Canalside Breaks Promise to Tenants

Tenants in Haggerston transferred from Hackney Council to Canalside Housing Association are angry that it has broken a rent guarantee promise made before council tenants voted to privatise their homes. They have decided to increase rents for new tenants by £10.00 per week.


“This decision … breaks the rent guarantee promised before the transfer vote. It is an attack on some of the poorest in our community; homeless families moving out of bed and breakfast,” say Canalside Board reps Nick Strauss and Sheila Seabury in a letter to the Hackney Independent.


Canalside have also decided to use at least 47 homes for a “key worker” scheme. These schemes are supposed to ensure affordable housing in London for “key” workers. Canalside propose rent increases of £50.00 per week for these flats.


“This is bad for people waiting for housing in Hackney, bad for Canalside tenants waiting for transfers and bad for key workers.”


“There is no excuse for turning 47+ social housing units transferred from Hackney with around £19,000 Social Housing Grant per home, into homes for key workers instead of allocating them to people on the waiting list.”


“For key workers, renting a [1 bed] flat for over £500.00 per month does not address their need for secure, decent and affordable housing. We believe that these financially driven proposals will bring Canalside into disrepute. It is our duty as tenant representatives to publicly oppose them.”


“We call on tenants and residents to support the campaign by Haggerston, Whitmore, Kingsland (HaWK) TRA against these plans for higher rents for our future neighbours.”


Messages of support, or requests for further information should be sent to HaWK TRA at 179 Haggerston Road, E8 4JA.


(Nick Strauss is a tenant on Haggerston Estate and Sheila Seabury a tenant on Whitmore Estate.)

Update from the Save Laburnum School Campaign

Hackney Council say that they are now consulting us on whether Laburnum School should be closed. If they are listening, there’s a clear answer – the kids, parents and the wider community are saying KEEP LABURNUM SCHOOL OPEN.


The Council say that half the kids can go to Randal Cremer and the other half can go to a new junior school at Queensbridge. We say we want to keep this school at the heart of this community. And it is an improving school with a new head, new computer room, new science room, new funds to improve the playground and to put in security cameras. And after all this hard work – now Hackney Council wants to close it down.


The Council have said that if they close the school they will try to put a new secondary school there, and if that doesn’t work they will sell the site. We are no fools. We know that it is too small for a secondary school. And that leaves the plan like it always was – to sell the school site to developers.


What are the Council trying to teach our kids? That their education doesn’t matter. That the can be pushed out so that City people can have their loft apartments where they used to have their classrooms? We are trying to teach our kids something different – that you have to work together to stand up for your community and fight to keep the school open.


The Council “consultation” period runs up to 30th September. Lets give them their consultation. Lets make sure that our councillors know what a mistake it would be for them to close Laburnum School.


Council consultation farce


All parents/carers with children at Primary Schools anywhere in Hoxton, Haggerston, De Beauvoir or London Fields should have got a letter from the Council in early August headed “Review of Planning Areas 1 & 2.” You wouldn’t know it, but this is the official Council consultation on closing Laburnum School. This is despite the fact that the word “Laburnum” or even “school” does not appear anywhere in the letter.


It is important that you do not throw it away, but that you turn to page 4, which is a survey. The questions are hard to work out – such as “Do you agree that the LEA should bring forward proposals to reduce surplus capacity?” The Save Laburum School Campaign recommends that you vote “no” to all the questions. The vital question is 3, which asks if you agree with closing Laburnum. To help save the school, please tear out the form and send it back to Marian Lavelle, Hackney TLC, 1 Reading lane, E8 1GQ. If you did not get the letter, we can get you a copy if you ring Carl Taylor on 7684 1743. The Council have agreed to spend £750 on “consultation.” As far as we know sending out this letter is all they are going to do. Compare this to the consultation on the sell-off of the nearby Haggerston East, Whitmore and part of Kingsland estate. Here the Council threw (our) money at the tenants – with videos, glossy brochures, “independent” advisers, fun days – but the difference is that the tenants legally have to get a vote and so need to be persuaded – but Laburnum parents and the wider community do not.


But our kids don’t go to Laburnum …


We are asking for support from everyone in the community – even if you are not directly affected. If you have got kids or grandkids at another school – their school could be next.


And we all need to stand up for what we have got in this community. Haggerston used to have a library and a swimming pool. It’s not just Laburnum School that is under threat – there’s our One O’clock Club in Haggerston Park and the Apples and Pears Adventure Playground. They need our support too. We have all got to support each and every campaign to defend community facilities in Haggerston.


What is the Save Laburnum School Campaign?


