Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 update

Councillors Report – February 2014




Woodberry Down Masterplan



The revised masterplan is due to go to the Planning Committee on the 5th of February. As previously advised key changes include –

more shops, principally along Seven Sister Road

893 additional homes

four new community facilities



The hybrid application comprises an outline application with proposals for a revised 25-year masterplan setting out the development of phases two to seven of the Woodberry Down scheme, as well as a detailed application for phase two. Phase one of the scheme, including 1,649 new homes, shops, community facilities and open spaces, has already been completed.



The revised masterplan includes up to 3,242 new homes and a further 10,921 square metres of non-residential floorspace. The first three phases will deliver a minimum of 41% affordable homes with later phases being subject to viability assessment to identify the provision of social housing.



The planning application can be found here WDReport.pdf



Finsbury Park SPD



The three boroughs which signed up to the Finsbury Park Accord two years ago, have spent this year working on a supplementary planning document for the area. This then guides applicants as to what would be acceptable and what wouldn’t. Once adopted it becomes a “material planning consideration”.



The consultation ran for several months last summer. Most responses were broadly supportive of the approaches the 3 boroughs were taking. One issue that did emerge was support for Rowans bowling alley. This may have been based on a misconception that we were trying to persuade that business to move. The purpose of the document was to seek a higher quality building with an improved entrance into the park, should the site be redeveloped in the future. A bowling alley can continue to be one of the businesses within that new building, if the owners wish.



The revised SPD is due to be put to the 3 cabinets in the next two months.



Licensing Special Policy Area in Dalston



We have been consulting for the last year on whether to introduce an SPA in Dalston. As on a previous occasion, club owners and operators did organise to get their customers to respond to the application. On paper therefore the result looks opposed to an SPA, but a more detailed analysis of the people from the area who responded shows a different result. The introduction of an SPA was also strongly supported by the police and other partners.



On balance we decided that there was more than enough evidence to proceed. It will however be significantly different from the SPA in Shoreditch which attempts to restrict all new licences or extension of hours. The Dalston policy instead gives a list of the types of uses which are acceptable to which times on which days.



Road safety



We introduced a 20mph zones across the ward last year by way of making the orders, erecting signage and installing the physical traffic calming measures required. However at that stage the police were unwilling to assist in enforcing those. They have now been persuaded to change their approach and are training up their officers to enforce them. TfL have also agreed the use of their cameras where applicable.



Kings Crescent regeneration



Five contractors were shortlisted to carry out the refurbishment and new build to the north side of the estate. We hope to now finalise an appointment by the end of February. For details of the planning application which was approved on 31st July, go here and search for 2013/1128. It will achieve 101 refurbished flats for current residents, 107 new affordable units (79 rent, 28 shared ownership), and 155 new private units, as well as a café overlooking Clissold Park



A contract to install a new temporary community centre was awarded and this should happen this month. It was delayed due to difficulties with the electricity connection.



Social Lettings Agency



The council is to try to establish it’s own lettings agency to provide a better and fairer service to private sector tenants. This came in part from discussions on the 2014 local manifesto.



218 Green Lanes development



The redevelopment of the former Unite/T&G building was approved in December. The new buildings will deliver 107 homes, of which 25 will be affordable. It also achieves the aim of the Manor House Area Action Plan to open up a walkway and view through this site to the New River Path and West Reservoir.



Audit success



One of my other roles is chairing the council’s Audit Committee. The Audit & Anti-fraud Division have recently taken over the task of investigating tenancy fraud on behalf of first Hackney Homes and secondly all major housing associations. They recovered 131 properties last year and are well on the way to their 150 target this year.







Councillor Brian Bell

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brownswood Ward Forum

The next  Brownswood Ward Forum is on: Monday 18th November 2013, 7.30 pm at the Music Room, Parkwood Primary school Queens Drive, N4 2HQ

The agenda for the ward forum is as below:

1.      Minutes, actions and updates
·        Draft Finsbury Park Supplementary Planning Document
·        Update on planning application 350-352 Seven Sisters Road
·        Update on waste and recycling

2.      School placement projections
  •                Marian Lavelle, Hackney Learning Trust. 


3.       Ward boundary update


4.      A.O.B

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our July report



Councillors Report – July 2013


Finsbury Park Supplementary Planning Document


Islington, supported by Hackney and Haringey, are leading on the preparation of a SPD for Finsbury Park. The area covered has includes all of Blackstock as far south as Highbury Vale police station, and to the petrol station site on Seven Sisters Road.


