Community groups in Hackney have warned the government not to plunder National Lottery funds to pay for the London Olympics in 2012.
The government is considering dipping into the fund to make up for a shortfall in the soaring costs of the Games. However, the people who rely on the funding have said the move could spell disaster for hundreds of community projects.
Jim Armstrong, the Laburnum Boat Club co-ordinator, said his organisation relied on Lottery funding.
The club, based in Laburnum Street, Haggerston, was boosted by a £90,000 Lottery grant in 2005 which gave young people with disabilities the chance to go sailing and canoeing.
“The Lottery is an important source of funding for community groups in Hackney,” said Mr Armstrong.
“We support the Olympics, but not at the expense of community groups and would be saddened if there was any threat to our funding in the future.”
Liz Hughes, of the Haggerston Pool Trust, said: “We think before the Olympic organisers take any more they should make their case about how the Olympics is really going to benefit community groups.
“We want the government to be much more specific about what the legacy will be and how it will make up for all the projects which lose out.”
The National Lottery is already set to contribute £1.5 billion towards the 2012 cost, which will be raised through Lottery games.
However, with the final bill likely to top £3.3 billion, the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, has not ruled out further contributions.
Projects in Hackney have benefited from a staggering £141 million since the National Lottery began 12 years ago.
Last year, the Stoke Newington Woodcraft Folk were given a £6,700 grant to send 25 children to the Global Village International Camp in Kent.
Hackney Cultural Carnival Arts received £5,000 to help organise the Fusion East Carnival finale in Bethnal Green.
The Hoxton-based arts charity, Standpoint Studios, was given £5,000 to carry out educational workshops in primary schools.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the benefits of the Olympics would outstrip the losses to other projects.
She said: “It’s been made clear that money from the Lottery will be used to go to the Olympics.
“The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will transform society and improve millions of lives.
“It will bring immense benefits to the country in exactly the areas that the Lottery was set up for in the first place.”
from Hackney Gazette letters 18JAN07
Readers of the Gazette need to be aware of another proposed hidden and so far undisclosed cost of Hackney Council’s unqualified support for the bid to win the 2012 Olympic Games for London.
Customers of Thames Water could see annual water bills rise by £40 every year if plans to build a proposed £2 billion tunnel are allowed to go ahead.
Apparently, there is a concern that if nothing is done the 2012 Games could be marred by the sight and smell of tonnes of sewage being pumped into the river next to the main stadium.
A spokesman for the Consumer Council for Water probably has it right when he says that, “to consider such an expensive and long-term capital programme with a focus on 2012 does a disservice for those who will have to pay for it – the customers of Thames Water”.
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.
Those who are critical of the way that the 2012 Olympics is affecting their Borough would like to share their experiences with like-minded people from the other Boroughs who are feeling the Olympic effect.
Some of us are facing planning deadlines and need support.
Some of us are predicting worse road transport hold-ups in a local system which is barely able to cope.
Some of us are dismayed at the speed with which promises about respecting and enhancing local common land and open spaces have been broken.
Some of us are anxious about the effect of rising property prices upon the affordability of the local housing market.
Some of us do not believe that promises about the skills training being planned will significantly improve the employment prospects of the local unemployed.
Some of us are concerned that the process of being consulted leaves us with the empty feeling of not being taken seriously.
Instead of ‘being consulted’ by the planners about their agenda we would like to consult each other in order to clarify what our agenda is and what our indepenedent responses should be. We want to make contact in person and network.
To begin this process a number of activists from the East End met together recently in Hackney and decided to organise a series of meetings in each Olympic Borough.
The next meeting will be on Monday December 4th at 7.30 at the Hornbeam Centre 458 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 (near Bakers Arms. 1st left up Hoe St on the corner of Bakers Avenue) Tel 020 8558 6880
An edited version of this statement by Hackney Independent member Peter Sutton appeared in the Hackney Gazette on 25th May 2006:
How did we get almost exactly the same council following the elections?
We started with 44 Labour councillors, 9 Tories in Lordship, New River and Springfield, 3 Lib Dems in Cazenove and Andrew Boff representing theTories in Queensbridge. We ended up with 44 Labour councillors, the Tories and Lib Dems holding their wards in Stamford Hill and the Greens taking one seat in Clissold.
What is clear to us is that Labour put no real effort into the 4 wards in Stamford Hill that are still represented by the 9 Tory and 3 Lib Dem councillors. We never see these tame twelve taking on New Labour as they have no major political disagreements with them. They all agree with the ALMO, with privatising council services and with the regeneration/gentrification policies of New Labour. Lib Dem Leader Ian Sharer used to be a Labour councillor and probably would be again if they would let him join. Many of the Tories ran the council jointly with Labour during the Labour-Tory pact 6 years ago This was the time that brought us the Clissold Pool fiasco and the joint agreement to close Haggerston Pool.
Instead Labour’s electoral machine turned its fire on what they saw as threats to the status quo – maverick Lib Dem David Phillips in Hoxton, Tory populist Andrew Boff in Queensbridge and Hackney Independent in Haggerston.
The irony here is that we find it hard to tell the difference between the policies of New Labour, David Phillips and Andrew Boff. They all support privatisation. Boff supports the sale off Council-owned shops, he just thinks the Tories could do it more fairly and competently than Labour. However Phillips and Boff are campaigners and get in the Gazette and get out on the estates promoting their own parties, unlike the tame 12 in Stamord Hill. This is what drew Labour’s fire.
If only New Labour ran Hackney anything like as well as they fight elections. Hoxton, Haggerston and Queensbridge saw more of Jules Pipe and the New Labour leadership in the 4 weeks before the election than we did in the past 4 years.
We fear Labour’s hidden agenda for the next 4 years, that wasn’t in their glossy election leaflets, including:
* turning their Hackney Homes project into a housing association and giving it our council estates
* pushing through more privately-sponsored City Academies
* handing over the East of the borough to Olympic developers, who after 2012 will hand it over to big business
* building private flats on green spaces on our estates
* no new council housing but plenty more luxury flats
* more pay rises for councillors
* planning permission granted to property developers against the wishes of local communities
Is the only opposition to be the Green Party that thinks Hackney’s problems are not enough solar panels or missed recycling targets? Hackney Independent members are already in discussion with groups and individuals around the borough to play our part in opposing the New Labour hidden agenda.
If you want to talk to us about how best we can work together to keep Hackney for the people, contact us.
East London waits with baited breath for the decision of the IOC on the site for the 2012 Olympics .. to find out whether we are all going to have to fork out the, at least, £200 in tax the government needs from us to pay for this gigantic waste of money. Londoners will pay £1.5 BILLION into an Olympic Lottery and at least £550 million in additional Council Tax!!
The East London Olympics will see the loss of hundreds of ordinary jobs in the area, large scale loss of open space and nature reserves, and sports facilities. Dozens of football pitches on East Marsh, Eton Manor Sports Ground, Eastway Cycle Circuit and Arena Fields Cricket will all go, at a time when sports facilities are being cut and shut as Haggerston knows only too well. And money from local sports projects will be diverted to the Olympics!
As always with scams like this it is being masked with vague promises of a sporting and housing ‘legacy’. But as with the Dome and Canary Wharf and previous Olympics, we will not see more jobs and homes for us and our kids but more jobs and flats for yuppies and increased housing costs for us – and sports facilities we paid for but cannot afford.
We say (and, unusually, the editor of the Economist magazine agrees with us!) that we should be spending the £2.5 BILLION needed to organise the Olympics, on getting people to PLAY sport – not on encouraging people to WATCH it.