Protest to Save Hackney's NHS!

In Hackney, NHS cuts are beginning to cause real harm to patient care. Cuts at the Homerton Hospital are escalating, with maternity beds axed, midwives facing redundancy, the specialist breast cancer nurse service cut, redundancy of nurses and therapists, cuts to rehabilitation care for patients who have had a stroke… Rationing of food and milk is so severe that women who have just given birth find themselves unable to have a cup of tea because the hospital can’t afford milk!

In Hackney, we’re also seeing NHS cuts having a serious impact on mental health services and community services. In mental health, we, we’ve had one acute and one rehab ward closed already – with more cuts to come. Community services are expected to lose £13.6 million this April, on top of the £17 million taken out of local NHS funding last year. Health workers at the Primary Care Trust now face redundancy. Morale amongst health workers across Hackney is close to rock bottom, as the financial squeeze gets tighter and tighter.
Our local demonstration in Hackney is part of a national Day of Action to defend the NHS. We’re now seeing cuts and privatisation on an unprecedented scale. Nationally, around 26,000 NHS jobs have been axed. Billions of pounds of public money are being squandered on PFI, Independent Sector Treatment Centres and other privatisation schemes. Cuts and closures are now causing incalculable damage.
The demonstration is on Saturday 3rd March, assembling at 12 noon outside Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street. Please do everything you can to attend the demonstration yourself, and to bring friends, neighbours or colleagues with you. Leaflets for the march are attached.
It’s time for a real fight to defend our NHS. Please come to the Hackney demonstration on 3rd March. This has been called by trade unions at the Homerton Hospital, City and Hackney Primary Care Trust and East London Mental Health Trust, and supported by the ‘Keep Hackney NHS Public’ campaign. We need as much support as we can possibly get from people who live or work in Hackney.
Gill George
Chair, Keep Hackney NHS Public

Manor Garden Allotments

The Manor Gardening Society’s Emergency General Meeting will be held on March 4th, this coming Sunday at 11.00 am. This will take place at the Eastway Baths Community Centre at Eastway, Hackney Wick.

The London Developent Authority will be attending to announce their intentions following the failure of their Marsh Lane plan.
As the morale of the plotholders has been continually worn down and many, understandably, feel the situation is hopeless.

The more outside support is demonstrated the better.

Supporters are asked to gather outside with banners from 10.30 am.

Please pass this message on – let’s get as much support as we can for the allotment gardeners to stay where they are at Waterden Road and protect Marsh Lane Fields from encroachment!

Mounting Anger at Estate Land Sell-Off

from Hackney Gazette, 8 February 2007

Tenants, residents and a Hackney Labour Party branch are up in arms about council plans to sell off up to £50 million worth of land on housing estates. The Leabridge branch of the Labour Party voted at a meeting last Thursday to oppose the council’s estates regeneration programme. The meeting passed a motion to debate the issue at Hackney North and Stoke Newington Constituency Labour Party next month.

Three days earlier, more than 70 people met at the Trelawney estate community hall in Morning Lane, Hackney, to discuss launching a campaign to fight the plans.

Janine Booth, of Malpas Road, Hackney, said the council’s idea was to fragment, privatise and over-populate the borough’s estates by allowing registered social landlords (RSLs) to build more homes and demolish a number of existing properties.

“Publicly-owned land is an asset that should not be given over into private hands,” she said. “Transfer to an RSL is a move away from away from public accountability, a form of privatisation.

“The experiences of residents on estates transferred in the past are not good. The council must be defining areas which residents use as ‘under-used’. To the council and developers, ‘under-used’ probably means ‘not making money’.”

The meeting of tenats and residents concluded by resolving to form an action committee; produce a petition; demonstrate outside the town hall and on estates facing demolition; demand a meeting with the council’s executive; and co-ordinate a response with trade unions.

According to a report which went before Hackney Council’s Cabinet last October, the council is seeking to sell patches of land for redevelopment, such as a plot between housing blocks on the Haberdasher estate in Shoreditch, large enough to accommodate 40 new two and three bedroom maisonettes.

Sales of such sites on 26 estates across the borough to RSLs for redevelopment could provide more than 500 new homes and generate up to £50 million for the town hall.

Last month the Gazette reported on concerns among community campaign group, Hackney Independent, that tenants and residents were being kept in the dark about the exact location of sites being earmarked by the council for redevelopment.

