Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Our latest report
Kings Crescent estate
We expect to finally introduce the new development partnership – Lovells builders and Family Mosaic Housing Association – to residents at a meeting this Wednesday.
The refurbishment of the southern blocks is proceeding, funded directly by the council and government grant. There was a second open day for residents on Wednesday 14th May, and planning permission is now being sought. A programme of environmental “catch-up” and improvements works are underway.
The subsequent meeting of the steering group, which Brian chairs, is on 30th July.
Match-day parking scheme
The much-delayed scheme is now scheduled for introduction in August, ahead of the new season. It will cover the whole of our ward.
The response to the consultation showed 67% support overall, rising to 77% within a mile of the stadium.
The introduction of similar controls during special events, such as the recent Springsteen concerts, will not be implemented at this time. The situation will be reviewed after the scheme has been in operation for a year.
Council 25th June
We raised two issues. One was the recent situation when building works to a house at the corner of Princess Crescent and Gloucester Drive left it dangerous and eventually requiring demolition. The second was to clarify how we would continue to promote Fairtrade principles.
The Labour Group proposed a motion criticizing Boris Johnson’s intention to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes. We also introduced a deputation from the Hackney branch of the London Cycling Campaign, who were strongly against the proposal.
The debate exposed the usual pro-car, anti-pedestrian, anti-cyclist and anti-public transport views of the local Tories. Most notable were the constant outbursts of Tory councillor Maureen Middleton who shouted “I hate bikes” several times.
The Lib Dems supported us. The “Greens” didn’t turn up!
We reported in error last month that the Cabinet meeting at the end of April approved a package of measures to support those shopkeepers on the estate wishing to transfer into new units on the “old school site”. In fact the report was deferred as a few matters still need to be resolved.
The Estate Development Committee which has been main method of resident involvement in the regeneration plans, reconstituted itself as the Woodberry Down Community Organisation, with a wider remit at its most recent meeting.
The revised masterplan will be considered at a future planning committee.
The competitive process to select a RSL and a developer for the remaining sites is continuing.
We are hoping to have a stall at the funday this Saturday.
We had been hinting for some time at the major police operation planned against organised crime on Blackstock. It may be worth restating why this was necessary – figures from the police and phone companies show that well over half of all mobile phones stolen in London were later resold there. Increasingly laptops, PDAs and SatNavs also featured. Indeed it was the biggest single hotspot for such crime in the whole country.
With regard to the dispersal zone, the latest info is that the police do now intend to apply for it to continue for another three months. The imposition of the zone was something we strongly supported because as well as the actual crime, one of the main issues raised with us by residents was the intimidating feeling that just having so many people hanging about on the street caused. There were also many reports of actual harassment, particularly of women and girls.
There are also plans to set up a separate Safer Neighbourhoods Team for Blackstock. As far as we know this is the first such cross-boundary team in the Met. We have written to the Mayor pledging our support and requesting his.
At the same time as increasing enforcement activity, we have always emphasised the need to work with the residents and traders to promote the area positively. A new charter attempting to summarise the community’s aspirations for the area was launched on the 29th May.
A Blackstock Road Festival, which will include closing the northernmost part of the road, is scheduled for Sunday 10th August.
Portland Rise and Amwell Court
Feryat will be attending their next meeting on 17th July.
We are currently looking for new development partners to help regenerate the site and provide rented, intermediate, private, and possibly retail, accommodation.
Myddleton Grange estate
We recently met with resident representatives, police and housing associations on the estate to discuss establishing a proper T&RA, and getting activities for young people during the summer. We will be following this up with further efforts.
We have been stressing how sound the council’s finances are under the current administration. The accounts for last year were successfully closed on 30th June, the earliest ever deadline. Amongst other things, they show –
§ Last year the council spent £929,508,000 providing services to residents, businesses and visitors
§ We had a surplus of £26,294,000, which has been rolled forward into this year’s budget (most of this was deliberate contingency funding)
§ The authority’s assets have a notional net value of £1,956,660,000
§ Our pension fund is worth £675,910,000