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

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