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, 26 February 2010

Do you have views on how to improve local maternity services?

As we've previously reported, Health for north east London are consulting on proposals to improve hospital services in. One area that is being looked at is maternity services, and they want to hear your views:
  • Do you agree there should be more support for women who want to give birth at home?
  • Should there be more midwife-led birthing units in the community?
  • Would you like a midwife-led unit alongside the doctor-led unit – co-located midwifery units at The Royal London Hospital?
  • Should we employ more support workers to deal with administration so that midwives can concentrate on delivering babies?
There will be a special consultation event on Thursday 4 March, from 10am-2pm, at the Old Town Hall, 29 The Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ. Call them on 020 7092 5233 for more information or find out more here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Support Fairtrade fortnight in Hackney!

Fairtrade Fornight is currently underway, running until 7th March.

Hackney is a Fairtrade Borough, and largely due to the hard work of Labour Cllr Ian Rathbone, who is the convenor of the Fairtrade Group in Hackney, more schools, churches and community organisations are getting involved, showing how strongly they feel about having a fair balance on world trade.

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, local residents are being encouraged to take small steps to making the world a fairer place and show their support for producers in the developing world by 'The Big Swap' . This could be as simple as:
  • changing your usual cup of tea to a fairtrade tea
  • buying fairtrade bananas
  • swapping your cotton socks for Fairtrade cotton socks
There are over 4,500 products which have been licensed to carry the Fairtrade Mark including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, many fruits, juices, smoothies, biscuits, nuts & nut oil, wines, beers, rum, confectionary, muesli, cereal bars, yoghurt, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cloth toys. A directory of businesses stocking Fairtrade products in Hackney can be found online here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A plan for Kynaston Gardens

Groundwork have pulled together the results from the consultation on Kynaston Gardens and their plans were on display at the Farmer's Market over the weekend.

Nearly a 100 local residents responded and a variety of views were expressed. The overwhelming majority wanted to keep the Gardens as a local park, but to improve the opportunities for children to play, and provide better seating so people can stop and rest in the Gardens. The plans stressed the need to really clean up the Gardens and help to reclaim it for community use.

We'll keep you posted as Groundwork enter the next stages of the project - but we're really pleased that so many people came forward to have their say.

Boris cuts key services

We've blogged here before about the campaign that Labour councillors in Hackney launched against the Mayor of London's inflation busting fare increases on public transport - a 20% increase last month, which has a big impact on residents in Stoke Newington. 82% of Hackney residents use the bus at least once a week and we have the lowest level of car ownership in London - we rely most heavily on buses.

It now seems Boris is committing to more cuts - he's slashing the amount of money he's giving to Hackney to improve our streets by 17% next year and is making it more dangerous for cyclists across London by cutting his road surfacing budget by 22% - cyclists know how bad the red routes are and it's only going to get worse in the years to come.

Boris Johnson has also said he will be cutting the number of police officers in London by 455 over the next three years.

Hackney was one of the first boroughs to bring in neighbourhood policing and it's paid off with a year on year reduction in crime. Boris is threatening that with these cuts. Some press coverage of the story is here.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Kynaston Gardens consultation

Groundwork has recently been consulting with residents over the future of Kynaston Gardens.

The responses to the questionnaire have now been analysed and there will be a drop in events at the Gardens TOMORROW - Saturday 20th where staff from Groundwork will present some of the options to be considered.

Come along and have your say - this is an exciting time to take forward some big improvements to the Gardens, and we've been campaigning hard to make sure that the space is brought back into use for the local community.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Housing panel meeting tonight

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

The focus of the meeting is on community development and resident participation. There will also be updates from the Stoke Newington housing office on anti social behaviour across the neighbourhood, and more information about Hackney Homes TV Aerial Upgrade Programme.

New Service Centre for Hackney Council

The new Hackney Service Centre is now open to the public - it's located behind the old Town Hall building at 1 Hillman Street, and means that more services are in one place making it easier and quicker to do all your council business in one place.

Find out which services are located where online here.

Remember you can also access many council services online or by phone - on 020 8356 3000 or info@hackney.gov.uk from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Hackney Homes Open Day

Hackney Homes have organised an open day for residents this Thursday - 18th February from 12noon to 6pm at the Ocean, 270 Mare Street.

This will be a chance to find out more about housing, money matters, community, the environment and issues affecting your estate.

