London Fields pensioners forced out?

OPEN (Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Ltd) in association with London Fields User Group


On Thursday 7th June 2007 at 7.30pm at St Michael and All Angels Church Hall (junction of Lavender Grove and Lansdowne Drive E8)

The purpose of the meeting is to hear a presentation and to discuss a planning application made by Hanover in Hackney to demolish Bayton Court, sheltered housing accommodation on London Fields, and to redevelop the site to provide 16 x 4-bedroom houses and 2 x 4-bedroomed maisonettes for private sale. Although the redevelopment proposal does not satisfy the Council’s planning policies, Hanover have asked that it should be considered “holistically” in the context of 11 other planning applications made simultaneously.
Bayton Court is on the west side of, and overlooks, London Fields. The developer proposes todemolish a 2-storey development and build houses at higher density up to 4 and 5 storeys.
The redevelopment will impact on the frail and elderly residents, who will need to be relocated, and on residents of neighbouring Blackstone Estate and create significant changes to the setting and streetscape of London Fields. Blackstone Estate TRA have put in strong objections to the proposal.
Bayton Court is one of 29 sheltered housing schemes which were transferred by Hackney Council to newly formed Hanover in Hackney in October 2002. At that time it was made clear to tenants that the Council had no money to improve the properties but it was promised that, if the transfer proceeded, £41 million would be invested with every flat to be refurbished within 5 years and that their Sheltered Housing Officers and the services provided would remain the same. In view of these promises tenants voted in favour.
However, in 2003 Hanover undertook a review of its former Council assets and identified development and sale opportunities to raise capital from its 29 properties. It commissioned architects to help realise these opportunities. Then, in March 2006, it advised its tenants that, due to Hackney Council requirements, it would be replacing residential sheltered housing officers with “floating support” workers. This scheme is likely to be introduced in November 2007. The demolition and redevelopment plans, and the loss of their residential sheltered housing officers, will not be the subject of a tenants’ ballot.
The planning application drawings for Bayton Court have only recently been published on the Council’s web site although the official consultation period expired on 15 May. The Council’s planning officer has confirmed that comments received prior to the Planning Committee meeting will be considered.
Hanover in Hackney’s architects have agreed to attend and present the scheme at the meeting but with the proviso that, following a “high level” meeting with planners to take place this week, their attendance may become “inappropriate”.

To see planning application go to (search planning applications – 2007/0286)
Public meeting:7.30pm, Thursday June 7, St Michael and All Angels Church Hall (junction of Lavender Grove and Lansdowne Drive E8)
For more information contact or contact OPEN c/o Dowse & Co. 23-25 Dalston Lane E8 3DF

E2 road safety petition

On 4th May cyclist Ninian Fraser Donald was killed by a lorry at the junction of Whiston Road and Kingsland Road.

Local resident and Kingsland TRA Chair Anna Maria Mari has drawn up a petition calling for safety improvements at the junction.

It can be found at the bar in the Old King John’s Head pub on Whiston Road. If you are passing please pop in to sign it.

Decline of Gillett Square

from Hackney Gazette, 24 May 2007

In your report of the decline of Gillett Square, you failed to remind readers that the fanfare opening of the square attended by Jules Pipe and Ken Livingstone was also attended by a number of protestors voicing their concern about the social cleansing of the area. It looks as though they were right. Hackney Council and the regeneration professionals think that architecture and middle-class culture is the key to improving areas like Dalston. In doing so, they ignored the needs of the majority of low income working families and now apparently want to sweep aside those who have become unemployed, homeless and/or alcoholic.

The council has publicly funded a “Mediterranean-style square” upon which it now proposes to impose a strict drinking ban! It would be funny if it weren’t so hypocritical. Can someone tell me the difference between late night revellers in Shoreditch and down-and-out street drinkers in Dalston? While both groups urinate in the street and upset local residents, one group is threatened with dispersal, CCTV and policing while the other’s anti-social behaviour is ignored. One group drinks cheap wine and lager and has no disposable income, while the other drinks expensive wine and trendy imported lager and has an enormous disposable income. Do you suppose that’s why they’re treated so differently?