This draft SPD summarises the planning policies that should be addressed by future development proposals, planning and design issues particular to the area, and some of the key information that an applicant should include in any future applications. Some of the more interesting ideas include –

* redeveloping the Rowan’s site to provide a better gateway into the park

* improving conditions beneath the railway viaducts including exploring the option of opening up another arch to separate foot and motor traffic along Stroud Green Road

* promoting the entrances to Gillespie Park and the Parkland Walk


The public consultation was held between Monday 1 July 2013 and Monday 12 August 2013. There were three drop-in sessions in the area on the following dates:

Saturday 13 July 2013, 11am -2pm, N4 Library, 26 Blackstock Road, London N4 2DW

Monday 15 July 2013, 5pm - 8pm, The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP

Tuesday 16 July 2013, 3pm - 6pm, The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP


Information on the public consultation, including a copy of the draft SPD, will be available from the Council’s website (www.islington.gov.uk/finsburypark) from Monday 1 July 2013. An information leaflet will be distributed to properties within the catchment area this week. An online survey has been set up to gather feedback and comments, which can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/66L7TLS .


If you have any queries or would like a paper copy of the draft SPD, the lead officer is Deanna Walker on 020 7527 1825 or by email at deanna.walker@islington.gov.uk .


Kings Crescent regeneration


The planning application for the detailed design of the north side of the estate is scheduled to go to the planning committee on 31st July. Go here and search for 2013/1128. It includes both the final stages of refurbishment of the existing blocks, and substantial new build. It will achieve 101 refurbished flats for current residents, 107 new affordable units (79 rent, 28 shared ownership), and 155 new private units.


The procurement process to appoint a developer is also well underway and we hope to appoint in late July. If all goes to plan, preparatory works will begin this autumn.


The second stage of the refurbishment is almost complete with new windows being installed at Therfield, Datchworth and Theobalds courts.


Licensing


Licensing authorities are entitled to declare a “special policy area” if they can prove that licensed premises have reached saturation point in a particular area such that they are massively affecting the quality of life. We already have such an area in central Shoreditch, which has been largely successful in resisting new bars.

This month we approved a consultation on also introducing one along the A10 corridor north and south of central Dalston. Having an SPA means that the normal assumption that a license be granted is reversed, and that new or variation licenses are only granted in exceptional circumstances.


Woodberry Down regeneration


The review of the masterplan continues. Some elements may include -

# Opening the southside of some blocks to enhance views and light

# Many more retail units along the northside of Seven Sisters Road

# Changes to the phasing of redevelopment

Once the partners have internally finalised a draft new masterplan, it will be subject to public consultation next year.


The resident group, the Woodberry Down Community Organisation is also going through the process of re-electing it’s board. For the first time seats are reserved for the completed private blocks.


Three sites have now been completed and handed over – the latest Horston and Sherwood ahead of schedule. Construction is now up to it’s full height on the “3 Ps” site which will be 100% social housing.

 

The annual estate “fun day” is this Saturday from 1-4pm on The Green, the newly created park on Woodberry Grove North.




The Finsbury Park Trust is born

The organisation formerly known as the Finfuture, has now formally changed it’s name to the Finsbury Park Trust which was Brian’s proposal. It intends to free up resources to be more effective as the voluntary sector lead in the regeneration of the area, and will soon be officially relaunched.


Attainment of deprived children


Ofsted has recently published a report analysing and commenting on children who do not perform well at school, asking whether schools are paying underachieving children enough attention. A significant number of children who underachieve are also on free school meals, although not all. The report, called ‘Unseen children’ is available on the Ofsted website. Hackney is in either the top five or top 10 percent among local authorities, on each of the four indicators, and joint second in the country on one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brownswood Ward Forum


Hello, 

It's time for our ward forum again where we get to discuss the issues that matter to our local area here in Brownswood ward. 
Please join us for the Brownswood Ward Forum


On Wednesday 17th July 2013, 7 pm
Music Room, Parkwood Primary School
The agenda for the evening is follows:

1.      Minutes, actions and updates
2.      Discussion on homelessness and hostels in the ward
3.       Finsbury Park draft Supplementary Planning Document.(Consultation on the draft plan runs is open from 1st July 2013 to the 12th August 2013)
 4.   Update on Blackstock Road festival

We look forward to seeing you. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June update

Councillors Report – June 2013




Kings Crescent regeneration



Initial consultation on the planning application for the detailed design of the north side of the estate ended on 20th May. Go here and search for 2013/1128. It included both the final stages of refurbishment of the existing blocks, and substantial new build.



We hope to get it to a planning committee in July, and to start work in the late autumn. It will achieve 101 refurbished flats for current residents, 107 new affordable units (79 for rent, 28 for shared ownership), and 155 new units for private sale.



The procurement process to appoint a developer is also well underway and we hope to announce the outcome on 25th July.



The second stage of the refurbishment is almost complete. New windows are being installed at Therfield, Datchworth and Theobalds courts. Teething problems with the fobs and door entry systems are being sorted out but on the whole residents report feeling a lot safer. We are also proposing to install a new and more accessible temporary community centre, which can later be reused elsewhere.



Finsbury Park



Islington, supported by Hackney and Haringey, are leading on the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document for Finsbury Park



This draft SPD summarises the planning policies that should be addressed by future development proposals, planning and design issues particular to the area, and some of the key information that an applicant should include in any future applications. Some of the more interesting ideas include –

* redeveloping the Rowan’s site to provide a better gateway into the park

* enhancing shopfronts and public space

* improving conditions beneath the railway viaducts including exploring the option of opening up another arch to separate foot and motor traffic along Stroud Green Road

* promoting the entrances to Gillespie Park and the Parkland Walk



The draft is scheduled to go to Hackney’s June Cabinet for approval to consult for an initial 6 weeks. The area covered has expanded to cover all of Blackstock as far south as Highbury Vale police station and the petrol station site on Seven Sisters Road.

Woodberry Down regeneration

A masterplan for the overall scheme was agreed over 10 years. However because of the “credit crunch” and changes in funding regimes, this had to be substantially departed from to keep work going. As a result provision of some of the community facilities were delayed and a second tower block was allowed.



The resident’s organisation WDCO have been in negotiation with the other partners for almost a year now over a new masterplan. Some elements may include -

# Opening the southside of some blocks to enhance views and light

# Many more retail units along the northside of Seven Sisters Road

# Changes to the phasing of redevelopment



Once the parties have internally finalised a draft new masterplan, it will be subject to public consultation next year.



Construction is now up to it’s full height on the “3 Ps” site which will be 100% social housing. The second site to be fully completed, Woodberry Grove North was handed over on schedule earlier in the year and residents have moved in, while the third block, Horston and Sherwood, is due to complete within two months.



2nd Playstreet



A 2nd playstreet was recently launched by residents of Heron Drive on the Myddleton Grange estate. The council has been enabling these.




The Park Theatre



We were pleased to support the opening night of this excellent new venture in Clifton Terrace, just north of the train and tube station. Check out http://parktheatre.co.uk/



Ward Forum



Our fourth ward forum is scheduled for 17th July, and suggestions for agenda items are welcome. Amongst other issues, the last meeting discussed the new funding that has been awarded to the Manor House Development Trust to address home insulation and fuel poverty in the ward, and plans for a Blackstock Road festival.



Five pledges



When we stood for election in 2010, we made five main pledges –



1. Complete the refurbishment of King's Crescent Estate and create new homes on the Alexandra National House site – see above for Kings Crescent. Residents have moved into the redeveloped ANH site delivering 70% new council homes.



2. Deliver a new youth centre on Woodberry Down – The Edge opened late last year.



3. Open a police base on Blackstock Road – the base opened 3 years ago. Whether it will survive Boris Johnson’s cuts in police funding remains a concern.



4. Implement a cycle route through the ward – the route runs from the western gate to Finsbury Park through the ward entering Clissold Park at the White House gate, and eventually connects to the Olympic Park.



5. Fight for a cleaner and safer Finsbury Park – the three boroughs signed up to the Finsbury Park Accord last year. Feryal represents us on a working party to oversee implementation. As above, the SPD is due for public consultation next month.



Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 2013 councillors report

Councillors Report – May 2013




Ward Boundaries



The Local Government Boundary Commission have confirmed their final decisions in respect of Hackney which can be found here LGBCE - Hackney FER



As you can see they have maintained their initial position to create two new two member wards. One is to be called Brownswood but only west of Green Lanes and Portland Rise. The areas east of these are to go into a new two member ward called Woodberry Down, which also takes in areas further east.



The only change in the final stage was to take all properties accessed from Portland Rise into the new Woodberry Down one, rather than only those on the eastern side of the street as per the previous proposal.



Kings Crescent regeneration



The planning application for the detailed design of the north side of the estate is now live. Go here and search for 2013/1128. It includes both the final stages of refurbishment of the existing blocks, and substantial new build, including the conversion of the rows of garages to flats, addressing one of the original design flaws.



