Sunday, 1 November 2015

Clean Up Clapton Day

Clean Up Clapton Day took place recently, there were recycling stalls, information stands, jet cleaning of pavements and a children's painting competition, entries from pupils of Millfields and Alfalah Primary Schools will be judged by the Speaker, Cllr Sade Etti, who attended the event, visiting each of the stalls. Following recent serious incidents, the event also included a number of anti-knife and anti-gun crime stands with police from Hackney Downs present to provide information and advice.

Community Payback are arranging clearance of overgrown foliage around disused toilets in Upper Clapton and Sporting Hackney, the leading football team in the borough, were present - they are currently seeking to move to a purpose-built ground and expand as a comnmunity club.

Cllr Michael Desmond, Chair of Clean Up Clapton said: "The area is improving, but we still need to make the environment better and deal with occasional criminal behaviour, which affects everyone. It's great to see new people moving here, new restaurants and better facilities. Clapton is really making progress, we have less to Clean Up each year!"

1A Downs Road

On Wednesday 4th November at 6.30pm the planning committee will be taking the application for the proposed residential and employment development at 1A Downs Rd (the petrol garage site).  If you have already submitted a written representation you will be able to speak - but please email the planning officers about this in advance so they know via The details are pasted below:

Demolition of all existing buildings and structures and the erection of four buildings of between 1 and 15 storeys in height; comprising a minimum of 3,202sqm of business use (Class B1), 517sqm flexible floorspace (Class A1, A3 and B1), 444sqm flexible floorspace (Class D1, D2, B1), a replacement waste facility (Sui Generis) and 79 residential units (Class C3), hard and soft landscaping; servicing facilities; parking; cycle parking; ancillary and enabling works, plant and equipment and associated development. 

Ward forum on Tuesday 3rd November - policing and schools

We have our ward forum on Tuesday 3rd November at 7pm at BSix College. At 7pm the local police will be present to deal with any crime/ASB issues.  I know many people are concerned about the amount of drug dealing in the area and we have brought this to the attention of the police - but please do come along to have your say.  From 8pm we will be discussing the impact and implications of the schools proposals. There will also be time to discuss for any other issues people would like to raise. 

Schools consultation

The Learning Trust has been consulting on its proposals to build a new secondary school on the site of Benthal School, with the proposed relocation of Benthal and Nightingale primary schools to nearby education sites. This is to help meet the mayor's commitments around ensuring that Hackney residents can send their children to local schools in a context of our growing population.

We were very troubled by the short length of time given for responses to this consultation and managed to secure an extension to the consultation period.

We know that many parents are concerned about the impact of the proposals on the existing primary schools - in particular the length of time Benthal may be in temporary accommodation and we are meeting soon with the relevant cabinet member to raise these concerns directly with her.

There will be a meeting at Benthal Primary school with the Learning Trust for all parents about the proposals - this will be on Wednesday 4th November at 6pm. Senior officers from the Learning Trust and the Building Schools for the Future teams will be there to answer questions and listen to people's views.

There is in addition a planning application that is likely to be forthcoming in the next few weeks for the Tiger way schools site, which is likely to be the location for the new Nightingale school. We have not yet received the final planning application but will circulate the details when we have them.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Schools update

There are major changes in the pipeline for schools in our area and this is just an update on what we now know following meetings with the Learning Trust.   The council via the Hackney Learning Trust is trying to make sure that there are enough primary and secondary school places available for local children and young people. They estimate that because of a rapidly growing population there will be major pressure in particular on secondary places, meaning they need roughly two new six form of entry secondary schools by 2019.

They have undertaken a feasibility study and believe the best option is to use an existing primary school site for a secondary school. They have identified Benthal School as a site that is both large enough and near enough to other vacant or existing primary sites that can be used to relocate Benthal primary. 

So, the proposal is likely to be that a secondary school is proposed for Benthal, Benthal primary school moves to the Nightingale primary school site and that Nightingale primary school moves to the vacant Tiger Way site.

The timetable (very rough) is likely to be:
- planning application for the Tiger Way site (to be the new Nightingale primary) July/August 2015. NB financially this is happening independently of the other proposals, which is why its first.
- consultation on the basic idea of putting a new secondary on the Benthal site in September 2015 lasting for six weeks.
- planning application  for the secondary and new Benthal schools in mid 2016
- two-three year construction period, meaning the new schools will be open by 2019.

As a Benthal governor Rick attended a meeting of the Friends of Benthal group this month and lots of questions were asked which Benthal governors have now put to the Learning Trust. The Learning Trust and the governors will be in contact with parents directly before the end of term with a ‘Question and Answer’ briefing. 

Importantly the Learning Trust told us their aim is that Benthal school will stay on its current site while construction takes place and that they will aim to keep the decant into temporary buildings to a 2 year period. They have said there will be outside space provided for the children during the decant period. 

Please note there is a separate planning process regarding the Tiger Way site and we know many people have strong views about the proposed residential accommodation that is proposed to finance this (two roughly ten storey blocks facing Hackney Downs). We are also very concerned about the height of these blocks and will be organising a residents meeting soon to discuss this.  We have been told that the plans are being revised in light of residents comments so far, but they are still going to aim for the same number of units. Please email us if you have any questions about this process.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Hackney Downs Big Picnic 12th July 11am-2pm

On Sunday 12th July the Hackney Downs User Group is holding a big picnic in the bowling green between 11am and 2pm - there will be boule and baby plants given away and it will be an opportunity to hear proposals for a new community garden and let the group know what you think could be improved in the park. See the group website here

Friday, 3 July 2015

Clapton Methodist Church celebrates 150th anniversary

Last month Clapton Methodist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary and Councillor Michael Desmond (far left) spoke at the celebration.