Letter in Hackney Gazette 27th September

Your political coverage over the last few weeks has been excellent. We have read about the butchery of funding to groups that support Hackney’s most vulnerable, while councillors give themselves and their corporate friends more of our money – often in secret meetings. We have discovered – as if we didn’t know already – that you need to earn on average £57,000 pa to buy a home in London’s poorest borough, and that the majority of households earn far less than £30,000. Meanwhile, as youth services are decimated, youth crime escalates. And privatised workers – the more the better according to our McLabour bigwigs – see their working conditions and living standards plummet.

Put it all together and you can see what kind of Hackney our “leaders” are creating for us. Of course, they will say, our sacrifices are necessary to save Hackney from itself. But who is it being saved for? Certainly not the majority, when all we can expect is more deprivation and exploitation. To return “the usual suspects” – Labour, Tory, LibDem or Green – would be like those proverbial turkeys voting for Christmas.

Carl Taylor, Suffolk Estate.

Abandoned Cars Campaign

Our estates and roads have become dumping grounds for rubbish and smashed up or burnt out cars. If this was a middle class neighbourhood, the Council would shift them straight away, but instead we are stuck with these dangerous and unwanted eyesores for weeks or months.

On this page we will post up details of abandoned cars on our estates. We will contact the council departments responsible and put details here of what action has been taken. If you know of any abandoned vehicles we have missed, get in touch.

Abandoned cars update:

1st September 2002 – Haggerston West estate. Steve Tucker, Director of Housing promised to get all abandoned cars taken away during his estate walkabout in June. We’re still waiting.
Date reported: 29th December 2001

Abandoned cars on Acton Estate.
C990 DXX. Grey Honda Accord. Petrol tank open. No wheels. By 34 Scriven Court.

M343 ALD. Blue RAV 4 Jeep. Burnt out. By 34 Scriven Court.

E567 HJM. Brown Honda Legend. All windows smashed. By 8 Livermere Court.

E49 WKM. Taxed till July 2000. Tower Hamlets permit R43304, ran out March 2001. Outside 6 Scriven Court.

Date reported: 18th January 2002

Abandoned car on Acton Estate. C770 YST. Silver Honda Civic. No tax. Smashed up. In car park at the back of Scriven Court.

Date reported: 18th January 2002

Three abandoned cars on Dunston Road E8.
A704 MHG White Ford Fiesta.

Black Opel. No registration. No tax. Full of rubbish.

E868 DCN. Red Ford Fiesta. No tax. Bonnet open. Window open.

Date reported: 30th November 2001

Four abandoned cars on Dunston Road E8.
F895 WCK White Nissan Bluebird. No tax. Windows smashed in. Opposite 242-248. NOW GONE.

Burnt out blue car. Can’t id make. No reg. Under the railway bridge. NOW GONE.

White Vauxhall Nova. No reg. No tax. Front window nearly smashed in. Near Stean Street. NOW GONE.

E864 VOG. Blue Vauxhall Carlton. No tax. Rear passenger window smashed. Near Haggerston Road. NOW GONE.

Date reported: 9th December 2001

Five abandoned cars on Denne Terrace E8

H671 GLX Red Citroen BX19. Taxed till March 2001. At the corner with Haggerston Road. STILL THERE.

F183 KHJ White Mazda. No wheels. Back window smashed. By Clemson House. STILL THERE.

E325 STR. White Trafic van. No tax. By Clemson House. STILL THERE.

A704 MHG. White Ford Fiesta. Taxed till June 2000. By Clemson House. STILL THERE.

D808 FGN Blue Renault 5. No tax. By Clemson House. STILL THERE. DOOR NOW OPEN.

One more car on Dunston Road E8. J925 MKU. Blue Omega. No tax. Near Acton Mews. NOW GONE.

Reported to Pinnacle Estate Management 26th November

Two abandoned cars on the estate road south of Dunloe Street on Fellows Court.

E274 RFU. Silver Nissan Sunny. No tax. Back window missing. In the car bays outside the tall block.

Maroon Ford Orion. No registration number or tax. Burnt out. Located near the junction with Cremer Street.

Cars reported to council November 23rd

Abandoned cars by the garages on Kingsland estate 57 Hebden Court.

G890 LRH Blue/silver Ford Orion. No wheels.

F141 PGU White Volvo. No tax.

Two abandoned cars on Fellows Court. Both have no tax and their windows smashed in. They are next to each other on Appleby Street E2 by the junction with Dunloe Street.

A361 GLB Red Ford Sierrra.
D373 HMV White Mazda.

Another car on Laburnum Street E2 at the back entrance to Haggerston Pool. B406 DVX. Silver/blue Mazda. No tax. Doors open.

Cars dumped behind Hebden Court garages off Whiston Road
Put on web 2.10.01
Reported to Council 2.10.01
One car has been removed (week ending 13.10.01) but the other is still there

Car abandoned on Hebden Court car park
Put on web 2.10.01
Reported to Council 2.10.01

Car dumped under railway arches on Laburnum Street.
Put on web 25.9.01
Reported to Council 26.9.01
Council sticker states removal will be by 8th October
Still there 3 weeks after council said it would be removed. Now removed.