We hope to get it to a planning committee in the summer, and to start work in the late autumn. It will achieve 101 refurbished flats for current residents, 107 new affordable units (79 for rent, 28 for shared ownership), and 155 new units for private sale. It includes provision in the courtyard of Therfield Court for growing plots to continue the successful gardening project.



The second stage of the refurbishment is almost complete. New windows are being installed at Therfield, Datchworth and Theobalds courts. Teething problems with the fobs and door entry systems are being sorted out but on the whole residents report feeling a lot safer.



We are also proposing to install a new and more accessible temporary community centre, which can later be reused elsewhere.



Manor House Area Action Plan



Fairview Homes held a recent consultation on their proposals to develop the UNITE /T&GWU building on Green Lanes. They want to develop 100 homes of which approx 30% will be affordable. Heights vary from 4 to 9 storeys. They now seem prepared to guarantee a publicly accessible route though the development to the New River path.



Finsbury Park



The London Borough of Islington, supported by Hackney and Haringey, is leading on the preparation of the Finsbury Park Supplementary Planning Document.



This draft SPD summarises the main planning policies that should be addressed by future development proposals, planning and design issues particular to the area, and some of the key information that an applicant should include in any future planning application. The recommendations try to reflect the relevant policies from each of the three authorities’ Development Plans and the London Plan to provide a more unified vision for the continuing regeneration of Finsbury Park Town Centre. The SPD results from the Finsbury Park Accord agreed by the three boroughs in June 2012.



The draft is scheduled to go to Hackney’s June Cabinet for approval to consult for an initial 6 weeks. The area covered has expanded to cover all of Blackstock as far south as Highbury Vale police station and the petrol station site on Seven Sisters Road.

Woodberry Down regeneration

Construction is now up to almost it’s full height on the “3 Ps” site which will be 100% social housing. The second site to be fully completed, Woodberry Grove North was handed over on schedule earlier in the year and residents have moved in. The third block, Horston and Sherwood, is due to complete within two months.



The new Woodberry Grove North Park was formally opened on Saturday 6th April, as was The Edge youth centre.

The London Wildlife Trust are developing proposals to link up both reservoirs, with the East Reservoir being maintained as a potential drinking supply and a wetlands centre for birds. Their aim was to refurbish the listed pump house as a café/interpretation centre, provide controlled access around both reservoirs, and install a floating board walk in the East. The Heritage Lottery have provided £700K of development funds




Building Lives Academy



Within all of the regeneration schemes we run, we try to get as much local labour used as possible. This new project provides training and mentoring for Hackney young people to help ensure they are ready for these opportunities. More here on YouTube.



Ward Forum



We held our third ward forum this month. These open meetings are opportunities to discuss issues that affect the ward with members of the public. Amongst other issues, we discussed the new funding that has been awarded to the Manor House Development Trust to address home insulation and fuel poverty in the ward, and plans for a Blackstock Road festival.



Police numbers



Sign our petition against the reduction in police numbers More Police for Hackney thru the council website.





Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April update

Councillors Report – April 2013




2014 Elections



The government is consulting on whether to move the council and European elections due in the spring and summer of 2014. It looks likely that both will be on 22nd May.



Parkwood School



Two candidates have now been shortlisted for Head following a second round of advertising. Interviews are scheduled for 17th April.



Kings Crescent regeneration



Residents discussed the detailed design of the north side of the estate in late March. This will see the conversion of the rows of garages along the northside to flats, addressing one of the original design flaws. Plans are now available.



We hope to get it to a planning committee in the summer, and to start work in the late autumn. It will achieve 101 refurbished flats for current residents, 107 new affordable units (79 for rent, 28 for shared ownership), and 155 new units for private sale



The second stage of the refurbishment is almost complete. New windows are also being installed at Therfield Court, with Datchworth and Theobalds to follow shortly. Teething problems with the fob and door entry systems are being sorted out.



We successfully bid for £30k with £78k of council funding, from a GLA initiative to create “pocket parks” in the green spaces along Queens Drive.



Manor House Area Action Plan



We have met with residents affected by the proposal to redevelop the UNITE /T&GWU building on Green Lanes.



Finsbury Park



As previously reported Hackney, Islington and Haringey council have agreed a programme of joint working around Finsbury Park town centre including producing a supplementary planning document for it to guide future development. (Pictured)



Staff from around the council joined colleagues from Islington to spruce up Blackstock Road as part of this year's Capital Spring Clean Week. This year the team tackled a variety of issues to help improve highstreets and chose to work on a road on Hackney's border as part of a new partnership with Islington Council. We've recently signed new agreements with both Islington and Haringey to make sure that we provide more consistent services in neighbourhoods which border with other authorities.



