Sunday, June 25, 2006

Brownswood Councillors

June ends, work continues

Stoke Newington Neighbourhood Forum

The first meeting of the new forum is on the 20th July. It’s made up of the five wards in the northwest of the borough and is the main mechanism for consultation on how corporate policies will affect individual parts of Hackney. It also holds the Cabinet accountable, and can take up local issues and refer them to it or other bodies. Incredibly during the last four years it didn’t meet in Brownswood even once – something we intend to change.

As well as the councillors, each can co-opt local people and we are looking for at least one from Brownswood. They need to have a record in the community, e.g. in a TA, neighbourhood watch, school, but mostly just be prepared to make a constructive contribution towards the future. Suggestions would be very welcome.

Crime and Community Safety

The Safer Communities partnership held it’s annual conference at the West Reservoir Centre in Brownswood, on Thursday 8th June. The keynote speaker was Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. He had made a point of attending the Hackney partnership’s conference as we were among the top three boroughs in London for crime reduction.

Overall crime in Hackney fell 6.5% in 2004/5.
Overall crime in Hackney fell 5.1% in 2005/6.
Youth crime (either as victims or perpetrators) fell 27% last year.

We are attending a June 27th meeting on issues concerning Blackstock Road which is being convened by FinFuture’s Safer Town Centres project, and will report back on matters arising.

We are also attending the Community Advisory Panel for the ward-based police Safer Neighbourhood Team on Wednesday 5th July.


Consultation on the review of parking controls in the area has begun. The options include keeping the current zones but adjusting the details, amalgamating 3 zones into one and introducing additional controls on Arsenal match days. (I’m sure this will be uncontroversial, BB)

Children and Young People

Brian and Feryat are both members of the Children and Young Persons Scrutiny Commission. It has agreed two major reviews for the coming year -
Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)
Child protection (Safeguarding)

In addition it will closely monitor -
Building Schools for the future – the major rebuilding programme for the whole of the secondary estate
Attendance and exclusion
The annual Children’s’ Plan and the Learning Trust Plan/contract


Darren is to sit on the steering group for the new Local Development Framework and attended his first meeting on 9th June.

The current plan is 11 years old and in urgent need of replacement. The Core Strategy, the heart of the plan which sets out how the community strategy is to be delivered in spatial terms, is to be approved by Council in September. All members have been invited to special briefing sessions to review the work to date in July. Two special Labour Groups on the subject have been scheduled.

Lakeside, Portland Rise and St Johns Court

A visit to all 3 estates to look at possible medium sized improvements works has been organised for Monday 17th July.

Amwell Court

Because of historic boundary issues, Amwell Court is managed from the Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Office, rather than Stoke Newington like the 3 above. A permanent estate manager has started on the 19/06/2006 and an estate walkabout has now been confirmed for 26th June. There are extensive decent homes work going on, with new kitchens, bathrooms and toilets being installed at present. This work is expected to continue for approximately three months.

Woodberry Down

Darren and Brian attended the Estate Development Committee (EDC) on 15th June. There continues to be much debate over the fate of leaseholders on the estate - particularly in terms of compensation for those that are being moved out of the ‘kick-start sites’. Darren spoke against a motion for the EDC to take up an offer of informal advice on the stock transfer of the whole estate, which in our view would have led to a conflict of interests.

All three ward councillors attended the Woodberry Down fun day on June 17th at Rowley Gardens where they were able to meet the WD council regeneration team, developers and planners for the kick-start sites as well as a number of community groups and residents.

Alexandra National

Development partners for Alexandra National are being sought in tandem with four other medium sized estates. The tenders are now out, to be returned and assessed early in the autumn.

Kings Crescent

Brian now chairs the steering group of residents and officers overseeing the regeneration of the estate. The detailed plans will hopefully be the subject of a presentation to future neighbourhood and local meetings. The residents are broadly supportive of the new direction, and basic works including the installation of individual heating are progressing well. It was hoped to tender for development partners at the same time as Alex Nat but a legal challenge from the remnants of the old regime have delayed this for approximately a month.


All ward councillors have now confirmed the times and venues of their surgeries.

