Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Our October update

Boundary Reviews

There are two reviews going on at the moment which will affect us. The parliamentary review changes the shape of the Hackney North constituency, stretching it east to Hackney Wick and taking in a Haringey ward. Separately the local government boundary commission is undertaking a review of four London authorities which could see the number of councillors, number of wards and ward boundaries changed. They could also revive two member wards.

£11.5 refurbishment of Kings Crescent Estate begins

Following approval at cabinet on cabinet 18th July, the second stage of the refurbishment has begun. This includes replacement of the lateral mains and corridor lighting, all lifts and then installation of two tier door entry systems. This stage also includes new roofs and windows for Weston and Lemsford Courts. The second stage works include energy efficiency works to all blocks, and retrofitting parts of Datchworth, Theobalds and Bramfield.

The masterplan for the estate has been amended following a further consultation with residents. Officers still hope to submit an outline planning application this autumn. An interesting last minute proposal from the architects to install a mixture of green roofs and additional flats on top of the current blocks, met with a sceptical response from some residents with experience of flat roofs leaking.

Woodberry Down regeneration – new award

The Woodberry Down development has won “best British social housing development” at the National British Homes Awards ceremony on 24th September. Berkeley Homes also won the overall homebuilder of the year award.

As reported previously, the first tenants moved into brand new homes in “Reservoir Apartments” and Watersreach” from May 2011. The third block (and first for shared ownership) “Aqua Apartments” was handed over in September. And the next “Parkway” is back on schedule for November this year. The tower block is now up to it’s full height and the tower crane was removed during weekend of 24th September. Berkleys are now proposing a further tower block on the site. A consultation is taking place in the Redmond Community Centre on the day of our branch meeting.

At 268 Green Lanes the rear block is almost complete and the front block on schedule. Peak & Petherton have been demolished and the site is being cleared.

The council is still in discussions with the retailers and WDCO, to help explore the best options for the local shops. Genesis Housing are working with Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau to provide a renewed welfare benefits and debt advice on the estate.

Community safety and policing

As a result of Mayor Johnson's cuts to policing, there is to be a reduction in sergeant posts in SNTs across Hackney from 19 to 14. Ten wards, including Brownswood, will now have one covering both. Team strength, underneath sergeant level, should remain the same for the moment with 2 PC’s and 3 PCSO’s for each ward. Brownswood will be partnered with New River. This may have some advantages as it means we can have a co-ordinated approach to Woodberry Down, although of course the reduction in numbers is unwelcome. We queried the wider rationale behind this at the last CAP meeting.

Manor House Area Action Plan

Consultation on the proposed final document has begun and be found at

School results

Hackney’s school results continue to improve at an remarkable rate. Secondary results are above the national average for the second year, and primary results are expected to exceed them for the first time. Locally, Parkwood School outcomes at Key Stage 2 were (figures inside the tables are percentages)
Level 4+ English Mathematics Both
2008 2009 2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011
School 84 88 100 100 84 81 95 97 83 81 95 97
National average 81 80 80 79 79 79 72 72 73

Two levels of progress English Mathematics
2008 2009 2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011
School 88 96 100 88 92 100
National average 82 82 84 78 81 83

New Youth Club

The application for the new Parkside Youth Centre is going to the planning committee this Wednesday. Over £400K is being invested in the refurbishment. Details here -;jsessionid=E652CAA9E012B315E39447CAF2F3279A?action=show&appType=Planning&appNumber=2011/2030

Alexandra National

Construction is on schedule with the frames of the villa blocks fronting SSR almost complete. It should eventually provide -
Tenure 1B 2B 3B 4B Total homes
Council rent 18 26 19 4 67
Private sale/shared ownership 18 11 9 4 42


We face a budget gap of approx £25 million for 2012/13, made up of £8m of inflationary pressures and £17m of further reductions in government grants. We’ve found over £5m of efficiencies in the General Fund already and will be agreeing other measures at future group meeting. The announcement by the government that they are again offering a grant to freeze the council tax, probably defuses that issue.

The Park Theatre

There hasn't been much publicity on our side of the borough boundary, but there is new theatre opening next year just above the northern entrance/exit to Finsbury Park station. Brian recently toured the site to see the progress being made. More details here - Park will be a professional theatre housing an 200 seat main house, a 90 seat studio theatre and all day cafe bar (with weekend late license) as well as ancillary facilities.

Councillors Brian Bell, Oli de Botton and Feryal Demirci