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.

Rick

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.

Rick

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


www.globalactionplan.org.uk/hackney

Saturday, 23 October 2010

GABS Estate TRA

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.

Rick

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 rick.muir@hackney.gov.uk, alex.russell@hackney.gov.uk and michael.desmond@hackney.gov.uk.

Rick

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 rick.muir@hackney.gov.uk or alex.russell@hackney.gov.uk

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.