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.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A response to Newmark Properties and Sainsbury's

On Monday we wrote to Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s asking both companies to attend a public meeting to discuss the proposed development at Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington.

The letter raised serious concerns about the development and highlighted that a deeply flawed consultation has provided little opportunity for the views of the local community to be properly considered.

Yesterday we received a response from Four Communications on behalf of Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s.

The response fails to address our concerns and rejects the request for a public meeting.

Four Communications state in their letter that a planning application will only be submitted “once we are satisfied we have addressed the key issues and have the best scheme possible for Stoke Newington.”

The best way to understand this is by hearing directly from the residents and businesses that the proposals will affect.

We have issued the following statement in response:

“The response from Four Communications is inadequate and shows the continuing unwillingness of Newmark Properties and Sainsbury's to consult with and listen to local residents. They have yet again failed to address the issues with the Wilmer Place development and have rejected our request for a public meeting.

“It is about time that Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s take responsibility for the significant impact this development would have on local residents and businesses and commit to attending a public meeting before any planning application is submitted.

"We will be writing again to Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s to urge them to reconsider their position.”

Monday, 22 August 2011

Wilmer Place: Holding Sainsbury’s and Newmark Properties to Account

Labour Councillors in Lordship, Stoke Newington Central and Clissold wards and Diane Abbott MP have today written an open letter to Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s calling on them to attend a public meeting so residents have a proper opportunity to scrutinise and discuss the plans for a new development at Wilmer Place.

In the letter we highlight the serious concerns we have with the proposed development and the deeply flawed consultation process which has not allowed local residents to have their say.

We strongly believe that both Sainsbury’s and Newmark Properties should be properly accountable for the significant impact the development would have on residents and local businesses in Stoke Newington.

We are, therefore, calling on Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s to attend a public meeting in Stoke Newington to discuss the proposals in detail and that both companies commit to attending such a meeting before any planning application is submitted.

Open letter on the proposed development at Wilmer Place:

22 August 2011

Dear Mr Cohen,

RE: Proposed Development of Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington

We write to raise serious concerns about the proposed development at Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington.

We do not support the current plans for the site and are concerned that a deeply flawed consultation process has provided little opportunity for the views of local residents to be properly considered.

We ask, therefore, that Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s attend a public meeting in Stoke Newington to discuss the proposals in detail and that both companies commit to attending such a meeting before any planning application is submitted.

The following is summary of our key concerns with the proposed development:

1. Hackney Council’s Core Strategy Policy 25 on the Historic Environment states that “all development should make a positive contribution to the character of Hackney’s historic and built environment.” We are at a loss to explain how demolishing part of an old terrace building on the High Street makes a positive contribution to Hackney’s built environment.

2. The Core Strategy also states that the Council should encourage a diverse range of developments within its major and district centres, including Stoke Newington. These developments are required to enhance the environmental quality of the area and to resist the loss of shops.

Stoke Newington is home to a successful and diverse independent retail and evening economy. Neither you nor Sainsbury’s appear to have assessed the impact a 24,000 square foot retail store will have on the local economy and whether it will lead to the loss of local shops in the area.

3. You have repeatedly made reference to the 2005 ‘Hackney Retail and Leisure Study’ to justify the proposals on the grounds that the study identified land at Wilmer place as ‘suitable for retail and leisure uses.’ This is misleading and certainly not an accurate representation of Hackney Council policy. Council planning documents designate Wilmer Place as suitable for a range of uses – of which retail is only one.

4. Wilmer Place is part of the Stoke Newington Conservation Area. The Stoke Newington Conservation Area Appraisal states that “the opportunities for new development in the Conservation Area are very limited because of the intensely built-up nature of the townscape.”

Where new development is to be carried out, it should follow a number of key principles, including: respecting the scale, massing and height of the surrounding historic properties and reflecting the existing details and materials of the historic buildings in the surrounding area.
The Appraisal also states that views from Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington High Street and out of Abney Park Cemetery “must be preserved by not allowing new development which is too dominant or obtrusive.” The proposals as they currently stand do not appear to respect these requirements.

5. We are not clear on what proportion of the forty-four residential units will be affordable, and what proportion will be family-sized.

6. The plans show an entrance to an underground car park on the High Street. This part of the High Street is very narrow, and the entrance is near to two junctions on a red route and bus stops. Access into Wilmer Place from Church Street for delivery vehicles is also very narrow and residents from Wilmer Place are understandably concerned about noise and disruption from delivery trucks, particularly as no detail has been provided on the timings of these.
It is our understanding that you have not carried out an assessment of the transport implications of the development; including the impact that access into the site from both Church Street and the High Street will have on traffic and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

The lack of detailed information about this and the other serious implications the development will have on biodiversity, conservation and the local economy is of considerable concern. We would expect a thorough assessment to be carried out in each of these areas and for the results to be published in full.

