track had some steep sections before we emerged from the forest at the bikers tea hut. We were soon at High Beech, which was crowded on account of the sunny weather, the forest was beautiful as we rolled on towards the Wake Arms and the busy A121. We negotiated this road without any problems and joined the small road that took us over the M25 and into Upshire and our destination, St Thomas’.
Arrival time 14:28, tea and cake served from 14:30, and with a large slice of home made cake for approximately £1.10 and tea £0.70, unbeatable value.
The ride back was uneventful with zero punctures. We detoured from the canal and cycled around Hackney marshes and through the ever changing Olympic Park as our group reduced in number with people peeling off towards home. We arrived back at Viewtube around 17:30 after an enjoyable outing. Thanks to Anita for back marking, Karen and Robin for marshalling, puncture repairs and photos; also Jonathan, some of whose photos are included here.
15 of us congregated in the Forest Lane Lodge despite a change in our usual date and time. Councillor Blaney sent his apologies with an update of his current activities to promote cycling in the borough.
Below is a summary of the meeting. If you would like to know more please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We discussed and made further arrangements for a Councillor Ride on 9 June. This will be an important event.
Michael Barratt, TfL’s Development Impact Assessment Manager, who has being working closely with us for some period, updated us on his recent activities with the Newham Council Traffic management team and the London Legacy Development Corporation who still retain wide powers (including planning) over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and beyond. He suggested useful training that was available and how we can continue to minimise the adverse impact on cycling of major developments.
Stratford Original, the business improvement organisation is having its Stratford Town Centre Improvement launch event on 13 June from 4pm to 7pm; and is planning further events on 11 July and 22 September (World Car Free Day)
We will be having our “Fix Your Ride” (with add ons) at the Forest Gate Festival on 6 July.
Jonathan outlined the current enormous “Maddison Square Garden Sphere” development between Westfield and Angel Lane (see below for link to the application). He noted a derisory estimate by the planners of 20-30 cyclists going to events attracting 20,000 plus (amongst other questionable estimates) and the need for there to be better infrastructure proposals. A response to this application is due by the end of June
We agreed to support Jonathan with a QEOP subgroup to which other stakeholders and partner borough groups could be invited.
We looked at developments to restrict rat running in the Manor Park area – both east and west of High Street North (see below). The east section was a natural “Liveable Neighbourhood” and further information was needed on steps proposed to create this. The west section presented greater difficulties. However it appears to be acknowledged by the Council that its recent changes to the one way directions had not been successful. To end rat running will need further steps more akin to creation of a Liveable Neighbourhood; but it may be necessary to start with a limited area.
Having been contacted by an organisation called Iceni, which is promoting a walking and cycling bridge adjacent to the Thames Barrier. The group approved the idea in principle and will write pointing out that the Newham Ride is an ideal opportunity to put that proposal into context.
We discussed a response to a request from Newham Council to comment on the rebranding of Cycleways. We recalled our decision to object to signposting QW6 until it was of adequate quality. The consensus was that branded cycleways should be of sufficient quality (70% or more on the “Cycle Level of Service” scale) and continuous.
We had an early discussion on the prospect of greater funding from Newham Council.
There are four major issues at present. If you are interested in knowing more about any of these please contact us.
The “Madison Square Garden Sphere” between Westfield and Angel Lane: A planning application has been lodged which gives rise on initial examination to some serious concerns. We are going to examine it more carefully with other interested stakeholders and LCC HQ with a view to lodging objections by the end of June deadline. The full application is available here
The Freemasons Rd Liveable Neighbourhood potentially covers a wide area and has potential to deliver huge benefits for walking and cycling , particularly when linked to other schemes covering the Royal Docks. The Council are going into detailed design stage and we hope to contribute to this. The area of the scheme is set out in this map.
Newham Council are consulting residents in Manor Park west of High Street North on how to counter the large scale rat-running. The recent changes to the direction of one way flows so not appear to have solved the problem as this document showing traffic flows indicates.
Newham Council have consulted on how to counter rat running in Manor Park to the east of High Street North. We are awaiting further information on the solution.
We will be pressing for high quality schemes that make these areas akin to Liveable Neighbourhoods. In its Local Implementation Plan Newham Council have told TfL:
“The Council is committed to the delivery of Safe and Healthy Neighbourhoods schemes across the Borough in response to resident concerns. Two schemes are already being delivered with 2018-19 LIP funding in the East Ham North and Manor Park wards”
On Saturday 25 May a team of Newham Cyclists took a group of enthusiastic children from the Saturday cycle club of the Canning Town based charity “Ambition, Aspire, Achieve” on a ride of the Greenway and Olympic Park.
Sunday saw a large group of 20 – from Newham and other areas of London take our latest leisurely Newham Ride.
Its 15 miles took in the Greenway, Gallions, the Thames to Woolwich, the Royal Docks and the River Lea. The weather was excellent for the duration of the ride and we even managed to navigate though crowds of comic book heroes at the Excel Centre. Once we were back the weather deteriorated.
Our next ride is the longer “Cake Mountain Ride” on 9 June before reverting back to another Newham Ride, using a slightly different route, on 16 June.
20 gathered in an upstairs room in the Red Lion High Street South for our Annual Meeting.
The following Officers were elected.:
Co-ordinator: Arnold Ridout;
Deputy Co-ordinator: Kerena Fussell;
Treasurer: Bill Bremner;
Rides Co-ordinator: Steve Smith;
Local Infrastructure Rep: Olawale Ajibola;
Deputy Infrastructure Rep: Chris Kershaw;
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Rep: Jonathan Rothwell.
A draft Annual Report , Annual Accounts and Budget were approved.
Away from the more formal business:
Terry Patterson, LCC Trustee, expressed her appreciation of the groups work over the past year and asked members to consider standing for posts as LCC Trustees.
Louis Martin, from Fossil Free Newham, recalled that Newham Council had now voted unanimously to to go “fossil free”, explained what this entailed and reminded us that vigilance was needed to ensure that this vote was put into practice.
In response to Steve’s report on rides, there was discussion on categorisation of rides.
Olawale outlined developments following Newham Council’s successful bid to take part in TfL Liveable Neighbourhoods initiative in Custom House and prospects for the principles to be applied in the Stratford/ Forest Gate areas in partnership with Waltham Forest. Murray Woodburn, from Newham Council, supplemented this and delivered the news that 5 pilot “School Streets” initiatives had been agreed.
Our discussion on how to communicate better and in a changing environment resulted in a call for a single regular e-mail newsletter to replace the Borough insert into the London Cyclists magazine and continued use of the Yahoo Group for urgent communication – backed up by continued use of social media.
We discussed forthcoming activities including a possible Councillor Ride, and a partnership event with Stratford Original on 13 June during Bike Week.
The weather was not what Newham Cyclists have come to expect, being rather chilly and dull. Nevertheless 6 of us – the “naturalist wing” – set out for a short jaunt taking in Walthamstow Marshes, Walthamstow Wetlands, the Middlesex Filter Beds, the fringes of Hackney Marsh, and the northern (and greener) part of the Olympic Park. The cycling was broken up by a coffee stop and short wander around the reservoirs of the Wetlands. An excellent variety of different birds were seen, and we were reminded of the quality of the green spaces in our quarter of London. Thanks again to Robin for his photography skills.