News / 16 October, 2014

Massive Adidas ad on Marshes slammed as ‘grossly inappropriate’

Save Lea Marshes claims Council obtained planning permission for advert ‘sensitive in size, scale and visual appearance’


Predatory: giant billboard on Hackney Marshes Centre. Photograph: Save Lea Marshes

A £30,000 advertising deal between Hackney Council and sportswear corporation Adidas has been criticised as “grossly inappropriate”.

The 38m x 7.5m advert for ‘Predator’ football boots, emblazoned with the words “hackney, show your instinct”, has been erected over one whole side of the Marshes Centre.

The Council says that the money received for the advert – in place for four weeks – will be “injected” into the Youth Sport Fund and used to support future sporting talent in the borough.

However, environmental campaign group Save Lea Marshes are furious at the “irresponsible” advert .

They claim that the advert only received planning permission on the basis of it being “sensitive in size, scale and visual appearance”.

Caroline Day of Save Lea Marshes said: “It is totally unacceptable to be using the marshes for such grossly inappropriate advertising.

“As as a borough with one of the highest rates of child poverty in the whole UK, advertising trainers costing £170 a pair to the impressionable young people of Hackney is totally irresponsible.

“For one, Hackney Council only attained permission for the Hackney Marshes User Centre on the basis it would ‘respect Metropolitan Land’ designation. This advert patently does not do so.

“Cllr Vincent Stops has said there will be no planning enforcement on this matter, despite the advert only attaining permission on the basis of being ‘sensitive in size, scale and visual appearance’ and facing the car park!”

Local resident Sarah Miller, from Homerton, said: “I just think it’s disgraceful that a stunning, award winning building has been sold to the highest bidder to become a giant billboard, albeit temporarily.”

Ms Miller added: “At least it sounds like the money raised will be used for something worthwhile.”

However, not all users of Hackney Marshes are against the advert.

The Marshes Pavilion Community Group, a community group of parents and children who use the North Marshes to train and play competitive sport, said they were “delighted” at the promise of a cash injection for Hackney’s sporting youth.

One of the group’s members, Jonathan Bannister, said that generating revenue from the advert for children’s sport was “entirely appropriate”. He said: “As an organisation dedicated to bringing more children to regular, structured, sport we are delighted that Hackney managed to raise £30,000 to help develop children’s sport.

“Allowing a sports brand to advertise on a sports pavilion that serves one of the biggest concentration of football pitches in the country and to use the revenue to fund kids sport seems an entirely appropriate way to raise funds in a time of austerity.”

In a statement, Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure said: “At a time of severe government funding cuts – which has so far seen Hackney’s budget reduced by about £100 million and many councils cut services – it’s crucial we make the most of opportunities to generate revenue to help us keep supporting our residents.

The benefits of this extra money for Hackney’s young people will be felt long after this advert is taken down.”

A Town Hall spokesperson told the Hackney Citizen it is confident they have adequate planning permission for the advert, and are in the process of responding to the concerns raised by Save Lea Marshes.

/ 16 October, 2014
  • Martyn

    It looks horrible, but if it is temporary and the cash meaningful I could be persuaded. But there seems to be little detail put forward by the Council, and the term “injection” suggests to me squeezing a tiny bit of cash in.

    To those who don’t like it – if you think it breaches planning consents, you have to lodge an objection with Planning Control to get an investigation going. Details on the Council website.

  • Mark Mitchell

    The money will go to sports grants to talented young athletes and progressive community sports clubs, which you can read about here
    Which has in the past supported the likes of Tao Geoghegan Hart, who only a month ago represented Great Britain at the U23 world road race championships
    Think you’ll find the said boots can be bought for £32, but SaveLeaMarshes are not the best at sticking to the facts

  • richgreeners

    looks better than the obscene graffiti that is scrawled on the walls of the disgusting changing rooms on the north marsh. get the new pavilion built! whatever hackney can do to encourage more people to partake in sport the better especially local kids.

  • richgreeners

    save lea marshes have nothing better to do than complain and moan about everything that is associated with hackney marshes! they have to remember that it is an open space which everyone has the right to use. the more facilities that are there the more people will be inclined to use it. surely the people of hackney would be proud to have first class facilities and attract visitors and users? good for business on the up and coming chatsworth rd?