In October last year, 30 tenants of the Points on the Gascoyne estate in Homerton dressed as Guy Fawkes and Hallowe’en-style characters and demonstrated outside the town hall against the potential demolition of their homes.

Cllr Jamie Carswell, deputy mayor of Hackney and the Cabinet member for housing, said “I think the residents have got the wrong end of the stick. Nothing’s been decided as yet. There’s going to be a lot of work done by our capacity consultants, work which is still waiting to be done.

“The key thing is that any resources gained get ploughed straight back on to the estates. We would not be doing this unless it was about people’s homes and where people live.”

Put any of our 'spare' space to good use

from the Hackney Gazette, 1 February 2007

Commenting on the disquiet that has met proposals to flog off ‘spare’ space on council estates for development (“In the Dark Over Land Sell-Off Plan”, Gazette, January 11), Cllr Jamie Carswell made a number of remarks that need clarification.

He said: “We will be building much-needed housing (and) we will also be investing in facilities for the community, such as playgrounds, garages and parking spaces”.

Who is this “we” that Cllr Carswell claimed will be building new homes? Certainly not the council. Their report on the matter makes it clear that any land freed up as a result of the demolition of homes and garages will be sold to housing associations. Moreover 30 per cent of the new homes will be for private sale.

How can the council claim that “we” are set to build new homes under these circumstances? It seems that what New Labour in Hackney are really doing is continuing the flogging-off of public assets – something we were told was a thing of the past.

Where exactly will the space be found to provide “playgrounds, garages and parking spaces” when it is just these facilities which the council is proposing to knock down and sell off?

The space already exists for “investment” in these facilities. Why not just “invest” in what’s already there, if that’s what Cllr Carswell really meant?

Hackney’s council estates are already densely built and under-resourced. If there are unused spaces – and that is debateable – why can’t they be used to improve the environment for existing tenants?

Carl Taylor
Hackney Independent

Lammas Land Defence Committee: 1, London Development Agency: 0

The first set back for the Olympic games developments came on Wednesday evening at Waltham Forest Town Hall.

The LDA wanted to temporarily move the Manor Park allotment holders to Marsh Lane playing fields. As previous written about on this site, the allotment users are absolutely against any move.

The land proposed for the temporary allotments is part of the Lammas Land: land bequeathed to the commoners of Leyton by Alfred the Great.
Defence of the land erupted on August 1, 1892 when 2,000 men, women and children gathered to defend the encroachment on the area by a railway line. The tracks were torn up and in the resulting melee two local councillors were arrested by the police – obviously local councillors then were made of sterner stuff than todays pathetic breed!

Lammas Land users and the Manor Park allotment holders have come together on this issue – they do not want their local environment and communities destroyed only to be replaced by the gigantic Disney-style sports theme park that is to be home for the 2012 Olympics.

For further background information please read the following article on the Games Monitor site:

The Lammas Land Defence Committee has released the following communiqué:

‘CELEBRATION 12 noon, Sunday, Marsh Lane

Last night the Borough of Waltham Forest’s planning committee turned down an application by the London Development Agency to fence off about a fifth of Marsh Lane Fields in Leyton to relocate allotment-holders (who don’t want to move!) from a lovely 85 year old site at Bully Point in Newham. The campaign against this was led by the Lammas Lands Defence Committee, with a lot of help from other interested groups in the borough.

We had already planned a rally on the marshes on Sunday before the announcement that last night’s planning committee meeting would be deciding the application, and we therefore propose to hold a PARTY on the fields. So bring party stuff – champers, ribbons, etc. – if there’s any snow we can build a snowman or have a snowball fight! And please bring polo mints, carrots or apples for the horses that graze there – they’ll appreciate it immensely this time of the year when it’s muddy and the grass doesn’t grow very fast.


This is the first real bloody nose the LDA have got over the Olympics, and there are planning applications due to come up soon in Hackney and Newham – a lot of people from those boroughs came to support our defence of the Leyton Lammas Lands last night and we should now work together with them to help where we can with the ongoing evictions and demolition at Clays Lane housing estate and the threats to Hackney South Marsh.

If you don’t feel “political” but would like to come and find out more, please come and join us on Sunday and help celebrate saving the fields.

We’ll be meeting at the junction of Seymour Path and Marsh Lane, just west of the Eton Manor Athletics Club car-park (beside the Dagenham Brook).

Drinks afterwards at the Hare & Hounds (great Sunday lunch grub too!) if you can’t make the actual event.’