Our December report
Tory Leader resigns / Springfield Ward bye-election
We have commented several times recently about how useless the local Tories are. It seems that their own (former) Leader shares that assessment. Eric Ollerenshaw has now resigned but in a particularly cynical act, ensured it was timed to trigger a bye-election on the Thursday before Xmas.
Despite this Labour are fighting hard to win the vacancy in Springfield Ward. It’s one that we never seriously worked in the past, so with some effort, a surprise victory is very possible.
Budget setting 2008/9
Next years budget looks like being the tightest since the early days of the last administration, without as many opportunities for growth as in recent years. The reasons are
* a tight overall Comprehensive Spending Review
* increased spending in certain areas, especially both children’s and adult social services
* changes to the way subsidy works which generally don’t favour London
* the Conservatives using their control of London Councils to make Labour ones pay more
Departments have been told to work up between 5 and 7% efficiency savings so that we have the necessary resources to fund unavoidable growth and some more of our manifesto priorities.
One issue which will be part of the discussion is what to do about the Hackney element of the Council Tax. Although increasing it is an option, it represents a fair amount of pain for relatively little financial gain. We would appreciate resident’s views.
Labour Group 20th November
The main discussions were about next years budget and the residential extensions planning guidance.
Council 28th November
The main business was the adoption of Hackney’s Licensing Policy for the next 3 years. The revised policy contains most of the successful elements of the previous one including
– a presumption that planning, fire and all other necessary consents must be gained first
– a Special Policy Area protecting residents of Shoreditch
– positive initiatives such as Pubwatch and the All Bar One awards to encourage responsible operators
– close co-operation with the police and other agencies
Brian and Feryat are members of the licensing committees. Brian used his question to highlight the number of review requests being dealt with, and that the council were being pro-active in seeking licence reviews and revocations where necessary.
Feryat was recently appointed to the board, and will be part of the team ensuring that it’s ready for the re-inspection.
Demolition is proceeding well with virtually all of Codicote Terrace and Weston Court now gone. The contractors are still on schedule to hand over a clear site before the end of December.
The Regeneration Steering Group met again on the 14th November to consider revised proposals. The mews/courtyard style developments are gone from the current plans. The residential “green street” forming the reinstated Kings Crescent will now be wider, particularly where it meets the park. The revised plan showed the main shop on the Green Lanes side of this which is unacceptable.
This was intended to be followed by another Open Day to consult residents on18th December, but this may now be postponed until the early New Year.
The masterplan application was approved in September. The first of the detailed “Kickstart” (Phase 1) planning applications are due in the next couple of months. The height of the tower block on the corner of Woodberry Down and Woodberry Grove will be one of the most contentious points – it is currently proposed to be up to 26 stories high.
Two housing associations have reached the final stage and are still being considered for providing the social housing in the other phases. As previously explained, the appointed one will be required to establish a community based housing association for the estate as a dedicated subsidiary.
One change that has been agreed is that the main community center (in the base of the tower) will now be run by that CBHA rather than the Manor House Development Trust. In order to ensure it has an ongoing income stream, it will now own the retail units which will run south down that part of Woodberry Grove.
Hackney Homes are proposing to lead a local strategic partnership for Woodberry Down to help pull the work of various voluntary agencies together to provide a more comprehensive socio-economic regeneration programme.
We had a further briefing from the police on the 6th November with another planned for 6th December. They have confirmed their operation will now continue well into next year.
Police Community Advisory Panel
The latest CAP meeting held on 14/11/07 discussed future priorities for the community safety team, and came to the conclusion that Blackstock Road, vice on Brownswood Road and ASB on Woodberry Down estate should remain as the key priorities.
In October three vice enforcement operations were carried out resulting in 34 cautions and one arrest. A further 4 operations in November resulted in 1 PCN for ‘outraging public decency’ and 4 cautions.
A crack house on Lordship Road has been closed down, which might lead to decrease in vice as it was also used by the Brownwood prostitutes. A crack house in Kilpeck House is in the process of being closed down.
ASB problems on Myddleton grange have lead to parents of misbehaving young people being given acceptable behaviour plans, which if not adhered to could risk their tenancy.
Portland Rise and Amwell Court
A new estate manager for Portland Rise recently started, and a walkabout is planned for the 12th of December.
Councillors have been invited by Doug Mitchell of Amwell Court TRA to their meeting on the 13th of December, but we are still having problems with the dates for the new enhanced TRA meetings as they clash with other meetings
Youth provision in the ward
We have had discussions with Father Clive Lee from St Thomas Moore Church with regards to his work to bring together local faith groups to offer youth activities in the Manor House area. There will be a meeting between faith groups and TELCO at St Thomas Moore on December 16th.
We would like to wish you all a happy Hanukkah, Eid, Christmas, Winterval and New Year!