East Marsh’s Days are Numbered

It looks like the East Marsh, part of Hackney Marshes, the world’s biggest complex of football pitches, is about to disappear under concrete, to form a coach park for the London Olympics. I was hoping it was never going to happen, as a quarter of the marsh is already fenced off, and that construction site hadn’t grown in size for a while, but it does look like it will be expanding right across the field from 22 May. The fields should be restored to grassland and football pitches a couple of years after the games. Fingers crossed.

(Although personally I think it would make a great site for a big housing development. There is very little housing in the immediate area around East Marsh, apart from a tiny terrace of travellers’ homes.)

In the Google Maps aerial imagery reproduced below, you can see the East Marsh, with a quarter already taken out by the Olympics construction site (the photo is from last June.) The now-completed velodrome is on the bottom right, with a bridge across the A12. Another bridge, “L01”, is now in place across the next road north, linking to the existing construction area on the East Marsh – you can see the red support trusses in place in the photo, built in advance of the bridge lift. The old “Cow Bridge” links the East Marsh to the rest of the Hackney Marshes, while a new set of changing rooms and cafe is under construction to the south-west of this bridge – the facility is also now completed and open. There are plans, I believe, for a new footbridge, to cross the channel and provide a more direct link from the changing rooms to the East Marsh, once it is restored.

To the top-right of the marsh, is the relocated Spitalfields Market. Why the plaza here couldn’t have been used instead for the coach park, for the four weeks of the Olympics and Paralympics, I do not know.

Imagery ©2011 Google, DigitalGlobe, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, GeoEye, Getmapping plc, Bluesky, The GeoInformation Group.

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