Lee Valley Regional Park

Park Development Framework

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Lee valley

The Lee Valley Regional Park was created on the 1st January 1967, through an Act of Parliament: the Lee Valley Regional Park Act 1966.

The creators of the Regional Park wanted to provide a destination for the growing populations of London, Essex and Hertfordshire to enjoy recreation and leisure activities unavailable elsewhere. The corridor alongside the River Lee was at that time a mix of derelict and operational industrial land, undeveloped marshlands, water supply reservoirs, farmland, glasshouses and municipal parks. The new Regional Park was to transform these areas to create a continuous corridor of open space and built leisure and sports facilities that would provide a wide range of recreation and leisure opportunities.


The purpose of the Park is clearly defined in the Park Act, as: “… a place for the occupation of leisure, recreation, sport, games or amusements or any similar activity, for the provision of nature reserves and for the provision and enjoyment of entertainments of any kind.” Section 12(1) Lee Valley Regional Park Act 1966


Much has been achieved since the Park was created. The Park now includes 10,000 acres (over 4,000ha) and winds its way 26 miles: along the banks of the River Lee from Ware in Hertfordshire, down through Essex, North London, and past Olympic Park to East India Dock Basin on the River Thames.


The Park is a fantastic mix of sport and leisure venues, heritage sites, gardens, nature reserves and riverside trails; offering an endless range of things to do. It is easy to reach by bike, car, train, or on foot, and visitors can spend anything from a few hours to a few days enjoying and exploring.


The Park is also one of the homes of the most exciting events in the world – the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Games will not only provide a great sporting spectacle, but will deliver a lasting benefit for the Park; four world-class sports venues are to be located within the Park boundary, with the remaining Olympic venues and parklands situated alongside.

The Park Authority

The Park Act, which established the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, placed a duty on the Authority to develop, improve, preserve and manage the Park, either directly or through others.


We work towards delivering this duty in three key ways:

As owner and manager of land and facilities within the Park

We own and manage approximately 3,800 acres (1,500ha) of the total Park area. It is our duty to use our available resources to develop and manage that estate. We know we will need to work closely with a range of partners, and seek additional resources and expertise, in order to deliver the features, facilities and activities that contribute to our vision and aims for the Park.

As a champion, leader, facilitator and coordinator of other landowners within the Park

The remaining 6,200 acres (2,500ha) of the Park is owned and managed by others. The success of our Park vision is hugely dependant on other landowners and managers working together towards a shared aspiration. A vital part of our future work is working alongside the land owners to achieve our vision for the Park; to work collectively towards Park-wide coordinated and complementary facilities, attractions and activities, and to assist each other where appropriate with shared resources, advice and expertise.

As a statutory planning consultee

The Act confers on the Authority the role of a statutory planning consultee. This means that we must be consulted on any planning applications within, or which impacts on, the Park. We will use this role to continue to champion the Park and to do everything we can to ensure that local planning authorities give appropriate regard to our aims and purposes.


We will:

  • Oppose in principle any planning applications relating to land within the Park that include land uses which are not compliant with the purpose of the Park (as set out in Section 12 of the Park Act).
  • Seek to ensure that all planning approvals relating to land within the Park will lead to a positive contribution to our vision, aims and objectives.
  • Seek to ensure that all planning approvals relating to land outside the Park boundaries will have no negative impact on the Park, and where possible lead to a positive contribution to our vision, aims and objectives.
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