“Diverting” street drinkers elsewhere, as the Council puts it, or instigating some kind of social apartheid, where some are welcome and others are banned, should not be taken seriously. I sympathise with the residents over-looking Gillett Square just as I do with those who live adjacent to Hoxton Square. The fact is that the Council and others ignored the needs of local people – both residents and down-and-outs – when they “regenerated” Gillett Square. You cannot regenerate an area by ignoring its social problems at the planning stage and then resorting to bully tactics when those social problems refuse to go away. If anyone is guilty of anti-social behaviour here it’s Hackney Council, for p***ing over all of us from a great height.

Carl Taylor
Hackney Independent

Hypocritical reception on the town hall steps

The following article was sent to Hackney Independent. The author wished to remain anonymous:

If you were walking past Hackney Town Hall a couple of weeks ago you may well have noticed a protest being held by London Field residents over the erection of a phone mast by T mobile in the Richmond Road area.
Back in 2004 the Council failed to respond to or reject a planning application from the company to build the mast and as such T-mobile exploited planning laws by deciding to go ahead with their plans at the end of April.
Protesters gathering on the Town Hall steps were delighted when Labour Chief, Jules Pipe addressed them stating, ‘T-mobile should do the honourable thing and not go near London Fields.’
Considering the concerns over the possible health implications of placing radiation emitting devices close to busy public areas I think that we would all agree with the sentiment of Mayor Pipe and his apparent resolute stand against such developments!
However I was recently on the 55 bus passing through Lower Clapton and to my surprise I noticed a new mast, situated on top of a portacabin, between Mildenhall and Atherden Road.
The top of the aerial is almost level with the top deck of a bus and in heavy traffic passengers are presented with a safety sign on the mast itself which rather alarmingly alerts readers;
You have plenty of time to read the sign as you sit in rush hour traffic adjacent to the microwaves and the new flats which they front.
It struck me on observing the demonstration by residents from the recently gentrified Martello Street and surrounds that Mr Pipe appeared to be saying one thing and doing another.
Appeasing the middle class residents of the ex-squatted, Class War heartlands whilst on the other hand apparently ignoring the carcinogenic pulses of masts in Lower Clapton, one of Hackney’s more run down areas populated in the majority by working class people.
On further investigation it seems that Hackney is covered in ‘base stations’. Indeed in Clapton alone there are many, including four on the Lea Bridge Roundabout (at least two on top of the B-Six sixth form college), two on the Pembury Estate and two on buildings around the Downs.
Furthermore there are at least seven on Mare Street, two on top of the Trelawny Estate and loads in Dalston.
It would seem that the only real ‘reception black spot’ in Hackney is the London Fields area and although I do not take issue with those expressing their rights to demonstrate on that sunny day in April I do take issue with the cynical and ill informed approach of a Mayor who has been leading the council for the last 11 years during which time mobile phone masts have been springing up all over the place, on schools and Council blocks throughout the Borough.
If the Mayor, who exclaimed that T-mobile had ‘no moral right’ to build the mast in London fields, feels so strongly about their erection then perhaps he should examine the Council’s income to see how much the Borough makes from renting out their building’s rooftops to phone companies.
If readers feel the need to contact him to express their concern at his apparent hypocrisy may I suggest that they ring from Lower Clapton I understand that the coverage there is excellent!!!

An appeal for writers and those with an issue to publicise

The Hackney Independent site is now the main source of alternative news in this borough.

Not only do we post up announcements the recent coming Spirit benefit gig and the cominig screening of the East of Liberty documentary at the Rio, we also carry interviews and opinion pieces.

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Articles should be from a pro-working class point of view, broadly in keeping with Hackney Independent’s politics and the issues we are campaigning on. At present we are of course mainly interested in articles relevant to Hackney.

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