Tuesday, February 02, 2010

February report

£27 million extra for Woodberry Down regeneration

The government’s Homes and Communities Agency has approved an extra £27m to fund affordable housing on Woodberry Down. This will see 187 social rented and 60 shared ownership homes built on two sites. One is next to the new secondary school and known as Woodberry Grove North. The other is the cleared site just south of the row of shops on Green Lanes, which is in Brownswood. Work is set to begin in March 2010, with some complete by 2012.

The phasing plan for the estate has been varied to mean that Peak and Petherton houses will now be the next to be decanted and demolished. They may be followed by Nichol and Needwood. Spring Park Drive will remain as it is for the next 4 years.

We need to work to minimise the number of double decants, to make sure any interim accommodation is of the highest standard, and that the needs of vulnerable residents are carefully taken into account at each stage.

Building work on the Old School Site is progressing well with the cores of both Block F (33 homes for social rent) and Block G (84 for social rent) finished and the concrete structure being completed. Foundations for Block E (46 shared ownership) have been laid and the cores are going up. Construction of the new secondary school remains on schedule.

Kings Crescent Estate

Refurbishments are now largely complete in Kelshall, Therfield, Bramfield, Theobalds and soon to start in Datchworth. Tenants are getting new kitchens and bathrooms, together with rewiring and associated improvements. On some of the southern side, new balconies are to be constructed, flats extended and door entry sytems installed.

One major issue was the occupation of the podium at Lemsford Court by squatters during 6th November. We successfully pressed for an eviction as soon as possible, and they were gone again by the start of December. Many residents felt that a Lib Dem leaflet a week before the occupation was one of the things that attracted them to the block. They also got support from the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate.

The planning application for the refurbishment of the retained part of Lemsford went in in December. It provides for the “erection of a single storey front/side extension at ground floor level to provide a secure entrance, cycle store and lifts; installation of a new metal pitched roof; installation of new UPVC windows and doors; and a new glazing to walkways on the north elevation”.

The application for Weston and Datchworth east went in this week. It proposes “the provision of a new roof to Datchworth Court and Weston Court and replacement of existing windows in Weston Court with new UPVC windows”.

Neighbourhood housing management

The current contracts all come up for renewal in the next 18 months.

Clissold Park and House

The refurbishment of the park and house has begun with the opening of the temporary cafĂ©, a ranger’s office and tennis club offices. A contractor’s compound is being created to the west of the paddling pool. Further information is available on - http://www.hackney.gov.uk/clissold-restoration-project.htm

Council meeting

We used our questions at last Wednesday’s council meeting to highlight the new resources for Woodberry Down and Alexandra National, for the home energy saving programme, and to press for enhanced community safety measures on our estates.

Manor House Area Action Plan

The council is preparing a masterplan for the area surrounding the station, to attempt to complement the regeneration of the estate. Initial public consultation events take place at Woodberry Down Primary on 9th February and at the West Reservoir on 11th February (both 6-8pm) - http://www.hackney.gov.uk/manor-house-aap.htm

Portland Rise playground

I had previously bid for funding for new play equipment as part of a government pathfinder project. Carefully designed climbing, balancing and water features are proposed. Planning permission is being considered on the 3rd of February.

Stoke Newington Municipal Buildings

The successfully refurbished Town and Assembly Halls reopened this month – some images here http://www.n16mag.com/news/latest-news/91-assembly-rooms-exclusive.html or http://londonist.com/2010/01/a_tour_of_stoke_newington_town_hall.php

Hackney Service Centre

The new building behind Hackney Town Hall which will now be the main point of call for most council services, also opened this week. It was an investment in public service entirely opposed by the Hackney Tories.

Alexandra National House

The government have also approved approx £10 million in total funding, to rebuild Alex Nat. This was under a programme termed Local Authority New Build and will provide 67 units of council housing.

In both Rounds 1 and 2, the council was the most successful in London and second nationally. Hackney secured £16.2 million funding, or 23% of the total in London.

Councillor Brian Bell