Event takes place on Tuesday January 16, 2007
3.00pm: Open for Tours
4.30pm: Sunset Bonfire
7.30pm: Broadcast of ITV’s ‘Disappearing London’ featuring the campaign
Fresh food will be served!
Extracts from the press release:
‘Please come to show the strength of support to showcase this precious part of Lea Valley’s heritage rather than the ‘Green’ Olympics plan to bulldoze 100-year-old Manor Garden Allotments.
David Mackay, Author of the original Stratford City plan and lead Architect for the Barcelona Olympic Village and Port – flagged up as the most successful Olympics for regeneration recently – wrote, ‘Unfortunately London has lost this opportunity by deciding to agree to cover the existing recreation facilities with the silliest architecture seen for years with no real concern for a legacy. So far as Legacy is concerned we are being asked to look at the Emperor’s New Clothes – so delicate that nobody can see them. If carried out, and with only five years to go, the Olympic legacy is more likely to be like a Hollywood set for a ghost town or an abandoned Expo site.’
The eviction date is set to be 2nd April at the latest.
Manor Gardens, bequeathed to be allotments ‘in perpetuity’ by their original owner the ‘ Right Hon’ Major Villiers, sit in the North central section of the Olympic Park. The LDA plan to remove them to make a footpath to the stadia and now to house a screen, destroying in the process a century of devoted cultivation and a close-knit community rooted in this irreplaceable site. Old timers, Tom and Albert, have been growing veg and keeping fit here for 54 and 58 years respectively, taking over from their fathers. 10 year old Boris, whose parents are members, nags them to come to the plot and wants to hand his plot down to his son. Members trust in the permanence of the site led one plot holder to scatter his brother’s ashes on his plot.
However this diverse community of Turks Cypriots, Greeks, Jamaicans, Africans and Brits welcome the potential for regeneration brought by the Olympic development. Rather than being moved out of the way they want to offer their contribution which seems to them to be entirely consistent with the Olympic and Government ambitions. They believe to remove the allotment gardens would be to rip out the ‘healthy heart’ of the Olympic Park area as well as to fragment the community.
Even if the Manor Gardening community could be protected by relocation there is growing opposition from people local to the relocation site on Marsh Lane fields. If planning permission is granted it would only be for seven years after which the Society may be moved again. Yet it would take at least twenty years, plus the right conditions, to re-establish our current food production levels and to create a similarly viable community.
As plot holder Armagan and her friend Cavide said, ‘We could make the London Olympics different from all other Olympics. Having the allotments in the Olympic Park and preserving them for the Legacy Park would send out the message world wide that the UK really does care after all.’
But do the LDA and the Mayor care about local grown initiatives even when they are successful examples, like Manor Garden Allotments, of the Governments own strategies such as the London Food and the Biodiversity Strategies?
Writer and supporter of the campaign to incorporate the allotments, Iain Sinclair says, ‘We don’t want it (the Olympic Park) imagining for us. We don’t want it over-imagined. We want to imagine it for ourselves. Please preserve the soul of the place as represented by the beautiful Manor Garden Allotments.’
At the end of the day the TV will be turned on in the Community Shed to show the broadcast of ‘Disappearing London’ featuring Manor Garden Allotments on ITV at 7.30pm.’
This event is open to everybody but the organisers would appreciate an acknowlegement of intention from those coming so that they can gauge attendence. Please firstname.lastname@example.org
The ferocious war of words between Hackney Labour Party and Hackney Independent continues.
The reality is that whole chunks of Hackney have been handed over to public and private property developers and are being converted to blocks of exclusive one and two-bedroom flats which are to be sold or let at prices that are increasingly beyond the means of even the middle classes for whom they are intended. The original residents of Hackney have two choices, live in squalor or move out.
– Arthur Shuter
The saga began during the May elections when a number of inaccurate allegations were made against us in Labour Party election material: that Hackney Independent is against Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and only into “trendy issues such as Dalston theatre”!
The truth of the matter is that Hackney Independent had never commented on ASBOs, not least because in Haggerston ward only one had ever been issued, making it an issue irrelevant to local people at that time. But as ASBOs seem to be feature of the government’s agenda for some time to come we have opened a debate on the issue and given space in our Winter newsletter to a local teenager to air his views on the subject.
As for Dalston Theatre, which we did not mention in our election material, it’s hard to take seriously the idea that the eviction of hard-working shop-keepers and the demolition of an historical landmark for the sake of 19-story tower blocks of private flats is somehow a “trendy” issue.
Hackney Independent ran a completely positive election campaign that didn’t stoop to political smears and personal attacks on any of our opponents. Rightly or wrongly, we chose not to walk in the gutter. Perhaps we were naïve, but we genuinely believed – and still believe – that the reason most people get turned off by politics is just the kind of empty mud-slinging and spin that New Labour excels at.
Events have veered off at an even stranger angle in recent weeks with allegations from Haggerston Councillor Jonathan McShane in the Hackney Gazette. McShane states that Hackney Independent are opposed to CCTV on purely civil liberties grounds, that we are campaigning for the 2012 Olympics bid to be transferred to Paris and, most bizarrely, that we want a brothel to be opened in Gillett Square, Dalston!