It's free, and there will be a creche for children, refreshments and freebies plus seven unique zones on everything from money management and advice, health and wellbeing to maintaining your home.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Hackney Enterprise Network event

The new Hackney Enterprise Network is holding a networking event tomorrow between 6-8.30pm at Shoreditch Town Hall for small and medium sized businesses in Hackney.

The Hackney Enterprise Network offers support and advice to local entrepreneurs - and the event will be an opportunity to make new contacts, enter new markets and learn about access to loans and small grants.

Speakers will include the Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe, and the operations director at Carillion which is building the 2012 media centres on the Olympic Park.

Businesses should register their interest in attending the Hackney Enterprise Network (HEN) launch event by calling: 020 7241 7066, or e-mailing: hen@hbv.org.uk

Monday, 15 February 2010

North London Line closure starts this Saturday

A reminder that from this Sat 20th February until Monday 31st May there will be no service on the North London Line between Gospel Oak and Stratford.

The closures are due to the final stage of works needed to upgrade the line - when it reopens there will be longer trains, greater frequency and a more efficient service on this busy transport route.

There will be a replacement bus service in operation - leaving from bus stop P on Kingsland High Street. If Oyster pay as you go users incur an additional charge for their journey they may be entitled to an automatic refund within 14 days. Any questions about this - call the TfL help desk on 0845 330 9876.

We're aware that transport routes are very congested in the area at the moment with the closure of Dalston Lane. Whilst this work is needed (a Victorian sewer collapsed), the lack of notice and the lack of effective publicity and information given to bus drivers and passengers has been completely inadequate.

The Council has taken this up with Transport for London and stressed the need to communicate more clearly with local residents who are having their journeys disrupted whilst the works take place.

The upgrade of the Shacklewell/Amhurst/Rectory Road junction was due to start this week, but we asked for this to be postponed until the beginning of March as major bus routes are currently being diverted along Shacklewell Lane and would have caused even more congestion.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Dangerous dogs

We've picked up quite a few complaints recently about dog fouling. there are persistent offenders on many side streets who allow their dogs to foul on the street.

The whole of Hackney is covered by a Dog Fouling Control Order which means that any offenders who are caught will face a £80 fine. If you spot an offender, you can also report them directly to the Enforcement Team on 020 8356 4810.

Dangerous dogs are also an issue in our area - particularly on Butterfield Green. This was discussed last week at a Community Safety committee meeting where we heard from Council officers, the police and the RSPCA about what steps can be taken to try and address this. One option that is being considered is having a Dog Control Order which would require dogs to be on leads in certain areas - but this has to be balanced to make sure that responsible dog owners are not unfairly targetted to.

Noise from dogs in flats can also be a source of nuisance, and if you suspect that a dog is being neglected, the RSPCA can get involved. More details here.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Sustainable Stoke Newington Pledge

You may have seen posters and flyers going up in Stoke Newington shops...

More information coming soon!

Paddy Power application granted

Disappointing news about the Paddy Power application for 117-119 Stoke Newington High Street - the application was granted at a licensing committee hearing last night at the Town Hall.

Cllr Louisa Thomson spoke at the hearing on behalf of residents who had made representations against the application, pointing out the likely effect on crime and disorder in the area (we know that Ladbrokes at the end of Brighton Road is linked to anti social behaviour); the number of children going to school early in the morning that will pass by the premises; and the potential risk of vulnerable people getting into debt or other problems through gambling.

As we've explained before, the licensing regime currently gives local authorities very few powers to stop betting shops opening as the concentration of shops in one area isn't one of the issues that can be taken into account. We made sure it went on record at the meeting that, as ward councillors, we fully support the bid the Council has made under the Sustainable Communities Act which would allow us to argue against the proliferation of betting shops and give us more say over our local high streets, local businesses and local jobs.

The applicants - Paddy Power - were put under a lot of scrutiny, especially around their social responsibility policies, and the early opening time (8am, rather than the advertised 7am). On the basis of residents' representations, they had commissioned their own study into the likely effects on the area and were probed by the committee on how they would handle anti social behaviour, problem gambling and potential money laundering.

Overall, it was a very frustrating experience - betting shops give nothing back to the local economy, and we have five already in Stoke Newington.