A meeting for parents and other supporters of the school was held on July 11th. This meeting elected 10 people to keep the campaign running over the Summer holidays and to plan the campaign for when school starts again. The Committee has six parents – a majority. The other members are Shaun Abrahams, who is the union representative for the Laburnum teachers, Peter Sutton and Carl Taylor from Hackney Independent and Sheila Dadpour from Kingsland Estate Tenants & Residents’ Association. The Committee meets every Tuesday at 5pm at 75 Hebden Court, Laburnum Street. This is the Kingsland Estate Community Flat and is kindly lent to us by the Kingsland Estate TRA. Anyone else who wants to support the campaign is welcome to come along on any Tuesday.


Saturday 31st August – Save Laburnum Day


Haggerston Community Centre, Haggerston Road. 11.30am – 2.00pm We are asking all supporters to drop-in and give your support to the school on this day. There will be a number of different activities going on:


A chance to sign letters and postcards to send to the Council
For children aged 5-11 there will be an art session led by local artist and former Laburnum School student Lee Dadpour. Lee will be working with the children to produce posters and banners calling for the school to stay open.
A local film-maker will be carrying out quick interviews with people on camera to produce a video, which we will send to all councillors.
There will be tea, coffee and other refreshments available.
Pick up campaign materials like postcards, posters and petitions and find out more about how you can support the campaign Save Laburnum Day. Saturday August 31st. 11.30am – 2.00pm. Haggerston Community Centre, Haggerston Road.

This information is produced by the Save Laburnum School Campaign and does not claim to represent the School itself or the School Governors.


To contact the Save Laburnum School Campaign please ring Carl Taylor on 7684 1743, or write to 75 Hebden Court, Laburnum Street E2.

Protest Postcard Launched by Laburnum School Campaign

Parents, children and community campaigners launched a new postcard on Saturday 3rd August as part of their campaign to save Laburnum Primary School.

“The Council haven’t told anyone they are looking to close the school, and this is meant to be the consultation period,” said Sharon Bender, mother of Cain Lowe, 11. “I’ve had nothing through from the Council. It’s only because I’ve read in the Gazette or the Hackney Independent or been told by the Governors. This isn’t consultation.”


Community campaigner Peter Sutton, who gained 595 votes on behalf of the Independent Working Class Association (Hackney Independent) in Haggerston Ward in the Council elections in May added, “As usual Hackney Council consultations are a farce. There have been no meetings and no information. Labour might think they can close Laburnum School quietly, but the kids, parents and the wider community in Haggerston will fight this all the way.”


The Save Laburnum School campaign have now printed up thousands of postcards and are asking supporters to send them in to the Council demanding that the school stays open.


Anyone wanting to help the campaign can get in touch by ringing Carl Taylor on (020) 7684 1743.

The Real Face of Regeneration

Regeneration or Social Cleansing
The Hackney Independent newsletter has been drawing attention to the real nature of regeneration in Shoreditch for the last three years. It sounds good. Who wouldn’t want money spent in their area: encouraging new job and educational opportunities, less crime on the streets, better housing and community facilities…? But the experience of local people is that it often does nothing for them. Usually the opposite. Regeneration schemes are often another way of socially cleansing working class areas to make room for yuppies.

The New Deal schemes are a prime example of this. The government offered Shoreditch £50 million for regeneration, and set up a board partly comprised of local people to ensure it was spent in our interests. Local people said they wanted the money to be spent on refurbishing homes. The government said ‘no’. The money will only be spent if the community agrees to less council homes in the area and more high-rent or private flats. Now Shoreditch Our Way, eager to please the government, is using the money to buy public land to sell for private flats – claiming this is a victory for local people! ShOW have commissioned reports that recommend the demolition of council housing. Even their plans for the reopening of Haggerston Pool include the development of private flats.

Another recent example is the plan to redevelop Kingsland Basin. £116 million is to be ‘invested’ in the area by a private developer to build ‘live-work’ units, ie yuppie flats, but there will be no affordable housing for local people. Even MP Brian Sedgemore – not known for speaking up about the effects of regeneration in his constituency – has spoken out about the yuppie invasion. De Beauvoir estate’s tenants & residents association are right to point to the fact that Kingsland basin will be lost to local people if the development goes ahead.

The director of the company involved, Investland, says “they would rather lift people out of social housing by providing jobs than create more social housing” (Hackney Gazette, 18 July 2002). How stupid do these people think we are?!

More private flats to buy or at high rents means less affordable housing for local families. Sons and daughters are forced to move away as property prices soar and affordable housing vanishes. The new city workers don’t need a lot of the facilities that local people do, so the swimming baths are shut, nurseries and youth facilities are threatened. New shops and bars don’t employ local people and don’t charge prices we can afford.

