Lee Valley Regional Park

Park Development Framework

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Lee valley

There are a number of overarching principles that will guide our approach to the future development and management of the Park.

Delivering the Park through partnership

Our vision for the Park can only be developed through the collective efforts of a wide range of partners.


Our partners are many and varied, and include national public bodies, sports governing bodies, national, regional and local government, commercial and private sector partners, community and interest groups, other voluntary sector organisations, as well as individuals within the community.


Our partners bring a mix of resources, expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm. They help deliver different aspects of the many component parts that make up the Park as a whole. Importantly, we want to ensure that all our partners are working towards a shared vision for the Park.


On our estate, our aim is to intelligently combine our resources with those of our partners, and collectively deliver much more than our modest resources alone would allow.


In areas of the Park owned by others, we will seek to build active partnerships with landowners; encouraging and assisting them wherever possible to ensure that their management and development decisions are making a positive contribution to the Park as a whole.

Regional Value

There will always be competing demands on the resources of the Park; a particular site might be used for a range of things and priorities need to be identified for where money and time is to be spent. Deciding what to do, where and when, requires a consistent way of evaluating competing options. We have therefore placed the idea of Regional Value at the heart of our decision making process.


In simple terms, Regional Value is an assessment of the range of benefits that any particular facility or activity in the Park delivers to the people of Essex, Hertfordshire and London (the region that funds most of our activities). Assessing Regional Value is not a precise science or mathematical formula, and it is not always easy. There is often a wide range of benefits delivered by the Park, many of them related directly to people who use our resources (e.g. the personal and community health benefits delivered through Lee Valley Athletics Centre school sports programmes), or that are less obvious or tangible (e.g. Olympic medal winning athletes who train at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre).


Importantly, we do not use Regional Value as a ‘hard and fast’ way of deciding what to do; we do not try to quantify value or do whatever scores the highest. The idea of Regional Value simply provides us with a tool to help assess and understand the relative value of competing demands.


The Park is not only for regional visitors, but is an important resource for local communities. We welcome and encourage use by everyone, and all facilities and activities will cater for local communities as a component part of the Regional Value they are offering.


We also accept that other landowners in the Park may want to provide features and facilities that meet more specific local community needs (e.g. local sports clubs or playgrounds). We will work with those landowners to try to ensure that their facilities are developed and managed so that they are accessible to as many people as possible and contribute positively to the wider Regional Value of the Park.

Multi function

There are a significant number of things that people believe the Park could or should provide, and there are often competing (and at times conflicting) demands for the finite land, financial and time resources available. Perhaps the greatest challenge for the future development and management of the Park is how to balance these demands and create a destination that delivers the most benefits to the largest number of people.


Our six aims reflect the range of demands: a visitor destination, a place for sport and recreation, a biodiversity resource, a fantastic landscape, a place for activities and events, and a place that contributes to the environmental sustainability of the region.


We believe the Park can only meet these demands by ensuring that all the feature and facilities in the Park are multifunctional. In other words, everything in the Park needs to provide for as many uses as possible.


We believe that everything in the Park can, and should, contribute to all of our aims. For example, a sports facility building should offer facilities for general Park users (e.g. café and toilet), provide habitats for wildlife (e.g. brown roofs and bird / bat boxes), be available as a community resource (e.g. a venue for learning and events), make a positive contribution to the Park landscape (e.g. be a beautiful building), and be highly sustainable (e.g. generate its own energy).


The idea of shared use is an important aspect of multifunction; path networks may need to be shared by pedestrians and cyclists, water bodies may need to be shared by fishermen and sailors, open spaces may need to be shared by birdwatchers and walkers. Careful design and management will be required to ensure that shared use of the Park meets the needs of all users.


We do recognise that there may be occasions where competing uses simply cannot be managed together successfully (e.g. some types of active recreational uses within sensitive ecological areas). Where necessary we will allocate different areas of the Park for different types of uses, in order to resolve conflicts that cannot be otherwise managed.

Flexibility

We want to ensure that the features and facilities of the Park, as well as our approach to future development and management, remain as flexible as possible. We recognise that situations can, and do change: demand for specific facilities and features rise and fall, existing priorities shift, and new development opportunities often present themselves.


So we will ensure that as far as possible the features and facilities of the Park can adapt and evolve to meet such changes as they occur. Our proposals for the future development and management of the Park will be reviewed routinely and will evolve over time.


Existing facilities may be developed to accommodate different activities, or replaced by facilities that provide entirely new uses; demand for new and currently unforeseen activities may lead to changes in the use and management of areas of the Park.


Importantly, the framework provides a baseline against which new opportunities and changing priorities can be assessed. Possible future changes will be evaluated in the context of Regional Value, as well as synergies with other uses. This will enable us to assess the relative pros and cons of accommodating new ideas against the agreed direction for the future development and management of the Park.


Environmental Sustainability

We believe the Park has an important role to play to ensure that the environmental needs of the region can be met in perpetuity. While this role is recognised within our strategic aims, we believe the principles of sustainable management and development must become guiding principles for the ongoing management and development of the Park.

We will ensure that the planning, design and management of the Park is undertaken holistically; to maximise available resources, and for proposals to be considered carefully to achieve their optimal sustainable potential.


Climate change in particular is an overarching issue which affects many, if not all, of the Authority’s activities - as well as the future use and development of the Park. An integrated approach is required by both the Authority and among the Park’s partners, stakeholders and organisations. Emphasis will be as follows:

  • Mitigation – reducing the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the facilities and activities that take place within the Park.
  • Adaptation – increasing the Park’s resilience to the impact of climate change.
  • Awareness – highlighting climate change mitigation, and adaptation within the Park and the wider community.
  • Partnership - where appropriate, work together to share expertise and experience (locally, regionally, nationally and with other landowners within the Park) with regards to mitigation and adaptation.

Engagement

We believe engagement with a wide range of organisations, user groups and community groups is fundamental to the successful management and development of the Park.


We also know from experience that maintaining effective relationships can be challenging. The sheer scale of the Park means that engagement on Park wide issues can become a huge task; and for very many people such issues are not of great interest. At a site specific level, we need to ensure that our engagement processes can balance the needs and desires of local communities with those of our regional visitors.


We therefore approach engagement at a number of different levels:

  • On a Park wide level, we engage with national public bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England, with regional government, and with national sports governing bodies and similar national or regional interest groups.
  • At a local level, we engage with other significant landowners in the Park, with regional and local government including the Greater London Authority, London Boroughs and County and District Councils. We also work closely with area based government agencies such as the Olympic Park Legacy Company and London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and with a range of other collective user and interest groups.
  • At a site specific level, we actively foster user forums across the Park, to act as a primary point of contact with local communities and help us to engage with local clubs, residents associations and other user groups.
Lee Valley Park
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