Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cricketers Pub update

We asked council officers for an update on what is happening with regard to the vacant Cricketers pub on Downs Road, which was closed down because of criminal activity.  They understand that a sale did recently fall through but that the surveyors are actively seeking a new owner. We are obviously keen to see it brought back into use rather than remaining vacant and attracting vandalism.  If developers wanted to retain it as a pub, they would need to apply for a new license for the premises as the old one was revoked.  If they wanted it to convert it to another use they would need to apply for planning permission - and the planning department have confirmed that they have not yet received an application to do so. 

My own personal view is that it is always sad to see pubs lost - around 50 close every week in Britain.  Obviously we don't want to see it re-opened as a poorly managed venue that causes a nuisance to local residents.  But it would be great if it could be re-opened as a well managed community pub serving local people - particularly as the area is not particularly well served in terms of pubs.  It would be great to find out from local residents what your views are on its future use - please let us know. We will let you know as soon as we know more.


Friday, 10 December 2010

488 bus route

The Council is now formally consulting on the new proposed route for the 488 bus which through our ward is proposed to be from the Leabridge Roundabout, down Kenninghall Road, down Rendlesham Road and then onto Dalston Junction.   There are concerns about the traffic implications on Rendlesham Road and officers are meeting with residents and councillors to discuss this.

Clean Up Clapton Day successful

The annual Clean Up Clapton Day took place on 18th November centred around B6 College. Representatives from Hackney’s Environmental Services, Safer Neighbourhoods, Stoke Newington Police, Transport Police, Guinness Trust and local residents ran stalls, providing information on a variety of associated themes including one providing kits for students wanting to give up smoking. Hot jet machine were used at three locations to remove gum from pavements and Community Payback cleared debris around unused toilets in Upper Clapton.
The Speaker, Cllr Sally Mulready, judged a children’s art competition on the “clean-up” theme, which was won by a pupil from Millfields School. Lord Sugar provided a signed photo for the winner, who was also given an art set. One of the objectives of the Day was to show local people how much the area has improved in recent years; the crime rate is down, Clapton is undoubtedly becoming cleaner, more attractive and peaceful but we need to make further progress encouraging suitable restaurants, free cashpoint machines, improving shop fronts and providing facilities for local children before our mission is accomplished

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Deputy Mayor joins Landfield estate walkabout

The Deputy Mayor Karen Alcock joined myself, George and Mavis McGee and Tony Williams, the estate manager, for a walkabout on Landfield estate this morning.  Braving the cold and rain, we had a good tour of the estate, picking up issues that need attention. 

In particular we showed Karen the problems with anti-social behaviour that occur between the backs of the houses on Stellman Close.  Karen has agreed to take up this issue and see if we can get agreement to proceed with extending the gardens so that they run back to back.  Osborne who are currently building the new homes at Ottaway Court have agreed to help do the survey and contribute to the scheme.  Hopefully we can now get this scheme going.

We also looked at the new play area which was left in a terrible state when constructed by the Learning Trust.  It has now been handed over to Hackney Homes and is looking in a much better state.  The grass has grown back and it is starting to look much more attractive.

There are also some issues with cleaning and dumping of rubbish which we are taking forward.

Thanks to Karen for coming along - it was a very productive, if rather cold, morning.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Clean up Clapton Day

This year’s Clean Up Clapton Day will take place on Thursday 18th November centered around B6 College, Kenninghall Road, E5 from 11.00am until around 2.30pm. Hackney Council, Hackney Police, BSix College, Guinness Trust and other partners will be participating; the aim of the event is to publicize improvements in the area, remove graffiti, clear up debris from hot spots and encourage civic pride.
The hot jet machines used to cleanse pavements and remove gum will be out in force, there will stalls in the B6 forecourt and an art competition with a clean-up theme will be staged for local schoolchildren. Council officers, Transport police, PCSO’s and others will promote the event, encouraging positive local action and where necessary, taking enforcement action to improve the environment.

The committee is keen that Clapton’s reputation should be enhanced, fear of crime should diminish in line with its’ significant reduction and opportunities for regeneration, opening of new restaurants and other appropriate facilities should be encouraged.

A community payback team will be doing appropriate work in the area, there will be opportunities to tour B6 College, see the best pictures from the art competition and view work by some of B6’s talented students.

Should you require any further information, please contact Cllr Michael Desmond at



Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Local resident wins award

Alice Burke, Chair of the Nighingale Estate TRA, won the Residents’ Award at the Social Landlords’ Crime and Nuisance Group Delivering Results Awards on Tuesday.

She was one of three residents shortlisted for outstanding achievement by an individual resident or a group of residents in combatting anti-social behaviour.