  • richgreeners

    hackney citizen that headline is a bit misleading as adidas were providing hundreds of pairs of free football boots and equipment to local children and adults. if that’s “grossly inappropriate” along with their wrap then the only people to suffer will be the local community. caroline day and lea marshes should get their facts right before commenting on something they know nothing about!

  • Steve Fisher

    I’m sorry but Save Lea Marshes really should pick better things to complain about, the car parks are a no, no and should be opposed, but… if the council can make £30,000 in a month to put into services in the borough from a hoarding board on the side of a building great.
    Central government has cut money available to Labour boroughs to the bone, fight them, not the people trying to create activities for the disadvantaged.

  • Katy

    The trouble is that it has set a precedent. Once it has happened once, it is easier for it to happen over and over again.
    The sheer size of it is what worries me. The marshes are for everyone to enjoy, they are not a suitable location for this type of outsize advertising.

  • Kevin Dovey

    The marshes are meant to be a wild and natural environment for all, somewhere you can get away from corporate advertising. If the council don’t mind turning their buildings into giant corporate advertising hoardings then do it on the town hall not on our marshes. Sport is not the only use for this amazing wild area, and although I have no problem with people playing sport it should not take over and dominate the landscape the way this advert does.

  • Julian Cheyne

    Adidas can provide boots for local kids any time the please. There no need for them to put up this kind of advert on this space to do this. Likewise it is good for more people to use Hackney Marshes, that’s what it’s there for. That doesn’t mean Hackney has to build more car parks!

  • MattLindsey

    Goodness me, the side of a building has an advert on it. It’s the slippery slope. Next thing you know they will be interrupting the wireless program with advertising messages and putting commercial content in our morning newspapers.
    Oh no, hang on its 2014 and putting money into grass roots sport is one of the best ways of improving life chances for kids in the inner city. Interrupting a tiny part of the view across the Marshes (to a building) for a few weeks vs providing badly needed funds to provide activities for our kids. And why only 4 weeks? Sell some more if kid’s sport can get more funding.

  • Johnnie Pakington

    What is inappropriate about an advert for football boots on the home of grass roots football? It is temporary and bringing badly needed money into the borough to encourage kids to play sport whether on the South or North Marsh.

  • Simon Hore

    Hackney Funding has been cut and to supplement that cut have earned £30,000 for a football add on the largest configuration of football pitches in the land. For only four weeks! The money goes to support the same young “poverty stricken” Hackney sports people that Save the Marshes Group is so worried about and who knows help them out of it?

    Sarah Miller is concerned the award winning building has been covered. I suggest she looks north to the North Pavilion , a tumble down wreck, replacement of which is being opposed ! We can have another well designed building there. Just sign up FOR the North Marsh Pavilion campaign. And Julian Cheyne no extra car park! Check the design it covers the existing one.

    Remember North Marsh Pavilion was agreed , past tense, as part of the Olympic Legacy and is STILlL being opposed by a minority users group.

    There are lovely quite areas to enjoy and these are not threatened either by a temporary advert or a new designer North Marsh Pavilion.

    I suggest the Save The Marshes Group take a walk down there any Saturday and see the hundreds of kids enjoying their sports, adults coaching and parents supporting their kids. Now that’s a real pleasure.

  • Hackney Marshes are not marshes. They are mostly sports pitches. We have a national crisis around obesity and people (esp. young people) not getting enough exercise. We should encourage people to take part in healthy sports. We should provide them with appropriate facilities, such as a new pavilion.

    A ‘user group’ that finds itself in opposition to the largest groups of users does not really merit the name. Rather, it risks appearing elitist and unrealistic, and at odds with the legitimate needs of boys and girls to exercise and use decent facilities.

    Hackney Council is to be applauded for finding the money to support sport in East London in these austere times. It’s just a pity some people can’t see that.

  • Sernicki

    richgreeners has nothing better to do than complain and moan about everything that is associated with Save Lea Marshes! If people are worried about obesity walk, cycle, jog, use public transport, skateboard, skate, pogo stick, space hop, hop, skip, jump there, must be a lot better than taking the car.

  • Damian

    This is the same Adidas that Hackney sued for copyright infringement (in 2007?) for using the Hackney logo to promote its football gear.

    Adidas is desperate to associate its brand with Hackney Marshes. For a client that desperate, $30,000 is a pissant amount of money for that advertising space. If the council is going to desecrate the marshes in that way, at least it should charge a decent sum.

