Photo by salimfadhley

This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.


First of all thank you to all local residents who have been so supportive of this action!
Special thanks to the many who have donated time food, heaters and other useful things.

It seems that the majority of local people support what we’ve done. Many have commented on how angry they are that after 30 years Tony was forced out of Broadway Market and that Tony represents part of Broadway Market that is being pushed out as the area is gentrified.

Our first goal has been achieved! A group of local people have taken legal possession and secured the premises and on Monday 28th of November we prevented the scheduled demolition of Tony’s Café.

We have cleaned up the mess left after Tony’s eviction and made the place warm and welcoming for anyone who wants to drop in. Many people have already come for a cup of tea and to find out more about what’s been going on.

Also we have heard that Hackney Council have reviewed the original planning application for the site and come to the conclusion that it should not have been issued in the manner that it was. Our legal advisors are saying that the approval of the application was not a formal decision and we are now at the stage where the planning application can go to judicial review.

Our occupation of the premises is entirely legal. However we have to keep it secure. Friendly locals are invited to drop in but we have to be careful not to let representatives of the developer come through the door and attempt to repossess the cafe and start demolition. Please beware that although the building is occupied 24 hours a day, the front door is always locked. This is a necessity because of the legal position we are in.

Urgent Appeal: Occupation Of 34 Broadway Market, E8

As of Sunday evening the premises of Franscesca’s Café on Broadway Market have been occupied in protest against ongoing corruption allegations and aggressive gentrification in Hackney.

The café was due to be demolished at 8.00am, Monday November 28 to make way for luxury flats.

This is part of Hackney council’s sell-off of commercial properties. The estate agents appointed by the council have sold £225 million worth of properties for just £70 million, with the majority of these going to wealthy off-shore cartels who have made an absolute killing at the expense of the people of Hackney.

Tony Platia, a well-liked and popular figure in the community, has run Franscesca’s Café for the past 31 years.

Tony had first refusal on the property and repeatedly tried to buy it from Hackney council but was passed over in favour of a wealthy developer, Dr. Roger Wratten.

On three previous occasions local people rallied in support and prevented his eviction by bailiffs but in July this year, 10 bailiffs and 50 police turned up to throw him out.

Dr. Wratten is typical of the greedy developers that Hackney council chose to do business with. As the owner of a multi-million pound property portfolio his only interest in the area is financial gain – at the expense of the local community.

We call on both local residents and sympathisers to show their support by turning up at Broadway Market as soon as possible. Please copy this appeal and pass it on.

Hackney Independent Film Day: Standing Room Only!

The 2005 Film Day proved to be a major attraction on Sunday November 20, with a full house testifying to it’s appeal.

The first short film shown was Their World This Time, a modern documentary on the post-WWII squatting movement. It particularly focused on the spirit of co-operation as people found themselves having to take both public and private property for themselves and their families.

Not a Penny on the Rents from 1968 was a short 20 minute film covering the successful GLC tenants rebellion against 100% rent increases. In black and white, time can never age its central message: unity is strength.

The Nick Broomfield early features were particularly powerful. The first, Who Cares?, looked at slum clearance in Liverpool L8, while the second from 1974 concentrated on a rent strike in Kirby where the majority of tenants had been rehoused. Provoking both plenty of laughter and anger in equal measure, the working class opinions on the media and the class society are as relevant now as they ever were.

Noemi Rodriguez introduced and answered questions on her short feature All That Glitters, a film about the 2012 Olympic bid. This is an on-going work that will certainly bloom as the social consequences of the Mayor’s folly becomes more apparent. Afterwards, a robust discussion provided some insightful views from the audience.

Spectacle Productions has been in existence since the mid-80s. Making independent short films on a variety of grassroots subjects, Mark Saunders has recently been working on a film concerning regeneration on a couple of south London estates. Presenting some clips from this project, he was on hand to answer questions afterwards.

Lastly, the London Particular was a challenging and very well made short film that looked at the gentrification of the Shoreditch area. Both film makers, David Panos and Ben Seymour, offered an introduction at the beginning.

We look forward to seeing you at the next Hackney Independent Film Day – if you have any requests then please get in touch.

Hackney Independent Film Day

Hackney Independent invites you… down the pub to the Sussex! On Sunday, November 20, we’ll be holding our 2005 Film Day – and what an extravagance we have lined up! We’ve unearthed some real working class gems from the past and present.

Their World This Time – 1998

A film about the post-World War Two housing crisis, the squatting movement and the requisitioning of empty property.

Not a Penny on the Rents – 1968

How GLC (Greater London Council) tenants first organised Tenants’ Associations and conducted the first rent strikes against council rent rises.

