We Love Stoke Newington is for residents living in the local area providing updates about local meetings, campaigns and useful information. This site is maintained by your local Labour team for Stoke Newington.

Friday, 30 October 2009

News from the Council chamber

As well as the motion on the Mayor of London's fare increases, there was the usual opportunity at Full Council on Wednesday for backbench councillors to ask the Mayor and the Cabinet questions.

A few of the issues that were raised included:
  • Confirmation that the Mayor and Cabinet have agreed plans to freeze council tax in Hackney for the fifth year in a row
  • Hackney Council has made £46m of efficiency savings - the highest in London and the third highest in the country. This has been achieved with no cuts to frontline services.
  • Reassurance from the Mayor that freezing council tax does not mean a cut to vital local services - contrasting with other London boroughs like Hammersmith and Fulham where a cut in council tax meant that youth service budgets were slashed and services like garden waste collection were scrapped
  • Hackney has the most affordable and extensive range of wormeries and compost bins available in England (find out more here)
  • The Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Hackney are signed up to a pledge to respond to your calls within 24 hours
The full agenda is here.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tories say 'ask the public'

Last night was the monthly Full Council meeting at the Town Hall.

One of the items on the agenda was a motion condemning the recent fare increases on public transport from the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The massive hikes include:

Raising the cost of a single bus fare by 20%, from £1 to £1.20

Raising the cost of a weekly bus pass by over 20%, from £13.80 to £16.60

Raising the cost of an off-peak tube journey from Hackney into central London by 12.5%, from £1.60 to £1.80

The latest TfL business plan also outlines plans to reduce bus routes.

In Hackney, we know that alongside walking, buses are the most popular mode of transport for residents, and in Stoke Newington Central where we have no train or tube stations in the ward, it's no exception.

The Mayor of London's fare increases will hit those in low paid jobs or part time work the hardest. In Hackney, we need more improvements to our bus routes - not a reduction.

During the debate in the Council chamber last night, the Tory group of councillors praised Boris's plans, and refused to stand up for Hackney residents. At one point the Leader of the Group said 'ask the public' what they think about the fare rises.

We're clear that the fare increases and cuts to bus routes will have a big impact on Hackney residents. What do you think?

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Family event - West Hackney Recreation Ground - TODAY

We're fully behind Groundwork's masterplan to improve West Hackney Recreation Ground - it's a large park that could be put to much better use and provide an important green space for the local community.

As part of their ongoing work, Groundwork have organised a family event there - from 2-3.30pm today - Wednesday 28th October.
It's called 'Portraits from the Past' and there will be storytelling, photography and tales all linked to West Hackney Recreation Ground.

These will be displayed at the Church at a later date. For more information contact Imogen Sherwood at Groundwork on 020 8985 1755.
Download the poster here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Yorkshire Grove trees

We were contacted by residents on Yorkshire Grove who were fed up with overhanging trees cutting the light out of their properties.
After lobbying Hackney Homes to sort this out - the trees in question have finally been pruned.

We're aware that there are other trees on the estate that also need attention and we've asked Hackney Homes to look into this as a matter of urgency. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, 26 October 2009

No armed police patrols in Hackney

Some people may have seen press reports about the Met Police deciding to allow armed officers to patrol some of London's "worst" estates and neighbourhoods as a way of tackling gun and gang crime.

Cllr Alan Laing - the Cabinet member on Hackney Council with responsibility for community safety has confirmed that this will not happen in our borough.

On Alan's blog he quotes Hackney's Detective Chief Superintendent as saying:

"On no occasion has there been the deployment of armed officers on foot patrol in Hackney.

"I am proud that all of the officers stationed within this borough are unarmed and that will continue to be the case."

Green power for Hackney?

As you may have read in Hackney Today and the Hackney Gazette last week, there are proposals from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to build a wind turbine on Hackney Marshes.

If the 120 metre high turbine goes ahead, it will offer Hackney the opportunity to buy green energy for up to 25 years, cutting carbon emissions significantly.

The ODA is already going ahead with one wind turbine on Eton Manor in the neighbouring borough of Waltham Forest. If a turbine was built on East Marsh, the two together could generate enough green electricity to power Hackney's street lighting at night and all the main Council buildings by day.

We wholeheartedly support the proposals and think this is an excellent opportunity to help Hackney meet carbon reduction targets, support the Council's commitment to sustainability, and ensure that more green energy could be produced in Hackney than in any other London borough.

The Council is aware that there are strong feelings about Hackney Marshes which is why there is a public consultation on the wind turbine proposal - you can fill this in online here, find out more about the proposals here or drop into one of the information sessions locally - in Stoke Newington library on 23rd November from 3-5pm.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Resident meeting - Morris Blitz Court

There's a meeting tomorrow to discuss the next set of proposals for Decent Homes improvements on Morris Blitz Court.

Come along on Monday 26th October at 6.30pm at the Beckers Community Hall and have your say on the proposals from Hackney Homes on:
  • the new roof over the top floor flats and walkway
  • the podium - creating private gardens for ground floor flats
  • private balconies for the masionette flats
  • new windows for masionette flats

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Have your say on recycling services in Hackney

We know that local residents care a great deal about their local recycling services. As we reported earlier this month, you can now recycle more items than ever before - with tetrapak and plastic tubs now being collected in the kerbside collections.

Hackney Council is now asking for residents' views on what we can do next to improve recycling services.

In particular, the Council is interested in your views on:
  • Recycling for houses and estates
  • Food waste collections
  • Garden waste collections
  • Bulky wate collections
  • Rubbish collections
  • Waste minimaisation such as composting, real nappies , junk mail
The survey is available online here until Friday 18th December 2009.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Update on Bar A Bar

Residents living near Bar A Bar are aware that this venue has been a source of noise nuisance and disturbance for a number of years.

The police have been gathering evidence over the last few months showing that the club is breaking the terms of its license - opening until the early hours of the morning.

As a result, the police submitted a review of Bar A Bar's license and this was heard at a committee hearing at the Town Hall last week.

A number of conditions were imposed - including closing the club for a fortnight, with it not being allowed to re-open until the Police are satisfied that the owners will act more responsibly in the management and operation of the club.

This was also put on record at the hearing:
"For the public record, the sub-committee gave long and serious consideration of the options to revoke the premises licence and/or remove the designated premises supervisor and we reiterate the words of the police representation that this is seen as a last and final chance for the licensee to demonstrate that he can operate within both the terms of his licence and the spirit and words of the Licensing Act."

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or complaints about Bar A Bar.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Anti social drinking

Residents and businesses across Hackney have been raising their concerns about the increase in anti social behaviour relating to alcohol. As a result, Hackney Council is considering introducing a borough-wide Controlled Drinking Area (CDA).

A borough-wide CDA will give police powers to confiscate alcohol or issue fixed penalty fines to those drinking and causing disorder or threatening behaviour in streets, parks and open spaces. A CDA is not a ban and does not make it illegal to drink alcohol responsibly in a public place.

There have been designated areas in Hackney where CDAs have been in operation and these have been successful in reducing drunkenness and rowdy behaviour in public. However, this can mean that the problem is then moved to a new area, so a borough wide CDA is now being consulted on.

The public consultation runs until 24th December 2009. You can fill in your views online here or download more information about the proposed CDA here.

Watch your waste week

This week is 'Watch Your Waste' week - an annual event to challenge residents to think about reducing the amount of rubbish they throw away. It's a chance for every local resident to work together to contribute to a more sustainable Hackney.

Participants will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 43 organic vegetable boxes from Growing Communities.