The Council is not neutral in this process. It encourages the process of regeneration – and the privatisation that goes with it : the council makes it harder for working class people to stay in the area by cutting funding to the nurseries and clubs etc that local people depend on; it collects rent but often does no repairs, deliberately running down some estates so people will welcome new private landlords that will charge higher rents; it sells its land to property developers who build more expensive flats but it does not reinvest the money where it is needed.

Hackney Independent is not opposed to regeneration, but we are opposed to what is being done in its name. If the New Deals were genuinely run by locally elected people instead of by consultants and business people we would not have much to complain about, if the government would offer money without attaching strings that were not in the interests of local people we wouldn’t be so critical, if the council used our money to improve our lives we wouldn’t be opposing them.

Regeneration is a massive con trick being perpetrated by New Labour, the other political parties and their middle class cheer-leaders. Hackney Independent opposes it in its current form because we are sick of being pushed around and pushed out, of being patronised and dictated to, because we should be given a real say in how we run our own lives…

Citizens Advice Bureaus Face Closure

From the HackneyNot4Sale Campaign (contact them at allsorts@gn.apc)


Following on from actual and proposed cuts in their grant from Hackney Council, CAB in Hackney is facing the very real prospect of closure.


The grant is to be cut by 40% in total, leaving CAB in an impossible operating position.


Having just received provisional notices of redundancy, Mare Street Bureau Manager Nick Prince and his staff are at a loss to understand the logic behind such cuts.


The bureaux in Hackney assist clients in dealing with over 20,000 issues every year and just CAB’s debt and benefits work with clients alone, contributes over £250,000 per annum to Hackney Council’s revenue! The CAB is simply the means by which the Community of Hackney helps itself, in times of crisis.


The service is essential and irreplaceable and cuts are a “false economy”.

Please help CAB to continue it’s vital work, by giving your support through contacting Max Caller now at Hackney Council on 020 8356 5000.

Look out for further information on this story…

Clapton Park Play Project – Funding Removed

Summary: Below is a letter written by concerned people who run a project in Hackney, which provides an area for children to play and enables the parents to leave their kids there and seek work. Guess what – the council are removing funding.


We understand the council is in financial arrears, as we have read the newspapers and read flyers in relation to Hackney assets for sale. Also the media coverage outside Hackney has painted a very bad picture of the past defrauding of council money.So who suffers, well the poor of course, the ordinary tenants on the priority estates, the majority being the minority groups and one parent families of course.which we cater for 90%. We have now received another 90 days notice with promises of possible funding from Association of London Government. We have never heard of this group and we never got a letter dated 28th June 2002 setting out the principles of the transfer and how it will operate either. SO PLEASE DO SEND US ONE BY RETURN.SO WE CAN READ AND UNDERSTAND THE FUTURE.


We the management Committee have seen the suffering the above project has gone through, especially the staff who have not known how long their job will last, nor whether to apply for another job etc. With 40 children going down to 20, the project has already been reduced by half, this was because there was not enough workers due to the cuts last year. WE are responsible for staff and their well-being. We cannot take on any more staff due to cuts and not knowing how long the project will run. Our staff are continually under threat of being out of a job, so redundancy money has to be forthcoming or we face being taken to court. We the parent Management Committee and our staff want to keep the project running as we all know how valuable it is to the community.


Instead we have to work on a four monthly basis or the present 90 DAYS NOTICE, which we had to sign by 10th July having received it on the 5th. This had to be done in order to receive a further three months funding, so we had no choice did we? OUR BOOKS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AUDITED AND BALANCED, this is really disgusting. If, and we say if, this Association of London Government takes over this project, then we would like a new worker please and minimum security of 1 to 3 years contract for staff.


Our project is urgently needed by the poorer people, in Kings Ward and by one parent families that are always picked out as getting pregnant on purpose to live off the tax payer on purpose etc.They were encouraged to go to the college to better themselves to get off the welfare money.So our project was set up after nine years of meetings and this building refurbished after it had been burnt out by the youth in protest of not having anywhere to go after school. We asked for £54,000 a year to run this project, ONE RICH MAN’S SALARY.


Parents here feel that money talks and welfare walks as usual. As for the 2020 vision, it was considered that children and youth needs should be top of the list, not bottom. Under 16’s don’t get a say, they need an adult to speak on their behalf, so it is easy to pick on them and cut their services. Adults cannot always speak on their behalf and be heard as the power isn’t there, is it?

Who will look after the children Grandparents? If the project gets 90 days notice, so will the grandparents then. Our project offers integration, friends to play with in a safe environment, trained skilled staff (police checked). So we do hope the Association of London Government are going to contact us soon and not at the last moment. Yes it is a worry for us as we are on the front line. We need some answers as we are parents living here, supporting this project.

For letters of support please write to: Lower Community Hall, Nye Bevan Estate, Overbury Street, Clapton, London, E5 0AW Tel 0208 985 3470