We hope that Hackney Council's lobbying over changing this situation pays off and that our Sustainable Communities Act bid is successful.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Young Hackney Valentine's Special - TONIGHT

There is a special event for local young people tonight at the newly restored Stoke Newington Town Hall.

The 'We Show Love' event has been organised by Show Love Lifestyle and local dance group Luminous with support from the Council's Youth Service.

The performance nights starts at 6pm and is for 14-19 year olds. There will be live performances featuring Da Clique; Young Moe ft. Dean Marsh; Luminous; S.O.S. (Sounds of the Streets); Keelee & Sade; Ebonessence; K.I.R.; and Wacky Rymel & Co; as well as career advice and guidance and a Valentine's fashion show.

You need to book in advance, so email emma.kebbay@hackney.gov.uk or 07772 565573 to reserve a place. The cost is £3 and all money raised will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

What matters to you most?

Each year, the Council asks residents what their priorities are for Hackney.

These are fed into the Council's scrutiny process - where backbench councillors across party political lines investigate issues of local concern and help to hold the Council, and other outside agencies like the police and health bodies to account.

Last year, residents told us that crime was one of their main concerns, and as a result two of the scrutiny commissions looked at anti social behaviour on estates and how Hackney Homes, housing associations and the Council can improve their responses to residents.

Have your say on what work scrutiny councillors should do this year - this can be anything from prevention of crime, to housing, to health and education.

The survey is online here.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Crime in Hackney is at a 10 year low

The Met Police have just published the crime figures for 2009 which show that the total offences in Hackney are at their lowest since 1999.

Last year there were over 1000 fewer victims of crime than in 2008 and nearly 10,000 fewer victims than ten years ago.

There were reductions in serious crimes - homicide, youth violence and knife crime, and over the last seven years a 50% reduction in residential burglaries.

However, we know from speaking to residents in Stoke Newington and from the regular meetings we have with the local police that anti social behaviour, crime and a fear of crime can have a big impact on people's lives, and there are still important issues that need tackling to make sure that we have a safer Hackney overall.

Remember that our local Safer Neighbourhood Team of police for Stoke Newington Central can be contacted about any local concerns - their full details are here.

You can also
report crimes online or using the non-emergency number 0300 123 1212. I recently had my wallet stolen on a local bus and am pleased to say that the online crime reporting system worked very well and saves queuing in the Stoke Newington police station!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Paddy Power application

Before Christmas, Paddy Power put in an application for another betting shop on Stoke Newington High Street.

The application will be heard next week at a licensing committee hearing at the Town Hall. Several residents objected and we will be representing their views at the meeting. The full details are

We've also put a poll on our blog - let us know your views. Does Stoke Newington need yet another betting shop?

At the moment, local authorities have little control over the proliferation of betting shops on our high streets. Hackney Council made a submission under the Sustainable Communities Act for stronger powers to help control the number of betting shops and protect our local area and this has gone forward to the Secretary of State for consideration.

The current situation is very frustrating as the Council does not have the legal powers to respond to residents' concerns on this issue.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Have your say on parking in Hackney

The council is asking residents and businesses to give their views on how parking policy is formed and how parking is enforced in Hackney for the next five years.

Many residents raise their concerns about parking, and this is an important opportunity to have your say. In particular, a number of key questions and issues are being considered:

  • Parking permits and vouchers for residents, businesses and visitors
  • How we enforce parking penalties
  • How we prioritise different types of vehicle and motorist
  • What we can do to free up parking space
  • How we manage parking for motorcycles
  • How we consult on controlled parking zones (CPZs)
  • How we match the hours of a CPZ to the local area.
You can read more here and complete the online survey here.

A drop-in session will take place on Wednesday 24 February at Stoke-Newington Library, 3 to 5pm.

Please contact us if you'd like us to make any points on your behalf.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Wind turbine update

Residents have overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to the idea of having a wind turbine on Hackney Marshes to generate green energy.

In response to the Council’s recent public consultation, 87 per cent said they were in favour of the proposal. Over 700 local residents took part.

We support the plans - 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 wind turbine could provide enough energy to power nearly all of Hackney's street lights by night.

The Council will now begin a procurement process with the aim of buying power generated by both turbines, for up to 25 years.

If a good deal can be secured for Hackney, the Council will move to the next stage. The chosen turbine operator would then have to submit a detailed planning application for the proposed East Marsh turbine, giving residents a further chance to comment.