The Hackney Downs Labour team wants to thank Alice for all her hard work and dedication to helping make Hackney a better place to live.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What do you think about the one way system in Stoke Newington?

The council is opening up a consultation on the future of the one way Stoke Newington gyratory system. 
Although it lies with TfL rather than the council to make the decision on this, the council wants to find out what local people and businesses think about the system 40 years after its introduction.  Many people believe it causes congestion, rat running and speeding - as well as harming the shops on the High Street by making it difficult to access.

Have your say here - the consultation is open until 10th January.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Government cuts in Hackney

We were shocked to hear from our Mayor Jules Pipe at full council on Wednesday night that we may be facing even worse government cuts than we thought in the coming year.

Councils are largely dependent on government grant for most of their funding and the Government announced in the Spending Review that overall local government would have its grant cut by 27 per cent up to 2014-15. We thought in our case this would mean about a 7 per cent reduction each year. In fact it turns out that the government may be taking away additional grant we get as a result of being a deprived borough. This would mean that we might face an astonishing 20 per cent cut in the next financial year alone.

We had managed to identify efficiency savings over the next year adding up to about 6-7 per cent of our budget (£26 million) which meant we could have coped for the next year without any reductions in frontline services.

Mayor Pipe has declared that he will fight these cuts and work with other poorer parts of the country to make sure we are not penalised for having more social needs.

This level of cut would have a devastating impact - especially when it is added to the housing benefit cut which will affect hundreds of families in housing need across the borough, and the cuts to disability benefits and tax credits.


Door knocking on Benthal Road

We knocked on lots of doors in Benthal Road last Sunday to ask residents what they thought about the parking and traffic situation in the street. In the time we had we didn't manage to get round everyone - so we'll be doing the same thing next month as part of our regular roving surgeries. We'll hopefully get round Maury and Jenner as well next time.

Generally residents did feel traffic was a problem in the street and were in favour of a Controlled Parking Zone. We'll keep going and eventually accumulate a good picture of what people would like us to do.

Do email us if we didn't catch you and you have any thoughts on this.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Growing a greener Hackney

On Saturday 30th October, from 11am - 3pm at Stormont School, Hackney Downs, the Hackney Home Energy Saver Scheme will be launched, with a free jumble sale for all.

The Hackney’s Energy Saver Scheme is designed to help residents save money and energy at home. Hackney Council has teamed up with the charity Global Action Plan to provide advice and help for people living in Hackney about how saving energy can save money.

We urge all interested residents to go along next weekend. More information can be found here

Saturday, 23 October 2010


On Thursday I attended the GABS estate TRA meeting, which was very well attended at the Lower Clapton Housing Office.

The estate continues to be used as a pass through point by local youths and there is still a lot of drug dealing going on. While the closure of the Cricketers has helped with some of these issues in Clarence Road, its clear that it continues, despite a higher police presence.

The outcome of the meeting was that Hackney Homes will be consulting on putting in a gate at the Lower Clapton entrance to the estate by Sutton Court. This will either by locked by key or managed via an entry phone system. Obviously one will be more expensive than the other and residents at the meeting favoured a more simple solution, which would obviously be cheaper for leaseholders. Hackney Homes will be circulating the two options and asking for residents' views.

In addition we need to continue to make patrolling and disruption of criminal activity on the estate and in Clarence Road more generally a priority for the Safer Neighbourhoods Team. It is already one of their key priorities and I will emphasise this to the police again at the next CAP meeting.


Traffic and parking issues in Benthal, Jenner and Maury Roads

We will be out knocking on doors this Sunday on Benthal, Jenner and Maury Roads as one of our monthly roving surgeries.

A number of residents have contacted us about the on-going parking and traffic issues in these streets, so we are going to be conducting a survey of residents. If we don't catch you in, we'll leave a questionnaire that you can post back to us at the Hackney Labour Freepost address.

Basically we want to find out residents' views on two related matters.

1. Parking

It is clear that residents continue to find it very difficult to park and that this is due to a lot of commuter parking - especially people parking to use Rectory Road station.

The council did previously conduct a consultation on a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). The problem is that while Benthal, Jenner, Maury and Rectory Roads - the streets closest to the station and Stoke Newington High Street - had majorities in favour of a CPZ, in other streets in the area the majority were against.

Over the next few months we want to guage whether people's views have changed and whether we should ask for a fresh consultation.

One solution might be to have a smaller CPZ to cover only those roads in favour - although the council is very reluctant to do this.

2. Traffic

We have also recieved a lot of mail about traffic issues in these streets, with lots of through traffic coming through and the streets being used as a rat run.