Consultation on the proposals has also been characterised by the failure of Sainbury’s to engage with and understand the local community’s concerns about the development. This is despite a corporate responsibility policy that commits Sainsbury’s to being a “good neighbour” and to play “an active role in local communities.”

Both Sainsbury’s and Newmark Properties should be properly accountable for the significant impact this development would have on residents and local businesses in Stoke Newington. We urge representatives from both companies to attend a public meeting at the earliest opportunity.

Copies of this letter have been sent to J Sainsbury’s in order to highlight our concerns at the company’s failure to engage with the local community.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Diane Abbott MP
Cllr Edward Brown, Lordship Ward
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Stoke Newington Central Ward
Cllr Rita Krishna, Stoke Newington Central Ward
Cllr Wendy Mitchell, Clissold Ward
Cllr Daniel Stevens, Lordship Ward
Cllr Louisa Thomson, Stoke Newington Central Ward

CC David Tyler, Chairman, J Sainsbury PLC
Justin King, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury PLC
Luke Jensen, Group Development Director, J Sainsbury PLC
Roger Burnley, Retail and Logistics Director, J Sainsbury PLC
Neil Sachdev, Property Director, J Sainsbury PLC
Mark Rigby, Director of Corporate Affairs, J Sainsbury PLC
Alun Hayes, Director Politics, Four Communications

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Grant funding for organisations in Hackney

The deadline for the Council's Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Grants Programme is 22nd September.

Applications are now being invited for the Council's 2012/13 programme. Organisations can bid for Small Grants (up to £7,000), Holiday Playscheme Grants (up to £10,000) and Main Grants (up to £50,000).

Organisations receiving funding under this programme have demonstrated how their projects and programmes deliver one or more of the seven objectives in Hackney's Sustainable Community Strategy. These are

  • Reduce poverty by supporting residents into sustainable employment, and promoting employment opportunities.

  • Help residents to become better qualified and raise educational aspirations. Ensure the educational improvement of Hackney's children and young people is excellent.

  • Promote health and wellbeing for all and support independent living.

  • Make the borough safer, and help people feel safe in Hackney.

  • Promote mixed communities in well-designed neighbourhoods, where people can access high quality, affordable housing.

  • Be a sustainable community, where all citizens take pride in and take care of Hackney and its environment, for future generations.

  • Provision of Holiday Play Schemes.

More information about the grants and application process is online here.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

After the riots: practical things we can do

Siva Kandiah is one of the local businessmen who was most affected by the rioting and looting on Monday evening on Clarence Road. Hackney Council is helping Mr Kandiah by providing support and advice, but there is also a fund set up by concerned local residents. All the details of how to donate are on the HCVS website here.

Can you help the Police? Operation Withern has been set up to investigate the last few days of disorder and violence in London. Anyone with information should call the Major Investigation Team on 020 8345 4142. The Police are also asking people to look at CCTV images online here http://www.flickr.com/photos/metropolitanpolice to help with identifying people connected with the looting across London.

The Government confirmed on 11th August that there will be a £20m High Street Support Scheme which affected businesses will be able to access – once further details are released, the Council will see whether any of this can be used in Hackney.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Surgeries in August

Please note that we will not be holding any formal surgeries in August.

Our next advice surgery will be at 10am on Saturday 10th September.

However, if you have anything that you would like to talk to us about in the meantime, please do not hesitate to
contact us via email or phone, and if necessary we can arrange an appointment to meet.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A further update - dealing with the aftermath of Monday's riots

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN UPDATE FROM THURSDAY 11th AUGUST - these are obviously circumstances that are changing rapidly due to the live investigation.

Since the events of Monday evening there have been no significant disturbances in Hackney and the streets have been relatively quiet.

The information below is an update on what the Council and the Police have been doing in Hackney to deal with the aftermath of Monday’s events. All council services are running as normal and have been for the last two days.


As reported in the press there have been 16,000 police officers deployed across London and this increased police presence will continue. Locally in Hackney the Safer Neighbourhood Teams are doing more patrols helping to reassure residents.

The police are currently assessing 30+ hours of CCTV footage, from council CCTV cameras which will provide a fuller picture of the number and scale of incidents around the borough. Importantly, this will also help secure more convictions of those who took part in the events.

Around 52 arrests have been made so far in Hackney and at least 30 people have now been charged.

Cleaning up

Council street cleaners worked as soon as it was safe to clear debris from the streets. Most areas where there had been trouble were clear by 5am on Tuesday morning; streets had been washed down by 7.30am; graffiti on Clarence Road was washed off by 7am and burnt cars were removed by lunchtime. Repairs to the carriage way on Clarence Road will be completed by tomorrow.

In addition all minor street lighting damage was repaired on Tuesday and 2 burnt lamp columns will be repaired on Monday and reconnected on Wednesday
Bins and loose street furniture have temporarily been removed as a precautionary measure.