    My instinct is to set it alight.

  • William Tucker

    Wow! As an African immigrant I am amazed at how much negative energy people put into something that is bringing inspiration. Yes it is an expensive trainer brand but it does make kids want to aspire to improve. I think yes. I enjoy green spaces just like anyone else. Does this advert disrupt my enjoyment of this space NO.. This is as multi purpose green space let’s use it to it full potential to support the health and wellbeing of our community. This advert is rather tasteful judging by the photos in this article and physically seeing it.
    Well done Hackney Council glad to see you doing something positive for our community. Save Lea Marshes please find something positive to campaign for and leave positive progress alone. A real Hackney Citizen and Hackney Marshes user.

  • Encouraging our young people to want £170 trainers in a borough of extreme child poverty is not positive. It is important to have spaces that are free from the pernicious effects of advertising where people can enjoy free exercise without invasion, especially children who are more impressionable. As for the amount the Council are donating to sports, this is a fraction of the £750,000 they wasted ‘putting Hackney on the map’ with the Radio 1 Weekender, wrecking sports pitches in the process. We campaign for our marshes to be non-urbanised and non-commercialised, for the benefit of everyone’s health and well being.

  • What’s interesting is that the temporary planning permission is for the “front elevation” but the accompanying photos in the application are of the car park side of the South Hub and not the facade impacting on the view from across the marshes.

  • This £30,000 that the Council is claiming will go into the Youth Sports Fund will NOT be paying for ‘services in the borough’ or providing ‘activities for our kids’ or going to the ‘poverty stricken’ as the commenters above appear to believe.

    The Fund provides cash handouts directly to under-25 Hackney residents to further their own personal sporting career development. The grants are not means tested or in any way related to deprivation or necessarily spent in Hackney.

    Ironic that this fund for private benefit was started with compensation from Nike for unauthorised appropriation of the Hackney Council logo. Now there’s more funding from unauthorised appropriation of Common Land and abuse of the advertising consent process to assist the marketing campaign of their competitor Adidas.

  • Duncan Holden

    I suspect Charlie has no actual experience of how the Hackney Youth Sport Fund works in practice.

    While HYSF grants to talented young athletes are not formally means-tested, there is sufficient information on the application form (eg home address and school) for the adjudicator to have a fair idea of an applicant’s personal circumstances. In addition, gold and silver awards require a letter of support from the relevant sporting governing body or club team, which generally isn’t forthcoming unless the applicant is suitably deserving. This is certainly my approach (as treasurer of Stoke Newington CC) when supporting HYSF applications and I would be very surprised if other clubs/governing bodies do things differently. I can assure Charlie that all applicants endorsed by SNCC are genuinely deserving.

    The HYSF also provides Progressive Community Club Grants to grassroots Hackney sports clubs, such as SNCC. This year SNCC received a £1,000 grant which we spent on cricket equipment for our U9 boys and U13 girls squads, many of whom can’t afford their own kit.

    Charlie – you may not like the Adidas ad, but your criticism of the HYSF is completely unjustified. It has been a source of much-needed financial support for grassroots Hackney sport for many years.

  • Tom Tanner

    All of Save Lea Marshes’ campaign literature is full of warm words of support for youth sport and the construction of a pavilion (just not one that’ll ever be used because they object to a car park that actually makes it possible for people to access the marshes) and yet, when the cash-strapped council finds an innovative way of raising some much needed funds to support sport in the borough the campaigners’ true colours are revealed. The worst kind of NIMBYS – that’s Never Improve the Marshes B******s to Youth Sport.

  • Gus Walsh

    As a twenty year old sportsman I find it strange that Save The Marshes are making such a fuss.
    Due to their campaigning the Adidas ad has reached far more people.

    There is advertising everywhere these days and I find it insulting that Save the Marshes think that we can’t make up our own minds. Before the new pavilion things were terrible down there as they still are at North Marsh.

    If a little advertising is going to help improve that then great. Maybe if the ad was for Birkenstock…..

  • richgreeners

    slm is very small, offensive, selfish, misinformed, angry, middle class and pathetic. hackney marshes is not marsh land, it was land fill before it was turfed for the use of the public. not all people in hackney and surrounding areas can get to the marshes via pogo sticks. it seems unless you live within a 10mins walk slm suggest you and your kids are not welcome or permitted to use the marshes as you are not “local” and you must’nt bring a car even if you are traveling from out of the borough as some visiting teams do. sad state of affairs when these sport, children and fun hating people voice their comments.