There are a number of events taking place this week:
  • You can download a 'Challenger's Pack' from this page, full of top tips to reduce your waste
  • You can reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive. Call 020 8356 6688 or pick up a pack from 2 Hillman Street, E8
  • Food Rescue Pack Give Away (until 23rd October). Packs contain fridge thermometers, bag clips, spaghetti measurers, tea towels and more. Complete an online quiz or pick one up from reception at 2 Hillman Street, E8.
  • 23 October, 2-3.30pm – Nappuccino at Hackney City Farm, 1 Goldsmiths Row, E2. Collect a £54 real nappy voucher. To attend, call Leonor on: 020 8356 7930 or email: leonor.barricartebulnes@hackney.gov.uk
Remember you can also get a Council sponsored wormery and compost bin - more info here.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Church Street - works update

The works to improve Church Street started on 14th September and are now well underway - you can already see the newly laid paving stones on some stretches.

The Council is working closely with the contractors to make sure that the scheme is delivered as soon as possible to the highest standard.

We have stressed the importance of maintaining access to shops during the works, and the contractors are working closely with shop owners to address their concerns.
The traffic diversion in the first week caused problems for many, and we asked for additional signs to be placed at the Church Street/Albion Road junction to prevent drivers from turning along the street.

There was also an issue with the gas main outside 40 Stoke Newington Church Street - the contractors discovered a leak. A number of abandoned cellars have also been discovered whilst excavating the footways and damp proofing is being put in.

We are aware that there has been a lot of disruption on Church Street in recent years and that it is frustrating for those living and working on the street. Please do
contact us with ANY concerns and we will pass these on the manager of the works.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Stoke Newington housing panel meeting

The Stoke Newington Neighbourhood Panel meets tomorrow - at 7pm at Howard Road Resource Centre, N16 8PX.

The focus of the meeting is Decent Homes and there will be updates on the planned programme of decent homes work, ongoing maintenance of Hackney Homes properties and the spending of the '184' budget to be spent on issues that residents identify during walkabouts on their estates.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Kynaston Gardens

Residents have contacted us about increasing numbers of street drinkers gathering in Kynaston Gardens who are causing considerable disturbances for those nearby.

We have been lobbying the Council and the police to deal swiftly with this and the following actions have been taken so far:
  • The local police have stepped up their patrols of Kynaston Gardens
  • The Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DART) from the Council has conducted a number of outreach visits and will continue to do so. The main issue seems to be with a group of transient drinkers from Islington
  • The Council's ASB team is sending a letter to all nearby residents letting them know what is being done and how to contact the local Safer Neighbourhood Team
The DART need intelligence from residents living nearby as to what times of day the groups are gathering in order to help with their outreach work. If you are able to pass on information, please call 020 8986 2960.

We have been campaigning for much needed improvements to Kynaston Gardens. A consultation with Groundwork is due to start soon over the future of the Gardens, and a number of measures have been taken by the Rochester Castle including changing the fire exit and installing a gate at the end of the alleyway to discourage people from gathering there.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Stoke Newington Town Hall

A reminder that Stoke Newington Town Hall is now taking bookings ahead of it's opening in February 2010.

The Art Deco, Grade 2 listed building has been renovated by Hackney Council, and will include two spaces for community use and private hire - the Council Chamber and the Assembly Hall. The Council is committed to ensuring the building can be enjoyed by local people and there will be a non profit organisation rate for community groups and charities who want to hire space.

There will also be a new reception area with self service booths to access Council services online.

Local businesses can also register intereste to supply goods and services to those booking events at the building.

For more information, call 020 8356 3497 or email stokenewingtonvenuehire@hackney.gov.uk.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Save the Hackney Empire

As you may have seen in the press, Hackney Empire's main stage is closing for around 9 months in January.

Hackney Empire has been a key cultural icon in London for over a hundred years. The temporary closure of the theatre is so that it can restructure to turn around its financial prospects.

Both Hackney Council and the Arts Council have given a great deal of support to the Empire and we hope all those involved will work together to ensure that the theatre reopens in 2010 as a successful and viable venue that continues to serve the people of Hackney and London as a whole.

You can sign the petition in support of the Empire here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Things to do for young people in Stoke Newington

At a recent Stoke Newington Neighbourhood Forum a member of the public raised the question about what is taking place locally for young people to do.

