Council Tax frozen for third year!
Labour Group 15th January
The main business was setting the budget for the coming year. We expect to be able to freeze the Hackney element of the council tax for the third year running, whilst continuing to implement our manifesto commitments, for example doubling the number of teams removing graffiti.
Work should begin shortly to replace the existing shopfront with a more modern one, which should help give it more presence in the area.
The detailed planning applications for the Kickstart/Phase1 schemes are due to be determined in the next few months. It has also been established that a revised masterplan will need to be submitted, consequent to the phasing changes and land swap arising from the listing of the primary school and health centre.
Residents and officers continue to assess the two shortlisted consortia to develop the other phases. As previously explained, the appointed RSL will be required to establish a community based housing association for the estate as a dedicated subsidiary.
Thankfully English Heritage declined to list Needwood, Nicholl and two other blocks.
Brownswood Road vice meeting
A meeting was held between the residents of the Brownswood Road and Queen Elizabeth’s Walk areas, Stoke Newington police, representatives from the Open Doors project and the DAT to discuss the problems relating to prostitution in the area.
Action to taken included
1. Crime prevention officer to look at ways to “design out” the problem.
2. Ask for the removal of the phone box at Hexton Court.
3. Increased patrols on Sundays.
Police Community Advisory Panel
The latest CAP meeting held on 9/1/08 discussed the neighbourhood policing priorities over the following 2 months – it was agreed to keep Brownswood Road, Blackstock Road and Woodberry Down as the top three.
Progress has been made in tackling anti-social behaviour on the Filterbeds estate – the police are supporting the establishment of a neighbourhood watch group and the re-opening of the community centre to be used as a base for youth activities. The Hackney youth service ‘purple bus’ has also visited the estate in the winter period to offer diversionary activities in the meantime.
Portland Rise and Amwell Court
Feryat was at the latest TRA meeting on 17th January where they made a decision on what to use their estate improvement budget for. The TRA have decided to use their EIB to continue to improve the stairwells in Portland Rise. Last year the stairs of Buckingham House were relined with a special material and this year Holyrood House will get their stairs done.
The tenant participation officer for Manor EC had made an application for a grant to run summer activities for the youth on the estate. The application was successful and Manor EC had been granted £1,400. However the TRA members were not aware of this application prior to the meeting, and have asked for everything to be halted until they get more information on how and who will make use of this money.
Council 30th January
At last Wednesday’s meeting, Brian criticised the new Tory Leader for trying to “jump the queue” in respect of an estate in one of their wards which is one of the 8 affected by the developments outlined at the top. He also attacked New River Tory Maureen Middleton for constantly advocating paying more than market value for homes which need to be repurchased on Woodberry Down.
On a happier note, we also confirmed the appointment of Tim Shields as the new Chief Executive. Tim has been the Director of Finance & Resources for the past several years and acting CE since last May, leading on the drive to “get better, faster”.
On an even happier note, we were pleased to welcome Joseph Stauber as the new Labour Councillor for Cazenove. Joe defected from the Liberal Democrats, who are now reduced to two members. It’s incredible to think that eight years ago they were effectively running the council.
Hackney’s Council performance
For the second year running, the council has been rated a 3 star authority – on a scale of 0 to 4 – by the District Auditor for its financial management and use of resources.
Our overall Comprehensive Performance Assessment by the Audit Commission is due at the end of the month. We have been told that it will give us a 3 star rating (also out of 0 to 4) for the first time.
This is an incredible turnaround from the position we inherited when we took back control six years ago, and a tribute to the work of Jules and the previous Labour Group. Give that guy a gong!
On the 29th January, the three of us toured the Olympic park. While it’s still hard to get an idea of what it will look like once finished, the scale of the work is extremely impressive and it seems a good start has been made.
London officially becomes the Olympic city on the 24th August this year.
Brian Bell, Feryat Demirci and Darren Parker
Labour Councillors for Brownswood