  • Richgreeners

    there is plenty of public transport and although i live over two miles away it takes me ten minutes to cycle to the marshes with my two children

    you are everything you accuse slm of being

    just re read your own post

  • Cahal

    Just get the Pavilion built on the North Marshes!
    Its a ‘No Brainer’
    The youth of Hackney need it and need it NOW!

  • Mark Warner

    Most of the outcry against developing the North Marshes Pavilion (which I don’t think people can really object to people having a safe place to change/shower and toilet facilities) is the park car! This is just the bigger issue of the long term future of the car full stop! Replacing the old broken car park with a new one is just the position on the table! At the moment people make their way the cricket club by cycle, walking, car sharing etc. As the pressure on cars grows, the car pack will evolve to holding more bike racks, electric point for e-cars, and whatever the future holds of transporting us around. There must be away to build a future proof car park now. So if everyone stop fighting and put their heads together to build something the works long term. Don’t just scream ‘No’ because of this and ‘No’ because of that… thats wasting time, Just think that kids are using the Marsh and work to make it continue!

  • Julian Cheyne

    Simon Hore – you mean the derelict unused car park which is now a cricket pitch? Indeed despite all your group’s scepticism about our intentions we think this is a much better use for it. Hackney could have built the original pavilion for which they had permission but chose not to, nothing really to do with SLM.

    Andrew Boyle – we really can see it is good for kids to run around on Hackney Marshes, even if you don’t believe it.

    Tom Tanner – of course you can abuse SLM by saying we are saying B*******s as NIMBYS and doubt our sincerity at supporting a new pavilion but the cricket pitches are being used despite the absence of the car park you want and despite your hostility to us we hope it continues.

    Hackney does have a policy to discourage car parking to encourage alternative forms of transport which we would like to see applied in this case.

    This is not just about the North Marsh, there is a second car park at East Marsh, without any changing rooms. Hackney has lumped both applications together.

    Gus Walsh, William Tucker – I don’t have any time for Adidas, it doesn’t pay its workers properly, but as you are keen supporters of the company I can only point out there really are plenty of places an advert of this kind could be displayed to allow Adidas to get its message across if that is what Hackney wants to do without sticking it on Hackney Marshes. If you look at the planning issues you will see Hackney broke its own guidelines. But then that probably isn’t a matter of concern to you.

    And Adidas really could hand out some trainers if they wanted without needing to stick this up on Hackney Marshes.

    richgreeners – ha! ha!

  • richgreeners

    seems to me julianne cheyne you get rather angry when the majority have spoken against your petty small minded objections! your “non user group” are now shown in true light as a minor insignificant gaggle of buffoons which have nothing better to do than complain about everything. The real people of hackney now have a voice!

    As for bungling bill try cycling with 2 cricket bags on your back! at 8pm on a school night. we dont all live 2 miles away. is that cut off distance for kids to use the marshes? any further than that dont bother coming and stay at home !

  • Mark Mitchell

    I would love to hear of the myriad of public transport options to get to the North Marsh apart from the 242 bus ??? Or is a pogo stick public transport now ??

  • julian cheyne

    Hi mark, I said we wanted Hackney to ‘encourage alternative forms of transport’ – which in terms of buses means to work with TfL to get better public transport connections to Hackney Marshes. Maybe clubs could also use minibuses which take up less parking spaces and carry more kids than lots of cars taking one or two kids. This might even be more economic for families.

    I think it is reasonable in this context to refer to Hackney’s stated policy on car use and discouraging through limiting car parking.

    richgreeners – I don’t know who Julianne Cheyne is and no I didn’t get angry, your comments have been consistently abusive, a record I see you are keen to maintain

  • Simon Hore

    Minibuses would be I agree ideal however none of the clubs around here have any way of affording that type of expense.

    Thus kids are ferried around by willing parents to Crouch End, Wembley, St John’s Wood, Winchmore Hill etc by willing parents into their own cars at no expense to the clubs.

    On return fixtures those clubs come here and have to park somewhere.

    A minibus to and from Stokey Church St and Hackney Central would help local kids on training and match days.

    Perhaps we could get a sponsored advert at the Marshes to pay for some?