As well as carrying out street cleansing activities, officers cleared tagging on a resident's wall, removed some fly-tipped builders' waste from a garden and scraped off more than 300 stickers which had been plastered on shopfronts.



Officers also answered questions from residents and businesses about time banded collections and trade waste agreements. The commercial waste team spoke to 25 businesses who were not signed up to have their trade waste collected by the council. By law all businesses must have an agreement with an authorised carrier for the safe disposal of their waste. Businesses do not have to use the council's service, but those without a trade waste agreement at all can face unlimited fines.



At an EGM on 25th March, Finfuture agreed to change it’s name to the Finsbury Park Trust to try to better reflect it’s aims and activities, first proposed by Brian.



Woodberry Down regeneration



Construction is now up to 4 storeys on the “3 Ps” site. This will be 100% social housing.



We are investigating reports from residents on the Old School Site of problems with the new heating systems and higher than expected bills.



The new Woodberry Grove North Park is to be formally opened at 12.30pm on Saturday 6th April, with the youth club hopefully to follow at 4pm - see here.



Transfer of public health



On 1st April responsibility for public health returned to local authorities. This includes -

• School medical inspections, and children’s public health (initially 5–19)

• Sexual health advice and clinics

• Seasonal mortality initiatives

• Drug, alcohol and tobacco misuse prevention

• Community obesity programmes

Funding of approx £29m is initially provided but may quickly reduce.



Community safety/policing



The most recent CAP meeting saw the introduction of yet another new sergeant, Richard Berns. The local priorities remained much the same.



Benefit changes



The 1st April sees the introduction of significant changes. Anybody except pensioners will now pay at least 15% of their council tax. Housing benefit will be capped, and reduced if residents are judged to be “underoccupying”. Approx 1000 to 1500 households are estimated affected by the former and 4000 households by the latter. While the council is

 publicising the changes

 co-ordinating with advice agencies and other partners

 helping those who wish to move where we can

 using our (very limited) discretionary hardship funding

there can be no doubt that these will have a major detrimental impact.





Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci

Friday, March 22, 2013

New 103 bed hostel application - 350-356 Seven Sisters Road

Application Number: 2013/0807
Applicant: Topclass Investments Limited


Date Received: 05/03/2013
Validation Date: 12/03/2013
Comment by 2nd April 2013

Agent: Nicholas Taylor and Associates Tel: 02079288955

Development Case Officer: Marie Joseph

Description: Demolition of central hostel building at 352 and 354 Seven Sisters Road and erection of part 5, part 3 and part 2 storey building (plus basement) to accomodate a 103 room hostel with 24 hour opening, associated landscaping works to front and rear, car and cycle parking, together with the refurbishment of 350 and 356 Seven Sisters Road.

http://apps.hackney.gov.uk/servapps/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/Generic/StdDetails.aspx?PT=Planning%20Applications%20On-Line&TYPE=PL/PlanningPK.xml&PARAM0=192521&XSLT=/servapps/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/Hackney/xslt/PL/PLDetails.xslt&FT=Planning%20Application%20Details&PUBLIC=Y&XMLSIDE=/servapps/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/Hackney/Menus/PL.xml&DAURI=PLANNING

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our March report



Councillors Report – March 2013


Council Budget 2013/14


At the meeting on 27th of February, we set the budget for the year ahead. Despite substantial reductions in government grant, we were able to freeze the council tax for a record 8th year. The figures show how unequal this has been with Hackney losing £318 per head of grant while Dorset loses £39 and Surrey £41.


Despite every thing we were still able to free up resources for new/additional services

 £0.250million towards policing the night time economy

 an additional £1.4m for Looked After Children

 £900k extra to the waste disposal authority

 £150k towards a new service for children of “overstayers”

 £1.8m more towards adult social care

In addition we maintained an extra £2.1m in cleansing and post Olympics cultural development, on a one-off basis.

The council’s revenue spending for the previous year came in at 0.2% under budget.

Bizarrely and apparently without irony the main Tory proposal was to cut spending on infrastructure and cleansing, to add to “the hardship fund to assist those residents losing council tax and other benefits as a result of the introduction of the government’s welfare reforms”. The Liberal Democrat proposal was a more limited version of this.


