Light Up Shoreditch

Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) has launched a campaign in Shoreditch to pressure the council to prioritise working class areas for improved street lighting.

Jules Pipe – Hackney’s New Labour mayor – has pledged to improve lighting throughout the Borough as a key part of his anti-crime strategy.Hackney IWCA spokesperson Carl Taylor said:

 “One of our criticisms of the Mayor is that we do not believe he will ask the council to prioritise those areas that need most improvement, working class areas of the Borough where crime and anti-social behaviour, and the fear of it, is the top priority for tenants and residents.”

This has been borne out by a street survey carried out with local residents recently – in a small dark, area of Haggerston ward – where 14 street lamps were discovered to be out of order. They have been reported to the council.

The Light Up Shoreditch! campaign seeks to encourage Shoreditch tenants and residents to join in demanding the council takes action now.

But in launching the campaign, Hackney Independent also attacked the limitations of the council’s own anti-crime strategy.

IWCA supporters putting the spotlight on lighting

IWCA supporters putting the spotlight on lighting

“Jules Pipe has made improved street lighting the core plank of his anti-crime strategy. We think that is pulling the wool over people’s eyes. In Shoreditch – and across Hackney – a large number of community facilities have had their funding cut or been closed. Restoring access to these facilities for young people will do far more in the fight against crime than changing a few light bulbs. We recognise that better street lighting can help reduce crime, but we won’t be fooled into thinking it should be the core part of the council’s strategy,” Carl Taylor added.

Education, Education, Education?

Before the Labour government got elected in 1997 they said their priorities wee “Education, Education, Education.” Hackney Labour’s current targets are “Laburnum, Kingsland, St Thomas’ ” – the three schools they want to close this year. Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) members have started working with parents from St Thomas’ Primary in Stamford Hill to help them fight the closure. We have given them our advice based on the campaign to save Laburnum School and have produced a petition for them, which you are urged to fill in and return to the address given. To get a copy of the petition, write to us at the usual address and we will send you one. The Hackney Independent will help parents produce a newsletter to circulate in the area and a campaign video.


The Learning Trust are only going through the motions of consultation over St Thomas’ because they have to legally. Our view is that councillors of all parties should be challenged to support the school, but that parents need to build the strongest possible campaign in the community in defence of the school. If councillors don’t support the campaign, particularly Labour councillors as they are in power, then community groups need to consider moving beyond lobbying them to a position of replacing them – of standing against them in future elections. The campaign needs to look at all the other public and community facilities that are under threat in this borough and make links with those campaigns. Everyone involved needs to understand that closure of these schools is part of the the wider agenda of privatisation of services and gentrification of the Borough supported by all the main parties – replacing the working class with a new population of middle class settlers.