  • richgreeners

    julianne nice of you to offer minibuses for the hundreds of children’s sporting clubs that use the marshes.

    great idea regarding mini buses! never crossed our minds!

    we will need a BIGGER CAR PARK to house them in. maybe we should see if plans can be amended?

  • julian cheyne

    Simon – serious comment, they can be hired

    richgreeners – need to go to specsavers?

  • Sernicki

    Actually the use of mini buses would mean a smaller car park. The average dimensions of a mini bus (17 seater) are Length= 6m and width= 1.9m for, as mentioned 17 people. Now a standard saloon (I am using a Ford Focus all models) Length= 4.481m and width=1.991m. That last figure rings a bell, ah yes, that’s it, it is the same as the 17 seater mini bus. However. for petty arguments sake lets say that the mini bus takes up 2 parking spaces. Now, if we also say, even though this will not be the case, that each car carries 4 people and occupy 1 car parking space per car. OK, lets do the sums, it will take 5 cars to take 17 people to the cricket ground and one mini bus. If the mini bus takes up two spaces then the 5 cars will have to take up 5 spaces. However the bonus of taking multiple cars would mean more congestion, more pollution and more money spent of fuel which is so cool and groovy. Just thought I would ensure that give an more accurate view of the mini bus V cars allocation.

  • Nick Willis

    Hackney Council does discourage car use which is fine. However, they must also recognise that sometimes travel by car is necessary or desirable hence their support for car clubs and electric cars. There is frustration that those opposing the pavilion and it’s car park don’t appear to understand the practicalities of organising youth sport. Let me give a couple of examples. The area of the Middlesex league that SNCC plays most of its games in stretches from the Lea in the east to Brondesbury in the west and Finchley to the north. I’ve had a quick look at Tfl and to arrive for a 9:30 meet for a 10:00 start on a Sunday morning (normal by the way ) would involve the following. Brondesbury CC would need to leave at 7:55 and get 2 buses and a tube. Finchley CC would leave at 8 and need to get 3 or even 4 buses! They would then of course have to travel back after the game. Mini buses are a lovely idea. I’m not directly involved in SNCC but I’m going to make an educated guess that they would need at least 6 of them. Bearing in mind that a large secondary school will be happy to run 2 that is quite an ask for a sports club running on grants and subscriptions and that has no premises to keep them at.

  • julian cheyne

    the point I am trying to make about parking is not just about minibuses or whatever other transport is used. It is about looking at alternatives. in the past I managed, along with others, to lobby for a new bus route, the 308 which passed my former estate. In that instance the route was supported by Newham Council. car usage, minibuses, parking can be seen as part of a package and we think lobbying for better public transport can be done as part of the policy of discouraging car usage. If sports people want to characterise SLM in the way they are at the moment then plainly this discussion will go nowhere. But we are genuinely interested in helping resolve issues regarding different users access. We may approach this from a different angle but this is not about denying people access to the marshes as part of some sort of elite snobbishness as is being suggested

  • julian cheyne

    Further to the above, I would also like to point out once again that SLM initiated discussions with sports people about this matter long before this planning application was made to try to find common ground and wanted to extend those discussions to include other groups. Continue to characterise us in the way you are if you wish but please remember we have worked with sports people before over the Marshes and hope to do so once again as we have already made clear in recent conversations.

  • richgreeners


    you have no idea.. 600 people on the marsh at any one time. mini buses hold 12 not 17 as thats a coach. do the math thats a min of 50 minibuses.. car park now isnt big enough. glad you realize that the car park should be bigger tho. seeing sense finally. you have nothing in common with “sports people” who are in fact the local community trying to get better facilities for themselves and their children. lets face it the disguise you are using calling yourselves a user group has just fallen off and all can see what you really are.

  • William Tucker

    Save Lea Marshes = a pose everything that makes life better for others. Make Hackney Marshes ours and the rest of Hackney can go to Hell.

    £170 for a pair of trainers again always looking with your exclusive mind. Just brought a pair of trainers for £ 21.95 they are Adidas or maybe I should check maybe ‘add as’. But who cares at least I will be able to use them on the marshes until it is made exclusively for Save Lea Marshes group.

  • Jonathan Bannister

    Damian appears to be condoning arson in his comment above. Julian is he a member of SLM? Is physical damage of public property part of your group’s policy? Let us know.


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