Transfer no vote stuns Southwark

Tenants on Southwark’s Aylesbury estate have voted against transfer – blocking plans for a massive regeneration of the area. Almost three-quarters of the76 per cent of tenants who turned out to vote rejected proposals to transfer to Faraday Community Housing Association.

Transfer was needed to allow a £375 million pound regeneration project to go ahead. But the fundability of the scheme had been questioned in a report by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Inside Housing, 30 November 2001).

A spokesperson for Southwark Council said they were ‘stunned’ by the result: ‘The leader’s view is that tenants have had their say. Where we go from now is to look at the options available.’

Leader of Southwark council Stephanie Elsy is seeking a meeting with housing minister Lord Falconer to discuss what alternatives now exist for the estate.
Meanwhile residents in Hackney’s 952 sheltered homes have voted to transfer to Hanover Housing Association. The plans promise £41 million of improvements to homes. Mark Weeks of Defend Council Housing said the parties against transfer worked together in Southwark unlike those in Hackney.

Decent Homes Not Luxury Flats!

Hackney Independent Working Class Association (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) held a protest last night to highlight Hackney Council’s attempts to “socially cleanse” the borough. Supporters of Hackney IWCA protested on Pitfield Street, Hoxton over a new private development next to Aske House.

Hackney IWCA spokesman Peter Sutton said “Hackney Council should be providing housing for its working class majority, not allowing luxury developments to take over our areas. Our councillors want people who will pay high council tax, not claim benefits and not use services. They prefer them to the people who claim benefits and make use of services. They are also more likely to vote Labour – and aren’t affected by all the cuts.

The people who move into these developments can afford to buy their own services and the council is systematically cutting provision for the rest of us who can’t afford it. Developments like this are designed to help clear out working class people and replace them with New Labour voters. We can’t let them get away with it.”

Peter Sutton and Carl Taylor of Hackney IWCA

IWCA supporters protesting at the new development

News from the Town Hall Square Alliance – Planning Decision

Last night (Wednesday 19th) the Council forced through a motion that their planning decision on the Town Hall Square application can be taken by three people, two people or even one person. The unique combination of incompetence and prejudice that is Mayor Sadeem Siddiqui presided over the pantomime that those who have visited a council meeting will now be familiar with, and the decision was passed that the planning committee can be composed of just the two or three people who had not become ineligible to sit on the committee when others declared an interest in the scheme in the previous meeting. Two of the three are labour group councillors and it is obvious what the decision will be regardless of all the objections, given that this is a politically driven scheme.Alternatively they may allow for the decision to be made by one officer, the Director of Community and Learning.

This is all despite a decision passed at the previous meeting to not go ahead with the scheme and give the £600 000 from the NRF to the voluntary sector to compensate for cuts in their budgets. We still do not have clear information about how much NRF money is involved or how much the cuts have been compensated by other measures.

A vote of no confidence in the mayor was proposed but unfortunately was not passed. Another feature of the meeting was the banning of any debate on the woeful state of street lighting in the borough.

Junk the jargon

Letter in Guardian Society 19th December 2001

It’s good to see that to encourage black and ethnic minority (BME) involvement in regeneration in Lambeth, the jargon is to be junked in favour of plain English (Ethnic barrier, December 12). Now how about the rest of us?

As a member of an organisation concerned about the impact of regeneration/gentrification on working class people of all races in Hackney, I would like to make it known to housing minister Lord Falconer that it’s not just BMEs who are disadvantaged by not understanding the often euphemistic nonsense spouted by New Labour clones in their rush to socially cleanse deprived areas of their working class majorities.

Plain English would be of assistance to us all. Better still, a bullsh*t detector.

Carl Taylor
Hackney Independent Working Class Association

Hackney Not For Sale News

Press and Community Notice from Hackney Not For Sale

Hackney NOT For Sale have decided to stay away from tomorrow’s Nelson Bakewell auction at Claridge’s and instead join a community protest against the sale of Marcon Estate Community Hall later that day, 6pm at Hackney Town Hall. The reason for this decision was that after viewing the Nelson Bakewell catalogue for the auction, there seems to be a distinct lack of ‘community buildings’ included in tomorrow’s sale!

This raises a couple of interesting questions:
· Was this a decision made by Nelson Bakewell or Hackney Council in light of previous successful protests by Hackney NOT for Sale and other Hackney residents at the last auction back in October at the Langham Hotel? That auction, and the Hotel itself, suffered severe disruption when everyone joined together to protest both inside and outside the sale. Nelson Bakewell offices had also been occupied and shut down by people from Hackney NOT for Sale just days before the sale itself. The protests also led to good media coverage of the plight of community sell offs in Hackney and that was sure to have been an embarrassment to both Hackney Council and Nelson Bakewell.

· Although the whole ‘disposals’ programme is extremely secretive, it is a fact that Hackney Council is still going ahead with plans to sell many more community properties such as playgrounds, community halls, nurseries and even a school, [contact HN4S for the full lists of potential sell offs]. So, if they are not going to sell the more controversial properties at public auctions, how exactly are they going to go about selling them? If it is indeed possible, it looks as though they will be even less accountable in future and possibly sell them through private sales?

What will ‘Hackney NOT 4 Sale’ be doing to prevent future sell offs?

· As secrecy continues to surround the sale of community property, we will be demanding from Hackney Council’s Max Caller and Guy Nichollson, a complete list of all properties already sold and all those still in danger of being sold, to be made available to everyone in Hackney.

· Using various tactics, including direct action and information dissemination, we will continue to put pressure on Hackney Council and Nelson Bakewell to pull out of sales of much needed community properties in Hackney.

· We will now begin to put pressure on Stretton’s Estate Agents NOT to take part in future community sell offs. They have been involved in the sale of many Hackney Council properties in the past.

· We will be asking people to contact us when they see any ‘For Sale’ signs on any community buildings around Hackney and publicise that information.

· We will continue to work together with community groups, residents and council workers fighting the devastating cuts and sell offs in Hackney.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Hackney NOT 4 Sale: tel. 07950 539 254 For more background: click here (check out Hackney subsection link on front page)