Who Cares? 1971

Examines the problems of slum demolition and removal of people to new housing blocks, letting the residents speak for themselves. It comments on the need for playschools and community centres, but makes the plea that future planning should take into consideration the feelings and opinions of the working class concerned

Behind the Rent Strike – 1974

This Grierson Award-winning film deals with the rent strike undertaken by 3,000 Kirby New Town tenants, shortly before Christmas 1973, as a protest against the Housing Finance Bill.

The two short films above were made by Nick Broomfield who has gone onto international fame with such productions as Biggie & Tupac, Kurt & Courtney and Aileen – Life and Death of a Serial Killer. These are not commercially available and this may be your only chance to see them.

All that Glitters – 2004

Produced before the announcement of the successful bid, the documentary explores what might happen if the Olympics comes to London. It looks at the broken promises of the 1980s Docklands development and the almost identical pro-Olympic claims and promises

The producer of this film, Naomi Rodriguez, will be delivering a short introduction

Plus more films to be announced on the day.

2.00PM until late
Sussex Pub, 107a Culford Rd, London, N1 4HT
£2entry Sunday November 20
Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland

Film Day Flyer (pdf)

We Need Housing For the People Not For the Rich

Letter and Editorial from the Hackney Gazette

In the Gazette article “Homes Shortage Crisis Claim” (20th October 05) MP Meg Hiller is just making the same points she made in the House of Commons on 15th June. Meg wants to see more “affordable, family-sized homes.” What she doesn’t call for is more council housing.

As a newcomer to Hackney affairs, Meg won’t remember this, but we saw estates like Stonebridge and Laburnum being built in Shoreditch by Hackney Council not that long ago. Then the Council told us that the Tory government had stopped council house building. We have had Tony Blair in power for eight and a half years and still we see no new council housing.

Labour are now as opposed to council housing as the Tories ever were.

When people come to see us at Hackney Independent advice surgeries they ask us to help them get a council flat big enough for their family. They never ask for “affordable homes” or “shared ownership.” These schemes are only available to people who are in secure well-paid jobs.

Hackney Independent carried out a door-to-door survey of 100 people in Shoreditch. We asked if people would like to see more council housing and more private housing built in Shoreditch.

Eight out of ten wanted to see more council housing. No-one said only private housing. Most of those who thought we needed both agreed that council housing was more important. While Meg puts out press releases calling for “affordable housing” her own party is busy approving plans for more and more luxury flats in Shoreditch, while trying to sell off as many council estates as it can. You have to judge a party by what is does, not what it says. Labour in Hackney means less council housing and more luxury flats. Hackney Independent campaigns as part of the community to save the council housing we have and to build more council housing for overcrowded tenants and our young people.

Peter Sutton
Hackney Independent

Hackney Gazette editorial

‘Sardines in a Can’

The lives of thousands of the borough’s kids are blighted because they live in overcrowded housing. An estimated 9,000 Hackney families suffer severely cramped conditions in households unsuitable for their size, a shock report by homeless charity, Shelter, has revealed. Many sleep in makeshift beds on dining-room, lounge or hallway floors because of lack of space, or have to share a bedroom with their parents – and in some extreme cases teenagers of the opposite sex are forced to share a bedroom. Lack of privacy places stress on family relationships and affects children’s education because they have nowhere to study or do their homework. It is a consequence of a chronic shortage of family-sized social housing.

In the past 20 years, the country’s public housing stock has contracted by more than a third, in part down to the sell-off of homes under the right-to-buy scheme. In an effort to free-up larger properties, tenants in homes too big for their housing needs are being given incentives to move to smaller council accommodation, but it is just tinkering. Sooner or later, society may have to grasp the nettle and accept the somewhat unpalatable reality that nobody has a God-given right to have as many children as they want when resources are scarce and taxpayers are expected to foot the bill. Until then the government needs to make the cash available to build more family-sized council and housing association homes in the borough and end the misery of overcrowding for good.

A Change Has Got To Come…

Hackney Independent has been working with tenants and residents in Hoxton and Haggerston to try and create an independent group that puts the interests of working people (the majority of Hackney’s population) first.

For over 5 years we have supported campaigns to protect vital community services in Shoreditch, worked with tenants to tackle housing issues such as repairs and regularly put out a free newspaper that tells a very different story from the glossy spin of Hackney Today. Our main focus is on community politics but when we stood candidates in Haggerston in the last council elections we came within 90 votes of beating the Labour party.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers and certainly don¹t have a ‘party line’. We are currently talking with people on estates in Haggerston to see if they might be interested in helping to elect independent candidates who would report directly to residents. In the past we have pledged to commit any councillor’s salary towards creating a drop in centre so that people can report issues and problems directly to any elected representative.

We’d also like to talk with others in the borough who might want to share ideas or group together to work towards building an independent alternative to the main establishment parties. For those who are genuinely interested you can contact us through this website: or leave a message on 0207 684 1743.