Some streets like Maury Road have been made one way to prevent this and we could look at whether this could be extended. We could also think about whether environmental measures might help.

I have pasted the text of the questionnaire below - please do fill it out by email if that is easier and email it back to us at, and


Parking and traffic questionnaire

Please tick the option which best describes your opinion.

1. Do you find it difficult to find a parking space in your street?
· Yes very difficult
· Yes somewhat difficult
· Not very difficult

2. Do you believe that commuter parking is a problem in your street?
· Yes it is a very big problem
· Yes it is a slight problem
· No it is not a problem

3. Are you in favour of the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone in your street, where only residents and their guests can park (please note there is an annual charge of £92 for a vehicle with a normal sized engine)?
Yes No

4. Is your street used as a rat run by non-residential traffic?
Yes No

5. If your street is currently two-way would you favour it being made one way in order to reduce its use as a rat run for passing traffic?
Yes No

6. Do you have any other comments that you would like us to raise with the council?

Please return this questionnaire FREE OF CHARGE to
FREEPOST RLXJ-EGYX-ACSY Hackney Labour Party, 52 Aden Grove N16 9NJ
Or if it’s easier email your answers to or

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Special schools reorganisation

The Learning Trust is starting a major reorganisation of the four Special Schools in the borough – three of which are in Hackney Downs ward. Funding has been secured from the final tranche of the Building Schools for the Future programme, now cancelled by the government.

These schools will be completely rebuilt and modernised to better provide for future needs and create a much improved learning environment.

The proposals are that:

  • Downsview school will vacate its current site and be merged with Horizon school on Wordsworth Road (Stoke Newington Central ward). This will be a school for 150 children & young people aged 2 – 16 who have Communication and Interaction Needs, including autism, complex and severe learning difficulties & disabilities. The new school will open in September 2013.
  • Ickburgh School will expand and re-designate to a school for 150 children & young people aged 2 – 19 who have Sensory Impairments and Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, including pupils with profound and multiple or severe learning difficulties. The new Ickburgh school building will be formally opened in September 2014.
  • Stormont House will expand and made into a school for 120 children & young people aged 11 – 16 who have complex Emotional, Social Communication and Learning Needs. It is being proposed that the new school be built next to the current school, on Hackney Downs park, but that the old site be returned to the park afterwards. The new school will be opened in September 2013.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Greater engagement for Hackney Homes tenants

Living in Hackney, the Council Scrunity Commission for housing, is due to start a review of tenant participation, looking at how Hackney Homes engages residents in the decision-making which affects their area.

They particularly want to understand people's perception of these approaches, and where you think improvements can be made.

All tenants should by now have received a letter with a hard copy of the survey- if you would rather complete it electronically there are two versions, one for people who attend TRAs ( and those who don't currently engage in formal consultation events (

We would encourage as many tenants as possible respond as the results of this survey will help inform how Hackney Homes engages with tenants in the future.



Sunday, 19 September 2010

Replacing London's Victorian water mains - an opportunity to find out more...

Thames Water will soon be starting work in the Hackney Downs area to replace the old water mains. In doing so, they plan to reduce leakage and lessen the likelihood of burst mains

They plan to minimise inconvenience by using the latest construction techniques, and replace many pipes without having to dig lengthy trenches.

However, they have said there will be some inevitable disruption for local residents and businesses. In order to understand concerns and, where possible, address these before starting work, they would like to invite you to an informal drop- in.

· Date: Wednesday 29th September 2010
· Time: 4.00pm – 6.30pm
· Location: Downs Park Road, E5. Opp. No. 81

The meeting is about hearing residents views about minimising disruption and attaching water meters (where none are already fitted) to the new supply pipes .

The work is due to start on Monday 25/10/10 and will take approximately 8 months to complete.

If residents have any other immediate concerns please use any of the following:

Customer Relations, Thames Water Utilities Limited, P.O.Box 286, Swindon
SN38 2RA
The Customer Centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0845 641 0011. Please quote your address and reference number CAP4 BB 906513 if you call us

If you think this could affect you, we recommend you to attend the meeting on 29th September.


Friday, 17 September 2010

Beckers TRA

I attended my first meeting of the Beckers TRA on 9th September. Members of the committee raised a number of issues which I'm taking forward.

One concerns the bin collections, which are currently very close together in the week, meaning that after the second collection lots of rubbish builds up before the next one. I am going to see if we could change the days.

Residents have also been refused parking permits for the Stoke Newington CPZ despite assurances that they would have access. I have taken this up with the head of parking.

I am also going to see if we can get any more equipment for the play area.