Car dumped outside Hebden Court garages, off Laburnum Street.
Put on web 24.9.01
Reported to Council 26.9.01
Council sticker states removal will be by 9th October but still there after 3 weeks.

Now joined by a dumped Green Ford Escort – reported to council on 1st November.
Both now removed.

Hackney – The Takeover Begins

In announcing the measures Stephen Byers Secretary of State for Local Government said:
“The Government is simply not prepared to let the present situation continue. It is unacceptable that people who live, or work in Hackney should have to suffer poor services because of the council’s corporate failure. The package of measures the Government is announcing today is designed to protect and improve the key services and ensure the council tackles its budget deficit.

“I have directed Hackney to produce a budget strategy to start the process of getting them back into balance. My Department will be writing separately to the council about how they can continue to work to return to financial stability, without the help of Government resources, at the earliest possible time. To assist, the council’s leadership has agreed to appoint an independent person to monitor financial progress.

“It is now for Hackney’s elected members and senior staff to ensure that people in Hackney see very big changes. It will involve tough decisions to tackle the years of failure and it will be painful but the Government is clear it must happen. Hackney Council cannot be allowed to fail its people again.

Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:
“Hackney’s residents deserve a good quality benefits service, which has been lacking for too long. No one should have to wait several months for their Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims to be paid. Poor service affects some of the most vulnerable people. It can also affect the financial positions of Hackney’s social and private landlords.

“I have therefore set Hackney a challenging direction to clear its long-standing backlog of work by the end of this year. I shall expect them to do this to acceptable standards and without detriment to current and new work. My Department is working closely with Hackney and has supported them in rebuilding their benefits service. They have made an encouraging start. The momentum must be maintained. We shall continue to monitor the situation closely”

Estelle Morris Secretary of State for Education and Skills said:
“This direction will enable Hackney to establish a new body to be responsible for the management and delivery of education services in the Borough, so as to provide much needed financial and management stability. We have already, with Hackney Council, appointed a joint team to identify the optimum arrangements for the structure and role of this new body. Once this team has reported at the end of September we will support the local authority in swiftly putting in place new arrangements, designed to promote and maintain high standards in education for everyone in Hackney.”

Margaret Beckett Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
“Hackney must improve their dismal recycling record and their poor overall performance on waste collection services so that residents get a quality service at a price they can afford. To make this happen the Council must secure the investment that this service desperately needs, raise public awareness about the need for changes in the local culture in the handling of waste, and ensure local people are able to recycle their waste.”

Health Minister Jacqui Smith said:
“It is vital for some of the most vulnerable people in Hackney that social services continue to deliver and improve their services. This direction will require Hackney Council to work with the local NHS to review services for older people and mental health services to ensure that they are delivering best value.

The Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) has been working with Hackney. We have seen some progress in social services and are keen to see that this continues – so that the people of Hackney get the services they need and deserve. We will maintain this support and monitor improvements carefully.”

Ollerenshaw Points the Finger At Tenants

Tory Councillor Eric Ollerenshaw was quoted in Inside Housing this week (14th September 2001) saying that Council tenants owe the Council £20.9 million in rent. He admits that “part” of the problem is how bad the Council are at paying housing benefit. Other reasons he doesn’t consider are the lack of well paid jobs available to most people in Hackney, and the Council’s useless housing management system that has let tenants get so far behind with their rents.

Councillor Ollerenshaw, of course, also fails to look at the other side of the story. Some tenants are behind with their rent, but what about all the outstanding repairs that the Council are legally obliged to carry out but continually fail to do? It’s a lot easier to point your finger at Council tenants than it is to face up to your own responsibilities.

Hackney IWCA starts distribution of latest newsletter

Members and supporters of Hackney Independent Working Class Association (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) today started the distribution of the latest issue of the Hackney Independent to 10,000 homes in Hoxton, Haggerston and De Beauvoir.

Hackney Independent, Autumn 2001 issue (pdf format)

More newsletters

Community Activists Set Up Spoof Estate Agents

In an imaginative stunt to draw attention to Hackney Council’s Hitlist and the axing of vital facilities in the borough, community activists in Hackney have set up a spoof estate agents named after the council’s own “advisers” Nelson Bakewell. We reprint the activists’ news release below:

We have just squatted 52 Stoke Newington High Street, Hackney, and turned it into a spoof estate agent. We hope that you will come by and visit us over the next two days (Thursday and Friday).

Over 50 community properties will be on display there all are in danger of being sold, privatised, or are now suffering serious cuts that threaten their very survival. The Estate Agent will be open for 2 days only at this venue. We will be inviting both Hackney councillors and Nelson Bakewell visit us to explain to Hackney residents, the so far secret details, behind the sell offs. We are inviting the media to come down and ask questions too. We were recently shown the ‘exempt’ minutes from a recent council meeting. It lists over 130 Council owned properties to be assessed for sale as part of their ‘disposals programme’. It is very broad based and includes community centres, adventure playgrounds, allotments, nurseries and shops, as well as 100’s of houses (some items contain multiple buildings).By opening the Estate Agent we aim to make public the extent to which Hackney council is systematically selling off and closing down our community services without any accountability to the residents and service providers in the borough. Feel free to come in and tell us what you think of Hackney Council, have a cup of tea and check out the many community properties that are on display.