Date: 1st Saturday of each month
Start:11:00 am End:12.30 pm
Venue: Amwell Court Community Hall
Address: Green Lanes, London N4

Date: 3rd Wednesday of each month
Start:6.30pm End:7.30pm
Venue: Kings Crescent Community Hall
Address: Off Green Lanes, London N4

Date: 1st Friday of each month
Start:9.00am End:10.00am
Venue: Robin Redmond Resource Centre
Address: 440 Seven Sisters Road Woodberry Down Estate London N4

We are also looking for a venue in the north-west corner of the ward (area of street properties) where we can hold a fourth surgery, and will look to hold this towards the end of each month.


We have set up a blogspot as a tool to communicate to the public what we are doing as ward councillors. The plan is to use the site in much the same way as the three councillors in Hoxton -

Future elections

It’s critical we keep up the contact and goodwill - and all the polling data - achieved by so much effort during the recent elections. The first step is the “thank you” letter to our supporters which Jamie Carswell is preparing. It’s also vital that we keep up the momentum by going back to see them regularly and during each of the lower profile elections to come in the next few years.


Finally, an excerpt from a Hackney Tory website.

“Unfortunately, there remains a tiny swatch of north east London which remains annoyingly red. Haringey to Islington to our umble manor of Hackney, remained solid red. And in Hackney we had the shock of losing Andrew Boff’s seat in Queensbridge, Shoreditch. You have to know Andrew and the area to know what good he’s done here. It was stomach-churning to stand in a room with 300plus jeering socialists as the result was read out.

Up until that point, I hadn’t actually realised just what the Hackney Labour machine is. There are literally hundreds of them. I am sure most of them are reasonable human beings, but there is a far larger proportion than is typical of the average cross-section who are shiny suited, overweight, red-faced with that impregnable middle-class smugness to which I’m allergic.

I’m also willing to bet that not one of them has ever stepped foot on a council estate”

Thank God they’re not bitter!

Brian Bell, Feryat Demirci and Darren Parker
Brownswood Ward

Brownswood Councillors

Brownswood Councillors

Borough Elections – Thursday 4th May 2006

The elections were a triumph for Labour in Hackney. We went in holding the mayoralty, holding 44 council seats, and most importantly holding Brownswood. We came out holding the mayoralty, holding 44 council seats, and most importantly holding Brownswood.

We also took the Tory Mayoral candidate’s seat in Queensbridge, so if it hadn’t been for the Greens stealing one in Clissold, we would have actually have come out with a larger Labour Group. Jules Pipe’s personal vote for Mayor increased, and overall turnout was up but particularly encouraging in the most keenly fought wards. There are no opposition seats in the south of the borough. It was easily among the best results in the country.

We also increased our majority in Brownswood. Our votes ranged from 977 to 808 while the nearest challenger was a Green on 561.

The magnificent result was down quite simply to hard work, both borough-wide and locally. The borough and constituency agents, Luke Akehurst and Jamie Carswell did a superb job in setting the overall direction and priorities.

Locally, the Labour Party branch ran a campaign that hadn’t been seen for years. We started last September, and were still dragging people in to vote at 10pm on Election Day. We would sincerely like to thank absolutely everyone who helped. There are far too many to list, but we and the branch owe an enormous debt to Peter Dacre and Robin Hewings for everything they did.

Local work

Despite the hectic round of inductions and AGMs, we have already begun work on local issues. We attended our first estate meeting, for Portland Rise and Amwell Court, on the Thursday following election. This has already been followed up with one site visit with another to be arranged. Feryat is taking the lead on these estates.

Darren is leading on the regeneration of Woodberry Down estate and attended his first EDC meeting on the Thursday following Annual Council.

Brian will be chairing the regeneration board for Kings Crescent and has already been actively improving conditions on the estate.

It appears that plans to redevelop the Alexandra National Estate are already well developed and we are due to be briefed on these within the next few days.

Surgery details are being confirmed and will be publicised shortly.

Thank you again to everyone who helped in the campaign.

Brian Bell, Feryat Demirci and Darren Parker