Parkwood School

A second advert for a new Headteacher should appear on the 8th March. The governors hope to interview and appoint in mid April. However there is a severe national shortage of suitable candidates so the timetable allows for a further round.

Kings Crescent regeneration

With the masterplan having been approved in September, the detailed design of the north side of the estate has been worked up. It will see the estate rebuilt in phases, each consisting of new build and refurbishment of existing stock so that the eventual design is tenure-blind. One interesting feature will see the conversion of the rows of garages along much of the northside to flats. This was one of the original design flaws leaving substantial areas with no natural surveillance or sense of ownership.

We hope to get it to a planning committee in the summer, and to start work in the late autumn. It will achieve

• 101 refurbished flats for current residents

• 107 new affordable units (79 for rent, 28 for shared ownership)

• 155 new units for private sale

The second stage of the refurbishment which included replacement of the electrical mains, all lifts, the installation of two tier door entry systems, and new roofs and windows for Weston and Lemsford, is almost complete. New windows are also being installed at Therfield Court, with Datchworth and Theobalds to follow shortly.

We have bid for £30k – and £78k of council funding - from a GLA initiative to create “pocket parks” from the current green spaces along Queens Drive.

Manor House Area Action Plan

We are meeting with residents affected by the proposal to redevelop the UNITE /T&GWU building on Green Lanes..

Finfuture/ the Finsbury Park Trust

At an EGM on 25th March, Finfuture is due to change it’s name to the Finsbury Park Trust to try to better reflect it’s aims and activities, first proposed by Brian.

As previously reported Hackney, Islington and Haringey council have agreed to work together on a joint supplementary planning document for Finsbury Park town centre which includes parts of Blackstock and Seven Sisters Roads. The aim is to guide future development of the area to support economic, social and physical regeneration.

Joint work has already taken place between the 3 boroughs on the removal of estate agent boards, auditing street clutter on borough and TfL roads, and engaging business and other stake holders. “Capital Clean Up” on 11-17th March will see further work but the area is already cleansed to a high level so any ideas would be welcome. The Accord is also exploring the idea of re-launching a Blackstock road festival. Hackney Council is leading on this and would welcome resident involvement.

Woodberry Down regeneration

Construction has begun on the “3 Ps” site. This will be 100% social housing.

The new youth club is to formally launched on the 6th April, with the adjacent Woodberry Grove North Park hopefully to follow on 25th April.

Secondary school admissions

1 March was national offer day, for pupils applying to secondary school this September. 67% of those who opted for a Hackney school have been offered a place at their first choice school. 84.5% have been offered either their first or second choice.

Community safety/policing

The March full council passed a Labour motion criticising the Mayor of London’s policing plan which will see officers in Hackney reduced from 770 in 2010 to 685 in 2015. It will also reduce the fixed element of SNTs to 1 sergeant, 1 PC and 1 PCSO.

Locally we continue to work closely with the police. For example “Operation Haka” is a joint long-term operation aimed at targeting gang-related criminality in Hackney. A total of 25 search warrants were executed and 14 people arrested, during dawn raids on the 27th of February 2013. These were predominantly in the Hoxton area of Hackney but with other addresses in Hackney and surrounding boroughs involved.



Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci

Monday, February 04, 2013

January/February update

Councillors Report – January 2013




Ward boundaries



The Local Government Boundary Commission have announced a third round of consultation on boundaries within Hackney. Although their proposals for Brownswood and Woodberry Down wards remain the same, it will cause a further delay to reorganisations and selections. Details can be found here -

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/greater-london/hackney-fer



Parkwood School



The advert for a new Headteacher appeared on the 18th January. The governors hope to interview and appoint in mid February. However there is a severe national shortage of suitable candidates so the timetable allows for further rounds if necessary.



Kings Crescent regeneration



The second stage of the refurbishment which includes replacement of the electrical mains, all lifts, the installation of two tier door entry systems, and new roofs and windows for Weston and Lemsford, is almost complete.



Although all the door entry systems are now installed, the state of the electrical mains was worse than expected and has delayed some being turned on. All should be operative within the month. In addition new windows are currently being installed at Therfield Court, with Datchworth and Theobalds to follow shortly.



With the masterplan having been approved in September, work has started on the detailed design of the north side of the estate. It will see the estate rebuilt in phases, each consisting of new build and refurbishment of the existing stock so that the eventual design is tenure-blind.



An apple orchard is being created in one of the triangular spaces on Queens Drive. Planting is from 9am on Thursday 31st January .