We'd like to pay tribute to the street cleaners and their amazing work in making sure Hackney was cleared up as soon as possible, and all the residents who turned up to volunteer help clean on Tuesday morning at the Town Hall. This reminds us of all that is great about our borough and how much we all care about our local community.

Supporting local businesses

15 businesses were damaged in the Hackney Central area and 5 in Dalston. 7 of these are locally owned ones.

The Council has been visiting businesses in the town centre on a daily basis and distributed advice sheets from the Police, advising on safety measures, and helping with the clear up.

Town Centre managers have also been talking to businesses in their areas to provide additional advice.

The Met have also issued advice to businesses here.

And remember if you have any information for the Police or want to check their latest advice for the public – please look online here.

The Mayor of London and the Government have announced funds to help those areas most affected by the events of earlier this week. The details of this are not yet clear.

The strength of our community in Hackney has been evident since Monday – showing the real character of Hackney.

Please do get in touch with us if you have any suggestions about how we can all work together to rebuild trust.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

An update

Over the course of yesterday and last night there were no significant disturbances in Hackney and the streets were relatively quiet.

We hope that this signals the end of the events that were experienced on Monday afternoon and evening. However, the local police have confirmed that they will continue to be present and have additional officers throughout the borough over the coming days. For the lastest advice from the Police, please do check the Met Police website.

All Hackney Council services are open today as normal and there will be updates provided on the Council's website if required.

We will update this blog with further information as we have it. As always, please do be in contact if you have questions or concerns.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Last night in Hackney

Like everyone we are shocked and saddened by the unrest and violence in Hackney last night – our thoughts are very much with the local businesses whose property was damaged and residents who were placed in frightening situations beyond their control.

It seems that last night’s events did not spread up to Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street and by this morning, the roads and pavements had been cleared thanks to the fantastic work of council staff. However, we can understand that people are nervous about further unrest and we encourage you to follow the advice of the Police and stay indoors if there is more disorder.

We are proud of our community in Stoke Newington and Hackney – we are strong and we know we can get through this together.

In response to last night’s events, the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe issued the following statement: “I am appalled by the events of last night. There were people bent on violence who attached not just property and local businesses but put residents in fear of their lives. The Council has cleared away all the debris from last night and Hackney is going about its business, but if we are to avoid a repeat of last night, I am urging families across London to make sure they know where their children are and to support the police in identifying perpetrators.

“The Council’s cleaners were on the streets throughout the night and had cleared away all the debris, apart from a few burnt out cars, by 7.30am, and I would like to pay tribute to them for their hard work. I would also like to thank the several hundred residents and volunteers who turned up at Hackney Town Hall this morning offering to help clean up the borough. This shows overwhelming generosity and community spirit and many were keen to go and help in other parts of London when it was clear the clean up in Hackney was already complete.”

Monday, 8 August 2011

Stoke Newington gyratory consultation response

Earlier this year, the Council asked local residents and businesses for their views on the future of the one-way system in Stoke Newington.

The consultation results have now been published and are online

The headline responses are:

850 responses were received in total and 92% of respondents identified themselves as Hackney residents; the highest number of responses came from postcode areas N16 0 and N16 7 which correspond to the Stoke Newington Central ward where the gyratory sits.

75% of respondents consider traffic levels to be a problem in the area and 67% considers traffic levels have a negative effect on the development and quality of life in the area.

Approximately a third of respondents (32.5%) consider parking arrangements to be inadequate, another third (35.1%) to be adequate and another third doesn't know/is not sure (32.5%)

A majority of respondents (70%) would support the removal of the Stoke Newington Gyratory, 14.5% oppose it and 15.5% consider that they don't know and mostly asked for more detail on the proposals before giving an opinion.

What happens next?

The Council has fed back the results of the public consultation to Transport for London (TfL). Over the next few months the Council will be working closely with TfL to develop clear objectives that will help to establish a range of options for improvements in the area. They will also consider and review the traffic and transport issues raised during the consultation as part of this process.

Wilmer Place update - Conservation Area

Another useful update from our colleague in Lordship ward explaining more about the Conservation Area in Stoke Newington and what this means in terms of any future development on Wilmer Place.

Full post

Please do contact us if you have any questions - we've been attending a few of the
Stokey Local meetings over the last week and are still stressing the importance of letting the developer know the strength of feeling from local residents about his proposed development - before a planning application is submitted.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hackney One Carnival

Hackney One Carnival is back again and this year the route will be going through Stoke Newington!

The Carnival starts at Ridley Road market on Sunday 7th August at midday and will proceed up the A10 and along Church Street to end up in Clissold Park at 2pm. There will be a festival of live music, dance and activities in the park from 1pm onwards.

More details online here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Safer Stoke Newington

The latest Safer Stoke Newington newsletter was delivered last week with Hackney Today.

You can also download a copy online here.

This issue contains updates about cycle security; the dog control consultation; the charging of those responsible for a violent incident in the ward earlier this year and an update on the Community Advisory Panels.

Remember you can get in touch with our local team here.