In reference to CCTV, this was an article published in our free newsletter this summer entitled `Who benefits from `ASBOTV’?’ The piece was a detailed examination of the sinister Digital Bridge project on the Haberdasher and Charles square estates. This is a proposed scheme in which residents, for a fee, can gain access to local CCTV cameras through their own television set. (See Summer 2006 newsletter on this website.)
The conclusion of this article was clear: `Hackney Independent have never had an “official position” on CCTV. We would like to start a real debate on the issue that doesn’t just accept New Labour’s solutions. After speaking to local people and doing surveys on estates we know that many people in Haggerston are pro-CCTV.’
OLYMPICS – GETTING A FAIR DEAL
The Olympics is coming to London in 2012. There is nothing that Hackney Independent or anybody else can do or say to change this fact. But what we can do is to try and ensure that the Olympic project benefits everybody rather than just the property developers and the politicians’ egos in City Hall. That means
*construction work that is well-paid, unionised and primarily draws its labour from the local area
*other forms of employment to meet a minimum standard London wage (as TELCO have campaigned for)
*social housing rather than private developments
*a building programme that respects local green space rather than bulldozing over it
*consultation that’s a genuine dialogue with local residents rather than the snooty dismissal to opposition that is always generated by the urban elite.
Hackney Independent has no illusions that that the Olympics is about sport. It is about business and making money. As this process unfolds in the coming years we will work with others to ensure as much of the billions spent on this project benefits the working classes of East London as is possible. Having said that, we are sadly under no illusions that the usual fat-cats and prima-donna politicians will be those who most benefit…
Unfortunately, it may prove to be the case that the people of London – after 2012 and beyond – will wish that Paris had won this white-elephant after all. (Those interested in a critical analysis of 2012 are recommended the games monitor website at www.gamesmonitor.org.uk.)
PIMP MY PUBLIC SERVICES
The accusation that we are for building a brothel in Gillett Street has been adequately responded to in the letters pages of the Hackney Gazette, copies of which can be found in the `letters’ section of this website.
As Carl Taylor wrote: `Hackney Independent has no desire to see a brothel built in Gillett Square, or elsewhere.’ Arthur Shuter made the point: `The reality is that whole chunks of Hackney have been handed over to public and private property developers and are being converted to blocks of exclusive one and two-bedroom flats which are to be sold or let at prices that are increasingly beyond the means of even the middle classes for whom they are intended. The original residents of Hackney have two choices, live in squalor or move out.’
THE REAL ISSUES
Since the elections Hackney Independent has distributed two newsletters across the ward and organised two Kids Cinema shows, Labour has not put out a newsletter in the ward. The Hackney Labour website shows no updates since May. What a contrast to the months running up to the council elections when Labour was putting out regular newsletters and updating their website. We have said it before and we will say it again now: Labour lies to the working class during elections and ignores us in between.
Rather than address the real issues of social cleansing and the displacement of the poor in their vision of Hackney’s future, Labour can only resort to lies and spin. Pipe’s `I Love Hackney’ sloganeering is a piece of empty gush. Yes, Jules, we too `love’ Hackney – but we want a Hackney that values all its residents not just those who can afford to move in and live here.
Despite Mayor Pipe’s jubilant post-election address that Hackney Independent `are finished’, the group is still actively campaigning as a part of and with the working class of Hackney. We will continue to do so – on real issues rather than the fiction that Hackney Labour Party accuses us of dealing with. Councillor McShane says he looks forward to challenging Hackney Independent at the next local elections. We should remind Cllr McShane that the battle for ideas and campaigning takes place in the here and now – not just every four years at election time. This is the battle that Hackney Independent is engaged in at this moment.
Hackney Independent is organising a meeting to bring together people, activists and campaigns in Hackney who we see as fighting lone battles and being picked off one by one by the council.
The meeting will be on Tuesday December 12th at 7.30 pm at St Michaels Church Hall Lansdowne Drive, London Fields, Hackney E8.
The meeting is aimed at: Individuals who have just had enough, tenants groups demanding better housing and a stop to the process of selling off their estates, campaigners for environmental issues – from those opposing the olympic land grab, to those opposing the sell-off of green space on estates, to those who just want to improve their environment, People are concerned about their kids’ schools being turned into city academies, or who wish to fight for better youth facilities, those who believe that gentrification is impacting badly on working class communities, those who believe that council and government policies are creating fragmented and increasingly violent communities and more…
We believe that while we face a continuous series of attacks from the council on a whole series of issues, that they are only getting away with it because of the uncoordination and demoralisation of the opposition.
We would like to stress that we have no set agenda for this first meeting, except that we believe it’s a good idea to aim for a one day conference in late January which would be much larger, and more widely publicised.
It is true that a similar attempt was made in 2000/1 in the midst of the council cuts campaign under the title of Hackney Fightback. That attempt was destroyed by sectarianism – this must not happen again! We all have our own ideas of what is best, but it is essential that we create something that will oppose the council’s strategy in Hackney and that we do not allow ourselves to be derailed again.
Please contact Hackney Independent for more details and to let us know if you will be attending.
We will look forward to hearing from you and hope you can attend the meeting on the 12th of December.