Manor House Area Action Plan



We’ve been approached by developers looking at two key sites. The first is the UNITE /T&GWU building on Green Lanes. There they propose a 6/7 storey mainly residential development on the northern two thirds of the site. The southern third will be landscaped as a small park offering access through to the New River and reservoirs.



The second is 420-424 Seven Sisters Road, the south western corner of the Manor House junction. There they’re proposing a 7 storey and basement 200 room hotel. This also accords with the vision in the AAP which is due for adoption this month.



Alexandra National House



The scheme is finally almost complete with council tenants due to move back in January and February. Private sale units will also be occupied from February.



It is well behind schedule and we are pursuing the developer for substantial compensation.

Woodberry Down regeneration

Work on the Old School Site is almost complete with the first shops transferring from the old parade to the base of the tower. Enabling works to allow us to begin building Phase 2 on the ‘3Ps’ site are well advanced.



The first residents have moved into brand new homes in Woodberry Down North and feedback has been very positive. Future arrangements for street naming, and the provision of school places, are among issues being raised by residents.



Community safety/policing



The new borough commander proposes a different approach to neighbouring policing. He has stated that fixed SNT membership will be reduced to 1 sergeant and 2 PCs. All other PCs and PCSOs will be allocated by a Neighbourhood Inspector to wherever they judge is most needed. He argues that by the elimination of some specialist teams and the reallocation of admin, more overall resources will go into community policing.



At the recent CAP meeting however, the outgoing Inspector thought that PCSOs would remain with SNTs. This needs to be clarified. Local priorities continue to ASB, prostitution and burglary.



A consultation on the wider Mayor of London’s policing plan was arranged for 6pm on 24 January at Hackney Assembly Halls.



Woodberry Down Youth Hub

The new hub is finally open and invites to tours of the facility were circulated, with a formal launch in February. A long-term name for the facility still needs to be found. The youth service have also committed to continuing provision on Myddleton Grange.



GCSE results



Provisional results have been released for GCSE performance and Hackney schools are again above the national average. Despite the much publicised fiasco over marking 59.6% of children in Hackney schools achieved 5 A*-C including English and Maths last year (the national average was 58.4%). In Ofsted terms 7 out of our 12 schools are now good or outstanding with no schools inadequate. More information can be found through the hackney website which has published our annual review of schools: http://mginternet.hackney.gov.uk/documents/s27575/standardsdatadec12.pdf



Finsbury Park railway bridges



The bridges at Finsbury Park have been an eyesore for many years. The recent treatment of the Hackney Central bridge shows how they can be transformed.

New art work breathes life into Hackney Central Bridge
Eastlondonlines

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Public Consultation - Green Lanes Road Safety Scheme


The Council are proposing changes to the junction of Gloucester Drive and Portland Rise with Green Lanes that will provide a safer, accessible, more user-friendly and attractive street environment for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.


The proposals include:

• The removal of the segregated turning lane between Portland Rise and Gloucester Drive.
Recent traffic surveys have shown only a very small number of vehicles use this facility
• Making Portland Rise two-way at the junction with Green Lanes to improve access options for local residents and cyclists
• Allowing contra-flow cycling on Gloucester
Drive to improve access for cyclists
• Providing an extended area of pavement at the junction with new street trees. This will result in the loss of one parking space along the northern side of Portland Rise, nears its junction with Green Lanes.
• The construction of speed tables at the junction of Green Lanes with both Gloucester Drive and Portland Rise. This will improve road safety by reducing vehicle speeds and also allow easier pedestrian access.
• Road marking changes on Green Lanes to encourage lane discipline.

The public consultation on these proposals is open until 14th December.
If you would like to contribute your views on the changes, all the details are available here.
The consultation document and questionnaire for return are here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November update

Parkwood School


Pat Cardis the Headteacher has finally decided to retire after an extraordinary 43 years of service at the school. Pat started at the school as a newly qualified teacher on its opening day in 1969, became deputy head in the 1990’s and head in 2000. The governors which include Brian and Oli, now have the task of finding a successor.

Under her leadership the school has become the best in Hackney and nationally outstanding. Last year 100% of 11 years olds reached the required standard in English and 95% in maths. This year it was 100% in maths and 96% for English. Parkwood’s intake tends to be more deprived than even the Hackney average with one of the highest level of special educational needs. One of the most encouraging developments this year is the more than doubling of the level of development during the early years stage.

