The full results of the survey, which is the cover story in the latest Hackney Independent delivered to 4000 homes in Haggerston ward, make shocking reading. Crime and anti-social behaviour top the list of people’s priorities (70% chose it as their most serious issue) while repairs and cleaning came next as one of the 3 top issues that concerned people (56%). Lack of community facilities and people being priced out of the area came next (35% and 24% respectively).
Hackney IWCA started the mammoth survey back in the Autumn of last year as none of the major parties seemed to be listening to any of the concerns of Hackney’s working class majority. Hackney Independent spokesperson Peter Sutton says “Councillors from the main parties claim to represent their communities but when was the last time you even saw your councillor, let alone got any help from them? Simple issues like repairs to flats and estate cleaning should be easy for councillors to deal with, but the truth is they don’t want to know. Most of them are more concerned with their own political careers than serving the community”.
Back in November 2001, Hackney IWCA criticised the Council for paying the pollsters MORI thousands of pounds for carrying out a survey on people’s attitudes to the council. At the time Carl Taylor of Hackney Independent stated that “the council is using our money to pay other people to come round and do their job for them – to find out information that most people could tell them for nothing!”. The Hackney Independent Your Point of View survey – carried out by volunteers for free – reveals just how little local people think of Hackney Council and how many of them are prepared to do something about it at the next round of council elections. Encouragingly, 84% of those surveyed said they would consider voting for an alternative to the main parties in May. As Carl Taylor commented, “You can’t really blame people for not wanting to vote for the main parties when all you get are the same old broken promises. Labour have abandoned the people of Haggerston by shutting down the pool and threatening the Apples and Pears play area with closure. It’s hardly a surprise that people are turning their backs on this kind of politics”.
Laughably, the Conservative Party have just started their own “In Touch” postal survey in the same area, only 4 weeks before the council elections. As Peter Sutton comments “this is just a desperate attempt to find issues to campaign on in the run up to the elections. To call their survey “In Touch” is a little ironic as some of their members are supposed to be representing parts of Haggerston Ward already and really should know what people think”.
Wenlock Barn TRA chair and Hackney Independent member, Tony Butler comments on the latest news about attempts to gentrify the area.
It is not the fault of Shoreditch council tenants that our homes ‘have been allowed to be run down to the condition where they are now deemed worthless’. Over the years, our rents have been paid only to be mismanaged by Hackney Council in whatever scurrilous means it has allowed it’s self. I wonder if any councillor’s homes are up for the draconian affects of demolition. These people are the very apologists who put us in this situation and laud up the value of such schemes as it means they do not have to take responsibility for council housing and pray, if it ever comes to it, that they will escape surcharging for the incompetent way it has managed our affairs. P.S. Which Housing Association is Hackney Labour M.P. Brian Sedgemore chair of?
The Wenlock Barn Estate 4 years ago made it plain to the council that we did not want Stock Transfer and caused them to back down when the overwhelming majority signed a petition to reject stock transfer and stay council tenants. Our insistence on this has not changed we do not view our homes as been decrepit or our social lives as impoverished. Yes, there are problems with our homes but using social engineering as a mechanism to destable our values is not going to work. We know what we are worth and what we want. We have paid for the maintenance of our homes over the years and have the moral right to be acknowledged for this and not used as a tool to encamp essential/key workers (what ever they are?) in to our homes our area.
My block was once referred to as a ‘bad social mix’. Where the consultants got this from, I cannot imagine because I get on with every one in my block. I can only allude this has come from a set of prejudices that have no connection with the culture and value system that has grown up over the 30 years this estate has lived. 1477 properties cannot be wrong.
The spectre of demolition still haunts the minds of every one but the council tenants concerned. We buried it before and we will bury it again.
WENLOCK BARN IS NOT FOR SALE. IS NOT FOR DEMOLITION. IS NOT FOR STOCK TRANSFER. If they do not believe us, let them come and take us on. We are organised, informed and ready. Take note Lord Falconer we know where you are at. You owe us and not the other way round.