There was a great proposal for a social event on the estate to get everyone together for family photos - excellent stuff.

I am constantly amazed by how much time local people put into their communities - purely to make their neighbourhoods better places to live - its fantastic to see and I'm proud to be a part of it.


Gooch House TRA

On 8th September I attended the Gooch House TRA. Residents raised a number of concerns which I am taking forward with the Council.

In particular I have asked Hackney Homes to examine residents concerns around noise issues, which are a major problem. I have asked for an officer to attend the next meeting to discuss what we can do.

I also briefed everyone on the situation regarding the further planned Decent Homes work regarding the bed sits - and will make sure residents are kept fully up to speed.

Residents were understandably very concerned about the implications of the collapse of Connaught and I have asked for the Council to let the TRA know how it is handling the outstanding work.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Local Hackney in Bloom winners

Hackney Downs ward did really well in the Hackney in Bloom competition this year. Congratulations to all the winners and runners up!

You can see the results here

From our ward the winners included:

Best Educational Garden in a School Setting

1st place: Stormont House School, Downs Park Road, E5 (see picture)
2nd place: Benthal Primary School, Benthal Road, N16

Best Container Garden

1st place: John Gibson, Della Path, Nightingale Estate, E5

Young and Green Fingered

1st Place: Esther and Isaac Ramsay, Maury Road, N16

Best Food Growing Project

3rd place: Stormont House School, Down Park Road, E5

There will be an awards ceremony for all the winners in October.


Thursday, 2 September 2010


Tunnel Vision, an unusual art installation, created by Hackney based artist Eva Lis, will take place on Hackney Downs Park from 9th until 23rd of September 2010 . The installation is the first public art project ever to take place in the Park.

Through the hole in the fence of the Hackney Downs bowling green a viewer will be lured into a mysterious world of tunnels, corridors and dead-ends.

The exhibition provides fun and entertainment for adults and children alike, art lovers and passers-by and will transform unused space into intriguing world of adventure as well as meditation.

As a special treat, on the opening night Eva Lis, the artist responsible, will talk about the ideas behind the project and answer questions. This will be an interesting and lively evening, with bar, garden and the chance to talk to another artist-in-residence Boa Swindler and view her works in progress.

The exhibition will be open 12-6 pm daily from 9th till 23rd of September 2010.

For more info please go to

I hope you enjoy it


Monday, 30 August 2010

Downs park area 20mph zone

The council is currently consulting on a 20pmh zone on Downs Road, Queensdown Road, Downs Park Road, Bodney Road, Andre Street, Anton Street and Amhurst Terrace. This is part of a programme to introduce 20mph limits in all residential streets over the next two years to improve road safety.

Some additional sinusoidal speed humps will be going in to reduce speeds - although most of the roads already have these.

Residents will be getting all the details by post - please do email with your views. The consultation is running until 24th September.


Parking lining works in Hackney Downs

Hackney Parking Services will be carrying out essential road lining work in Hackney Downs ward throughout the months of August and September 2010. They will only be refreshing existing lines, particularly those protecting junctions and passing points on roads that are not within any designated controlled parking zones. These lines are painted primarily for the safety of road users and to ease the flow of traffic.

Notices in areas where lining is taking place will be put up but we wanted to make sure residents are fully aware of this work.

The Parking Services Team has asked residents to park vehicles in a manner that complies with the regulations indicated by road markings during this time to ensure they are not removed or relocated. Owners of vehicles who suspect their vehicle has been relocated should contact National TRACE on 020 7747 4747.

They have also assured us that they will keep disturbances and inconvenience to a minimum.

You will find further information about this work on the Council’s webpage at

If you have any further questions about the work, please contact Mark McIntosh, Acting Maintenance Services Manager on 020 8356 8373 or by email

Hopefully this won't be too inconvenient for everyone


Thursday, 19 August 2010

Hackney Downs Community Advisory Panel - August

Alex and I attended last night's Community Advisory Panel meeting with local residents and the Hackney Downs Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

PCs Thomson and Connors gave us an update on recent events and on the priority issues that have been agreed between the team and local residents.

1. Shooting on Powell Road

Officers briefed us about the terrible shooting of a young man on Powell Road in July. Officers emphasised that this was a gang-related shooting that happened in our ward, but did not involve people from our local area.

2. Clarence Road

The SNT are continuing their active patrolling of Clarence Road to disrupt criminal activity and anti-social behaviour. They noted that there has been a big fall in reported crime in the area since the closure of The Cricketers pub.

3. BSix

The SNT are working closely with the college - and a number of students are training to become Special Constables, which is great news.