There are two projects operating on estates in our ward: The Smalley Road Youth Project and the Yorkshire Grove Youth Project. The Smalley Road Youth Project is open every Saturday from 6-8.30pm at the Old Fire Station on Leswin Road. There are loads of activities - pool, table tennis etc. For more information, contact: magdalen.royal@hackney.gov.uk. Yorkshire Grove is open three nights a week Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6.30-9.30pm. Contact paul.morgan@hackney.gov.uk for more information.

The local police team also organise cycle workshops for young people.

There are also a number of interventions to help support young people who might be at risk of being involved, or already involved in crime. These include one-to-one work through the Youth Inclusion and Support Panel; a Knife Crime Awareness Programme and an outreach service which tailors support to young people across North Hackney.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Insulating your home this winter

It's felt noticeably more chilly over the last few days. We were recently asked about what insulation measures were available for people in rented properties - of which there are many in Stoke Newington (mine included). The Guardian's Environment blog has just posted a handy guide to what options are available tenants in privately rented accommodation to better insulate their homes. The top tips are:
  • using draught excluding strips or multi purpose filler on gaps around window panes
  • only heating rooms that you're using
  • letting your landlord know about the Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance which allows them to claim up to £15000 against tax every year for buying and installing energy-saving products
The full guide is here.

Hackney Homes recently announced that 1017 'hard to insulate' homes in the Borough will receive cavity wall insulation to be completed as part of existing Decent Homes works - this has come from £2.9m of funding from the Homes and Community Agency.

Family Mosaic have also been awarded funding to insulate individual homes against heat loss - contact them on 020 7089 1268 for more information.

You can also search for grants on the Energy Savings Trusts website here.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Labour Party Conference round up

At last week's Labour Party Conference there were a number of important policy announcements. We've listed some below because lots are relevant to our work in Hackney and the issues that residents tell us are important to them:
  • Local authorities to have the power to ban 24 hour drinking in the interests of local people
  • Local people to have the right to make pubs and clubs to pay for cleaning up their neighbourhood and making it safe
  • A requirement for the local police to reply to neighbourhood enquiries within the hour, and non urgent enquiries within 48 hours with a reply or a visit
  • Action squads for problematic estates - protecting local residents and holding monthly meetings to consult with residents over what action they would like to see
  • a £14m investment package to encourage people to cycle to railway stations - including cycle hubs at ten major stations with secure covered parking, cycle hire, information, retail and repair
  • £20m in government backed venture support for clean energy technologies of the future - wave, tidal, fuel cells, solar and energy efficiency
  • Low carbon zones around the UK
  • A quarter of a million new green British jobs
  • All councils to sign up to the 10:10 campaign
  • A transition plan for the UK which will mean 40% low carbon energy by 2020
  • A new compulsory system where energy companies must provide guaranteed support for the poorest in society who cannot afford energy bills
  • More funding for councils who want to build their own new affordable homes
  • The Post Office to play a bigger role in providing banking services in local communities
  • A National Care Service to pay for long term social care and scrapping means testing for 3000,000 Alzheimer's sufferers and other elderly people with the highest needs
  • A commitment in law to spend 0.7% of GDP on international development
  • Scrapping hospital parking charges
  • No compulsory ID cards in the next Parliament

Friday, 2 October 2009

Now you can recycle even more

Hackney Council's recycling service has just been improved even further - from this month, you can now recycle Tetra Pak cartons and plastic tubs (for example, yogurt pots and ice cream tubs).

All householders - on estates, and in street properties - will be able to recycle these items.
Recycling rates in Hackney have improved dramatically in recent years – we now recycle 24% of all our waste – up from just 2% in 2002. We were one of the first councils to introduce compulsory recycling, and every street level property has a Green box and Blue bin collection weekly. All estates and high rise flats have a nearby recycling bank.

Hackney Council is committed to constantly improving recycling services to make it as easy as possible for residents to play their part in reducing waste. Find out more here.