Councillors Report – March 08
Kings Crescent estate
Negotiations with the potential new development partners are going well. They have inevitably raised a significant number of issues concerning the draft PDA, so will take some time – at least a couple of months – before we know for certain whether we can proceed with them.The refurbishment of the southern blocks will proceed, funded directly by the council and government grant. There was an open day on Wednesday 27th February, to consult residents on the design. The whole estate was invited as it’s intended that these will be used as the template for any other refurbishments. Plans are available.The next meeting is of the Steering Group, which Brian chairs, is on 26th March.
Labour Group 15th January
The main items were about campaigning against post office closures, the continuing poor performance of Hackney Homes, rent rises, estate recycling and reports back from our Scrutiny chairs.
One of those post offices affected is on Blackstock Road, and residents may wish to consider how to support the campaign.
Work to replace the existing shopfront with a more modern one, which should help give it more presence in the area, is scheduled to begin on 3rd March.
Sadly Sgt Paul Gale’s secondment as Safer Town Centre Manager, from the British Transport Police is ending shortly. Paul has put a lot of work in over the last four years and will be missed. An expanded “safer, cleaner, greener” team will take over his role.
The detailed planning applications for the Kickstart/Phase1 should be decided at March’s planning committee. EDC representatives have decided to support the applications although they have concerns over the designs, especially with regards to some affordable flats which do not have separate toilet/bathroom facilities nor separate kitchen/diners.
The new CCTV system for Woodberry Down is now operational – with 5 cameras in crime hot spots. The system is linked to the corporate CCTV centre in Stoke Newington.
The first batch of students who are undertaking the Woodberry Works construction-training course will graduate this month. Over 90 applications have been received for the next round of courses, which will also include health/safety and catering.
The new older peoples day centre is due to open in April.
“Operation Rockrose”, the police activity on Blackstock, continues. Most of the arrests so far have been in connection with drugs and immigration, and not with handling stolen goods. They are still gathering intelligence on this. The checks on businesses by Environmental Health and LFB had generally gone well.
There is to be a new “North Area Problem Solving Team” (8 officers) and from Mar–Jun 08 this team will focus on the area. CI Jane Johnson said they would bear in mind that a French or Arabic speaking officer would be useful when they recruiting to this team.
The police are considering whether to seek a dispersal zone on BSR – there were some concerns raised that risked merely moving the problem away temporarily and it would come back again. It was also felt it would be better to directly target the individuals who are intimidating women. It was agreed that as a first step, a new a leaflet would be developed between the AAB and the police, to advise young men on the street what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
CI Johnson was working with the councils to draw up formal recommendations detailing environmental improvements which could assist with crime prevention. These recommendations could be used to support requests for funding eg for improved lighting.
At the same time as increasing enforcement activity, we have always emphasised the need to work with the traders and residents to promote the area positively. We are meeting on 17th March to take forward proposals for a BSR festival which may include closing the road.
Police Community Advisory Panel
The next CAP meeting is on the 12th March. We have had further discussions with the police re tackling anti-social behaviour on the Filterbeds estate. They are supporting the establishment of a neighbourhood watch group, the re-opening of the community centre, and funding for youth activities.
Portland Rise and Amwell Court
Feryat was at the latest TRA meeting on 21st February. Details of the proposed grant application made for the summer youth project have been clarified and accepted. Elevate who carry out youth projects for Pathmeads, will be running water sports activity with young people from the Amwell Court and Portland Rise estates. This will be over 6 week period for two groups of ten young people and will take place at the east reservoir. Funding of £1400 has been secured from the 10p Tenants Levy. The residents have requested help from the council to run some activities for adults and the elderly on both Amwell Court and Portland Rise, which Feryal will look in to.
Council 5th March
We will update after.
Hackney’s Council performance
The Audit Commission have now published their full Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the council. They said “Hackney Council is improving strongly. Hackney has a record of improvement in its priority areas and in contributing effectively to wider community outcomes.
Performance indicators for the last year show one of the highest rates of service improvement in London and a top quartile improvement rate nationally. The council still has some indicators within the lower quartiles, for example, satisfaction with sports and leisure facilities. The council has improved its housing services, recycling rates and the time to process benefit claims.
Hackney has also scored well in recent assessments of children’s services and adult social care and has improved its overall resident satisfaction ratings. The way the council uses its resources has improved in the last year. Hackney has strong and effective management and provides good community leadership which is continuing to improve civic pride.
Hackney has the capacity to deliver its robust plans for further improvement. It has a good understanding of where it needs to improve further and the appropriate actions required. There are no weaknesses or failures in corporate governance that would prevent improvement being sustained.”
As part of the 2007/8 programme, eleven new or replacement trees have already been planted in Somerfield Road.
Future plans include 5 additional ones in Wilberforce Road and 10 in Alexandra Grove. The Alexandra Grove planting arises directly out of proposals put to us by local residents.
In addition trees reported to us as damaged or dying, are to be replaced in Gloucester Drive and Portland Rise.
OFSTED Inspection – Parkwood School
The school was subject to a new style short notice inspection during the week of 4th March. The report is due to be published this week.
Brian Bell, Feryat Demirci and Darren Parker
Labour Councillors for Brownswood