4. Dangerous dogs

A number of residents have raised with us problems with dangerous dogs - or 'status dogs' - especially on the Downs and in Springfield Park. PC Thomson said that these dogs, generally Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pitbulls, are abused by their owners, often starved and beaten. They are used as weapons and status symbols.

Residents are advised to report any dangerous dogs to the police , with a description of the owner and the dog. They can then look out for them and track them down. If they are a banned breed they can apply for a warrant to have the dog confiscated. There is now a Status Dogs Unit within the Met that has been set up to support this.

For non-banned breeds the Council is apparently looking to acquire powers to introduce Dog Control Orders where there is evidence of dogs causing problems.

The Dogs Trust have been working with Hackney Council and Hackney Homes on the Anti-Social Behaviour roadshows, to provide free chipping for dogs.

Residents asked if there could be more dog bins put out in the area - and we will take this up with the council.

5. Date of next meeting - 20th October 7pm BSix College, Kenninghall Road. Do come along! These are very informative meetings and our local constables are extremely proactive in taking forward the priorities agreed.

Don't forget any incidents you would like to report to the local police - phone 07879 486 802 or 020 8721 2940 or email


Friday, 13 August 2010

Meet your local police team

The Hackney Downs Safer Neighbourhood Team is holding a Ward Panel meeting next Wednesday 18 August 2010.

This is open to all members of public, regarding any crime related issues within Hackney Downs Ward. At this meeting you can raise issues with the police and help set their priorities for our area.

It will be at 7pm at BSiX College, Kenninghall Road E5.

If you can't make it on Wednesday, details of how to contact the team are here.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hackney consults on licensing policy

Hackney Council is currently consulting residents on a new proposed licensing policy. This will set out how the council regulates the activities of licensed premises such as pubs, bars, restaurants and off-licences.

One of the key changes is to introduce two new Special Policy Areas (SPAs) in Dalston and Stoke Newington. There is already a Special Policy Area in Shoreditch. It means that the council has decided that there are already so many licensed premises in the area that any businesses applying for a new licence have to prove that they won't make problems like noise and crime in the area worse. In other words they have to pass a higher bar to get an application approved.

It also means the council can ask establishments to take additional measures to prevent them having a negative impact, such as requiring them to sell drinks in plastic cups or put in more seating. In Shoreditch this has contributed to a fall in alcohol related crime in the area of 20 per cent since 2005.

You can access the consultation details and the proposed new policy itself here. The consultation is open until 25th October.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Landfield estate TRA meeting 26th July

Alex and I attended the Landfield estate TRA on 26th July and there were a number of issues raised that we are currently taking forward.

1. The play area

We are going to try to sort out the mess that has been made of the new play area. It has been put in by the Learning Trust - but the grass has died, the quality of the work is extremely poor and almost as soon as it was put in it was closed off. I noticed this morning it has now been re-opened, but nothing has been done about the underlying problems. We are trying to get it sorted out and will keep residents updated on this.

2. Garden extensions

We discussed the long running issue of getting the back gardens on Stellman Close extended. They do not run back to back and this creates an environment where anti-social behaviour can take place in between the back gardens. We are going to convene a meeting with the relevant officers to try to get this sorted out. The first step is to get a new valuation of the land.

3. Decent Homes work

Many residents are very concerned that Landfield was excluded from the bathroom and kitchen modernisation programme. We are taking this up with Hackney Homes and will report back to the TRA.

4. Boiler work

We are going to try to make sure Landfield is prioritised as part of the boiler replacement programme.

5. Anti-social behaviour and crime

Many people wanted to see a greater police presence - and we are taking this up with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

We will report back to the TRA and via this blog on progress.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Landfield surgery

Just a reminder that we are holding our regular advice surgery at Landfield Community Hall, Stellman Close, from 11am-12pm tomorrow, Sunday 8th August.

Please drop by if you would like any help or advice or if there are any issues you would like us to take up.

Details of our regular advice surgeries are here.

Or you can always just give us a call on 07875 546155.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hackney Downs Park hosts Hackney One Carnival

The third annual Hackney One Carnival takes place this Sunday 8th August.

The Carnival showcases Hackney’s cultural diversity and communities as part of the wider Cultural Olympiad. There will be over 1000 participants taking part, from 20 different organisations, made up of carnival and community groups from across Hackney. The Carnival also gives residents and visitors the opportunity to celebrate arts and culture alongside sports in the run up to the 2012 Games.

The event kicks off on Queensbridge Road at 12pm arrives at Hackney Downs Park at approximately 2pm and the overall event concludes at 6pm. More information, including the parade route, is available at

We encourage all Hackney Downs residents to come and enjoy the fun.