At the end of April, 71 residents wrote to the Council requesting a pause in the planning process regarding the Lea Bridge Gas Works Development.
Our community and our organisation is stretched to the limit in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 upon us all. Many of us now have additional care responsibilities, home schooling or health conditions that take up the majority of our time. All of us are in social isolation, all of us are in lock-down. We believe that all involved in making decisions must comply with the legal principles of fairness and public participation and that those principles can’t be realistically complied with during the lock-down. Many voices will not be heard in any planning process that takes place at this time. The current situation makes face to face meetings impossible, and online meetings favour those with the technological and financial means to attend. With public internet access, as provided by the library services impossible to access, any online planning meetings will exclude huge sections of the population of Waltham Forest.
Further, we are becoming increasingly concerned that planning processes and decisions are going ahead as normal when we are living in such unprecedented times. With 30,000 + already sadly passed away in the UK from COVID-19, we feel that the whole process of making major planning decisions would benefit hugely from a timely pause. With so many uncertainties about what the “New Normal” will look like after the COVID-19, we consider that it is essential to assess the impact of further developments in a joined up manner.
We ask for a pause in the planning process so that the community has time to recover, so that the playing field is more level and all voices may contribute and be heard in the consultation process and so that the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic is fully understood and not ignored.