November update

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November update

Financial crisis

We are happy to confirm that Hackney did not have any monies in Icleandic or other banks, which have recently collapsed.

The council’s reserves and balances of £344m are spread over 23 institutions, mostly domestic, all of which at the moment seem secure.

Tackling climate change in Hackney

Hackney currently has the lowest per capita CO2 omissions of any London borough, although it should be acknowledged that some of this is due to fuel poverty and deprivation. The challenge will be to stop this growing with increased prosperity.

Measures and achievements so far include –
 Introduction of one of the greenest council vehicle fleets
 Free parking for electric and other green vehicles
 Significantly increased rates of recycling with compulsory recycling from street properties
 Voted best council for cycling
 Free energy advice service for all residents
 Working particularly with council tenants and leaseholders to reduce energy consumption and promote renewable sources
 The council buys it’s own electricity from a hydro-electric provider
 2007 winner of the Mayor of London’s green procurement awards

Councillor Sophie Linden, our cabinet member for environmental sustainability, will be the guest speaker at our November local Labour meeting.

Kings Crescent estate

Residents are growing increasingly concerned at the perceived lack of progress, and are fearful of the implications of the “credit crunch”.

We are pressing for
 An immediate start to the interim repairs
 A firm date for the refurbishment of the southern blocks to begin
 The Heads of Terms of an agreement with the developer and housing association to be signed

Community Safety

Feryat will be attending the next CAP meeting on the 12th of November.

Finfuture are hosting a workshop on making Blackstock road safer for women from 6-7.30pm on Tuesday 11th November at 225-229 Seven Sisters Road. This is open to all women in the area.

Woodberry Down

The planning sub-committee approved the new master plan for the regeneration of Woodberry Down this month. This should allow all those bidding more certainty about what we as an authority are seeking to achieve in the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, Berkley Homes have not started work yet on the development of the old school site on Woodberry Grove due to issues in the housing market. The council and Hackney Homes are exploring sources of funding to make the project more commercially viable. Our priority is to make sure the amount of affordable homes are maintained and that the new community centre is not delayed.

On a more positive note, the planning application for the new Skinners’ Academy has been received and is open for public consultation. It promises to be an exceptional new facility for the area, and the Head is adamant that it will become a centre for community activity and not just a school.

Darren is continuing to support the Manor House Development Trust as it goes from strength to strength. They have just submitted a bid for additional money to provide new and expanded youth activities. We are also exploring how we can bring the old boys club on Green Lanes back into use.

Living in Hackney

The Living in Hackney scrutiny commission has started a new investigation into the issue of overcrowding in Hackney. We have begun to look at the levels of overcrowding in the borough, and the planning and regeneration directorate’s plans for the provision of new larger affordable homes. Darren would welcome any thoughts or experiences from ward members that he can feed into the commission’s report.

Hackney Homes

Hackney Homes is preparing for a second inspection by the Audit Commission during November. If the inspectors rate the organisation as two stars or above, we will be able to access an additional £225m in credits to complete the Decent Homes programme.

The inspection will cover cross cutting themes, i.e. value for money, access, customer care and equality and diversity, with particular emphasis on value for money. The inspection should last for about 2 weeks with the inspectors returning a verdict at the beginning of February 2009.
Feryat is one of the council representatives on the Hackney Homes board.

Manor TRA – Portland Rise, Amwell Court and Lakeside Court

There was a very good turn out compared to previous meetings. General management and maintenance issues dominated discussion, with a number raised by Lakeside residents.

The young people who took part in the summer youth activities funded through the Tenants Levy, will have a certificate ceremony on the 6th of November.

Alexandra National

We are still seeking new development partners to help regenerate the site and provide rented, intermediate, private, and possibly retail, accommodation.

Myddleton Grange estate

We continue to support resident representatives, police and housing associations in establishing a proper T&RA, and providing regular activities for young people. Brian is attending their next meeting on 12th November.

Metric “martyrs”

Members may have seen some recently publicity about this. Surprisingly, the coverage was almost entirely misleading!

The issue in all these cases was short selling, i.e. defrauding people by giving them less than they were paying for. Thirteen traders were cautioned, and all but one either changed their practices or pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court. Most were using old measures in an attempt to make it more difficult for trading standards to enforce against them, rather than for ideological reasons.

There are more serious charges pending against the sole remaining trader, and the council has been abiding by the sub judice rule, unlike this particular individual. It is our belief that she has been using the gullible eurosceptic media to distract attention from these.

Council 29.10.8

One of the major items was to give the freedom of the borough to the Territorial Army in recognition of the individual sacrifices of soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Brian was Chief Whip for the evening, and used his own question to emphasise that our support for the Olympics should be based on demanding a lasting legacy for the borough.

Wilberforce Road

We had the derelict phone box at the top of the road removed.

School Results

Our local primary Parkwood, has again had outstanding results –

Year 6 (age 11) Hackney National Parkwood
English 75% 81% 84%
Maths 72% 78% 84%
Science 80% 88% 92%

All this has again been achieved with an intake which is significantly more deprived than the Hackney average, e.g. 60% eligible for free school meals compared to the Hackney average of 41%.


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