With the reopening of the Alexandra National House and the regeneration of Kings Crescent moving forward, we need to begin a debate about how best to provide new primary places in the area. -

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October report

Kings crescent masterplan approved
The masterplan for the regeneration of the estate was approved unanimously at the planning committee on 12th September - Planning applications . It will see the estate rebuilt in probably 4 phases, each consisting of new build and refurbishment of the existing stock so that the eventual design is tenure-blind. The architects for the first two phases and the landscapers for the whole of the development have now been appointed. At the conclusion it will provide 274 (36%) units for social rent, 117 (15%) for shared ownership and 374 (49%) for private sale. Respectively 26%, 39%, 23% and 11% will consist of one to four bedrooms. A new community centre, play facilities, shops and café are proposed. The next stage in engagement is via a street party from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday 13th October. Consultation is now much wider then the estate. The second stage of the refurbishment which includes replacement of the electrical mains, all lifts, the installation of two tier door entry systems, and new roofs and windows for Weston and Lemsford, is almost complete. All the new doors are installed but delays with the electrics meant some are only now being activated.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Hackney Play Streets

A groundbreaking scheme has just started in Hackney that will close selected streets to through traffic, turning them into “play streets”.

Hackney has become the first London
borough to introduce Temporary Play Street Orders (TPSOs) as a one-year pilot project.
TPSOs which allows parents to apply to close their street for a few hours per week or month for children to play safely outside.

The scheme was initiated following an approach to the council by resident and mum of three
Claudia Draper who said 'hopefully playing out in the street will now be a normal part of kids' lives as well as being something that brings the community closer together'.

Oldfied Road
in Stoke Newington closed for the first time on 9th September allowing 70 children to play together and older residents to meet and chat.
Residents of play streets can still drive on closing days and are guided by volunteer stewards stationed at the ends of the street.

The scheme is open to any residential road where there is sufficient support for the idea.
If you wish to apply for a TPSO you will first need to consult with neighbours before submitting an application. Major routes or streets with a bus route are unlikely to be suitable.

To find out more about this innovative project contact Gavin Best at Hackney Council or call 020 8356 3023.
The scheme has the support of the Hackney Play Association who has more information on children's play in the borough on their website.

August Update

GCSE results- You’ll have heard that nationally results are down for the first time, but Hackney bucked the trend big time. This year, 60.5% of students achieved five good GCSEs including English and Maths – a 3.5% increase on last year and our best ever results. Ten years ago the number of pupils getting five good GCSEs was 31 per cent.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

New Ward Boundaries?

New ward boundaries? The Local Government Boundary Commission have now published their draft proposals. Follow this link http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/greater-london/hackney-fer to see them and comment. Consultation closes on 24th September Essentially they propose a two member Brownswood consisting of parts to the west of Green Lanes and Portland Rise. And a two member Woodberry Down ward consisting of that estate with Portland Rise and Amwell Court.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

July update

Councillors Report – July 2012 Hackney’s changing … ... at an unprecedented rate. Shoreditch as well as being host to a vibrant night life, is the biggest hub in the country for IT and creative industries. New clubs and housing have spread up through Hoxton and Haggerston towards Dalston, which is now becoming fashionable in itself. The far east of the borough has been changed completely by the Olympic park and development at Stratford. Locally the completion of Woodberry Down and Kings Crescent estates will transform large parts of the ward. But reputation tends to lag behind reality. The Radio 1 Hackney Weekend on 23rd and 24th June was organised by the BBC and the council, to help transform some of those attitudes. It was the BBC’s biggest event of the summer of 2012, and Hackney’s biggest event ever. About a third of the free 100,000 tickets went to local residents. The legacy of the event goes beyond this weekend and the performances. The Radio 1 Academy ran from 1-22nd June at the Hackney Picturehouse offering workshops and practical experience on fashion, music, film, radio, digital communications, journalism, comedy and business. More than 7,000 young people have been though the Academy, more than half of them from Hackney.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brownswood Ward Forum: Your ward, your say


The Music Room, Parkwood School
Queens Drive
London N4 2HQ
  
Meet your local councillors, raise local issues and explore opportunities to improve our area!
Your local Ward Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci warmly invite you to the first Brownswood Ward Forum.
At this first meeting we will be discussing:
§        
Kings Crescent
redevelopment plans
§         Environmental projects in our ward
We’d also like to hear from you about some of the small things we could do together to help improve our local area and the best way of shaping future forum meetings.  Brownswood Ward residents are all welcome, we would be grateful if you could also publicise this in your community and your organisation

Email us on Brownswood@hackney.gov.uk

Your ward, your say!

Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci