Monday, July 18, 2011

July update

Councillors Report – July 2011

Woodberry Down regeneration – new community centre opens

The new Redmond Community Centre is due to be opened on July 22nd by Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Department of Communities and Local Government. Its an impressive facility with stunning views over the New River Path and West Reservoir.

As reported previously, the first residents moved into brand new homes on the 12th of May 2011. The next block is complete and has been handed over to Genesis Homes, who will arrange for tenants to move in during July and August.

The frame of the 26 story tower block has now been completed with the cladding to up to Level 16. The cladding is anticipated to be completed by November this year.
The next block to be handed over will be the “Aqua Apartments”, and this will be handed over in August. Following this, both Parkway and Waterside Apartments are anticipated to be available for residents to move in from December.

Works at 268 Green Lanes are progressing well with the frame to Block B now up to roof level. Block A on Green Lanes commenced this month.

Demolition works at Phase 2 have commenced with asbestos strip, and the close down of all power to both blocks. Full works will commence soon and it is anticipated that both Peak & Petherton will be completely demolished by mid-September.

Parkwood School/Bikes across the borough

The recent Bikes across the Borough initiative was launched at Parkwood, Hackney’s best primary school. It followed our Olympic Cycle Path route from Finsbury Park through Clissold Park, Hackney Downs, and Well Street Common, with other schools joining the ride en route to the Olympic Park “viewtube”. More details here -

Kings Crescent Estate

The final round of demolition to the north-south part of Lemsford and the east-west axis of Weston is now complete.

The masterplan for the estate was consulted upon again with residents last month. We received comments back from the GLA which were supportive but queried the proportion of social housing and mix of unit sizes. It’s being amended to take account of both of these, and we hope to submit an outline planning application in the autumn.

The issue of capping leaseholder charges should finally be resolved at the cabinet meeting on 18th July. It’s proposed that the reduced retrofit programme and new windows and roofs will be capped at £10k while the real cost runs as high as £20.8k. The “immediate works” – door entry systems, corridor lighting and lateral mains, and lift replacement – are to be fully recharged.

St Johns Court Estate

Despite the substantial reduction in government grant for Decent Homes, we have lobbied hard and have been successful, in ensuring the tower block at St Johns was prioritised in this years programme.

Policing and community safety

Hackney Police are proposing significant changes to how Safer Neighbourhood Teams are organised. Currently each team is dedicated to policing one ward and is made up of 1 Sergeant, 2 police constables and 3 police community support officers. There will be fewer constables and PCSOs permanently allocated to each ward, while sergeants may manage more than one team. These proposals are a cut of a quarter in the number of experienced officers dedicated to neighbourhood policing.

Hackney provided extra funding originally to be one of the first boroughs to roll out the SNTs. Crime is at its lowest level for 12 years – 11,000 fewer offences committed a year compared to nine years ago, one of the largest falls in any London borough. There has also been an increase in the confidence of Hackney residents in local policing. Safer Neighbourhood Teams have played a crucial role in achieving these successes and Boris Johnson’s administration risks undermining these highly visible and effective teams. A resolution at the next council meeting will reiterate Hackney’s opposition to this reduction in frontline policing.

Our previous sergeant Keith McMaster has been moved to another role, with Louise Gill, previously in Chatham, replacing him. We’d like to record our thanks to Keith.

Alexandra National

Piling and ground-works have now begun. It should eventually provide -

Tenure 1B 2B 3B 4B Total homes
Council rent 18 26 19 4 67
Private sale 18 11 9 4 42

Council Budget

We go into the next year with possibly the strongest budgetary control position ever. The 2010/11 revenue outturn showed a £9.5m underspend as efficiency savings were delivered early. Contingencies and balances in both the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account went untouched, and can also be carried forward into future years.

Our capital programme spent £222m representing 98.8% of its budget last year, despite the very harsh winter weather disrupting some schemes.

We are now considering the 2012/13 budget. The next steps are a group awayday in September, and then agreeing an indicative budget at the October group meeting.

Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci