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, 28 February 2014

Council Budget for 2014/15

On Wednesday this week, the Council passed the Budget for 2014/15.

There is £1.1bn of spending in the budget on vital services in Hackney including:
  • £47.7m on the public realm including street cleaning, graffiti removal, maintaining street lights, recycling, providing cycle training for local residents
  • £86m on adult social care – including supporting residents to live as independently as possible, mental health services, and services for people with learning disabilities
  • £7.7m on libraries, museum and culture.
  • £7.5m on managing Hackney’s 56 parks
  • £29.8m on public health services including sexual health services, reducing obesity, smoking cessation and drug and alcohol misuse services.
  • £254m on schools
  • £6.7m on environmental health, licensing and planning
  • £41.5m on children’s social care
  • £16m on the Young Hackney service
  • £4.6m on community safety, the integrated gangs unit, domestic violence response and emergency planning.

Council tax has also been frozen for the ninth consecutive year. At the Budget meeting, Mayor Pipe made it clear that increasing Council Tax would not have made up for the scale of cuts imposed on Hackney by central Government. He said: "Increasing Council Tax at this time would add more financial pressure to those in need, for little benefit to services. Despite collecting 97% of what is owed each year, a 2% rise in Council Tax bills would yield only £360,000 extra which is dwarfed by the £100m cut in central Government grant."

There have been unprecedented cuts to council funding from the Coalition Government since 2010 and £100m has been cut from Hackney’s grant.  The cuts have been disproportionately high in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and there has been a sustained attempt from central Government to permanently reduce the size and scope of local services. As Jules Pipe set out when introducing the Budget, the priority in Hackney has been to keep providing services that residents depend on, finding new ways of working and new sources of funding.

He said: “We have had to make tough decisions and we have seen job losses, in common with many local authorities up and down the country, and it is clear that we will have to make further tough decisions in the future. Our priority over the coming year is to protect the services that matter most to them, to keep our streets clean, keep our parks and libraries open and welcoming and to care for the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The Tory and Lib Dem groups on the Council put forward amendments to the Budget. These included measures such as stopping 20mph zones, Controlled Parking Zones, cutting the street cleaning budget, and the highways maintenance budget. This would have a big material impact on our environment in Hackney and is a reckless approach.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Consultation on Community Infrastructure Levy

The Council has been consulting on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and there’s still time to have your say – the deadline for comments is 26th February at 5pm.

CIL allows local authorities to fund infrastructure by charging on new developments in their area. This can include parks, schools, community facilities, and leisure centres, and other similar examples of infrastructure. It cannot be used to fun affordable housing.

The consultation sets out the proposed CIL rates that will be charged on different types of developing in Hackney. It is also asking for views on a draft list of possible infrastructure projects which could be funded through CIL.

This is the part that you might be interested in as a Stoke Newington resident, as the draft list includes:

  • Provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of new and existing transport infrastructure, including:
    • Support to TfL investment relating to Stoke Newington Gyratory
    • A10 Junction improvements
    • Hackney wide cycling improvements.

  • Provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of new and existing open space, which includes Abney Park Cemetery
The list is in Appendix 2 of this document. All the details about the CIL consultation are online here. 

We have campaigned for years for the removal of the one way system. Following a consultation with local residents in 2011 which was clear there was local support for this, we have continued to work with the Council and TfL (who control the road) to push for future options to be investigated and developed in order to take forward the changes.

Please do take the time to have your say - and email your comments to CommunityInfrastructureLevy@hackney.gov.uk 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Stoke Newington ward forum - 3rd March - on local parks and green spaces

The next Stoke Newington ward forum is on 3rd March 7pm at the Methodist Church on Stoke Newington High Street.

The meeting will focus on local parks and open spaces. There will be updates on the latest plans for West Hackney Recreation Ground and Abney Park.

Representatives will also be there from Kynaston Gardens and the Yorkshire Grove play area to exchange ideas about how to encourage participation and a range of activities in our local green spaces – and ensuring they are safe and well managed.

We will also identify whether there are any ‘unloved spaces’ locally that could do with sprucing up!

If you’re interested in local parks and green spaces please do come along and join in the discussion. Ward forums are an opportunity to bring people together to identify priorities for improving our area.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Special Policy Area update

The Council has now agreed to adopt a ‘Special Policy Area’ in Dalston. This will extend up as far as the Evering Road/Stoke Newington Road junction on the A10.

We have written about this previously as it’s been an important issue for many residents in our ward who live on or off the A10.

Our position has always been that there needs to be a balance between the night time economy with late night venues and the right of those living nearby to get a good night’s sleep. There are also public safety issues associated with a large concentration of pubs and clubs that need to be taken into account. There have been an increasing number of complaints from residents and the police about anti social behaviour related to licensed premises. Theft has increased in Dalston by 94% since 2009, and the number of alcohol related ambulance call outs by 55%.

The Special Policy Area is not about preventing new clubs and pubs from opening as some have claimed. There has been a SPA in operation in Shoreditch for a number of years and this is a thriving area for going out, attracting people from all across London.

What the SPA does mean is that when new venues open, they have to be able to demonstrate that they will not add to the cumulative impact in a particular area in terms of noise nuisance and public safety, and that they can demonstrate a certain standard of operation. Each application is still considered on a case by case basis. In addition, existing late night licenses will not be affected. 

The SPA helps to control the rapid expansion of late night venues in a more managed way – and ensure a better balance between business needs and the negative impacts experienced by residents.

The decision report on the Special Policy Area is online here. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Changes in Stoke Newington ward

As you may be aware, there was a review of the local ward boundaries in Hackney and this means that for the May 22nd local elections residents will be voting in new wards. 

The changes are because of Hackney’s rising population, and Central Government decided that there was a need to ensure more equal numbers of residents in each ward.

The old Stoke Newington Central ward is changing. The southern part from Palatine Road and Somerford Estate down will be moving into the new Shacklewell ward. Stoke Newington ward will take in some of the roads north of Church Street, and west of Nevill Road. The full map is available here.

Cllr Louisa Thomson and Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas are currently councillors in Stoke Newington Central and will be standing in the new Stoke Newington ward. They are joined by Mete Coban. Cllr Rita Krishna is sadly standing down after being a councillor in the area since 2002. She has also been the Cabinet member for Children’s Services for the past 8 years. We are sorry to see her go and wish her all the best for the future. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

20mph speed limit extended to main roads

At Full Council last week, the Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods confirmed that 20mph zones will be rolled out to all main roads in Hackney.

All residential areas in Hackney have 20mph zones in place, but it has been harder to extend this to main roads, as the Police have been reluctant to enforce it. Hackney has been trialling 20mph zones on main roads that we share with Islington, and there has been a positive response from the Police following this.

20mph zones on main roads will be enforced through lines and signs, resetting cameras and changes in police guidance.

At the moment, this does not apply to TfL controlled roads, but the Council is committed to working with them to see if this might be possible in the future.

We really welcome this announcement – improving road safety is vitally important in Stoke Newington particularly as we know some streets have suffered from being rat runs, there are a large number of children walking to school and we have one of the highest percentage of people cycling to work in London. 

Manor Road, Rectory Road and Shacklewell Lane will become 20mph in our area. A map of the changes can be downloaded