Just Four Days To Go – To Stop An Unelected Forum

We are asking you as a matter of urgency to object to proposals for the establishment of an unelected and unaccountable ‘planning forum’ to decide on planning policy in the Stamford Hill area. If you want to object to the plans you have until this Friday 31st January.

As you may be aware Conservative Councillor Linda Kelly has recently submitted a renewed application to take control of planning policy in Stamford Hill.

What we need to do now is:

  • Write to ldf@hackney.gov.uk, expressing your opposition to the proposed forum.
  • Contact  friends neighbours etc
  • Register to get involved, by attending a meeting, helping with leafleting the area, or forming an alternative forum should that become necessary: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WKLNYZ9 and
  • And if you live in the appropriate area, confirm that you are happy to be part of an alternative neighbourhood forum application (we don’t actually want an alternative, but for tactical reasons, it makes sense to counter these proposals)

Background
There has long been a conflict in the area about ‘over-development’. A minority group within the Charedi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) community, not supported by a single Rabbi, but encouraged and supported by Conservative Councillors are seeking to establish an ‘area of exception’ where normal planning rules do not apply. Disgracefully, Conservative Councillor Linda Kelly and her colleagues are exploiting community tensions over planning issues for her own political ends.

The Council Planning site has details of the proposed forum’s application.  However to learn more about its real intentions see the recent article by Jonathan Freedland in the Jewish Chronicle.

This is substantially the same as the application that was submitted by the Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Forum this time last year, and rejected in July by the Council as divisive. The report to Cabinet found: ‘there are deep-seated divisions within the community in this part of Hackney on planning issues’ (para 9.2, Stamford Hill/North Hackney Neighbourhood Area/Forum Applications Key Decision No. LHR H14: 22 July 2013) and they rejected the proposed forum although they did agree a neighbourhood area (intending to progress to the development of a council lead Area Action Plan)

This application is designed to prevent the declaration of an Area Action plan, and we  have until Friday 31 January to raise any objections to this latest incarnation of the proposed forum.

Time to object
If you can find the time you should take the time to register a written objection to ldf@hackney.gov.uk, entitling your email: ‘Central Stamford Hill neighbourhood forum’, Please also copy your response to planningwatch@btinternet.com

The key objection is that the so-called Stamford Hill Neighbourhood forum is unrepresentative, and seeks to subvert existing planning policy and procedures in an area where planning policy is very divisive.

Rather than addressing community concerns it would simply allow one special interest group to legitimise what would currently be impermissible development.

You might want to reference Jonathan Freedland’s article.

There is also an interesting and revealing Guardian item.

While both articles relate to the earlier incarnation of this proposal, the substance and motivation has not changed. It is also worth noting that the suggestion that the proponents of this application have sought to engage with us is dishonest.

A counter-proposal
It makes sense for us to submit a counter-proposal. To do this we need 21 local people living, or working, within the designated area to agree to put their names to an alternative ‘Stamford Hill (community) Neighbourhood Forum’.

The area is bordered by Bethune Road, Dunsmure Road, Portland Road, Braydon Road, Oldhill Street, Clapton Common, Spring Hill, Lingwood Road, Craven Walk, and the northern boundary of the borough.

If you will add your name to the counter-proposal that will assist us (we do not actually want any neighbourhood forum in this area, but a counter-proposal is a tactical move that illustrates that the current proposal does not enjoy cross-community support.

Getting organised
Can you please take the time to complete a short survey with questions about leafleting, meetings etc.

Let people know
We have less than a month to stop this proposal. Can you please forward this email on to friends and neighbours, can you also please send out a tweet, or post in your Facebook (if you have them):

Planning watch organising to stop the Tories exploiting community tensions in Stamford Hill: http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=eab600714b6d301a22f1f829b&id=2ee53b40b4&e= Please RT

Sign up
If you would like to join Hackney Planning Watch’s email list, please sign up.

Planning Watch planningwatch@btinternet.com

.Sainsbury’s Wilmer Place Development – No “Call-In”

 The Secretary of State has declined to ‘call-in’ the Sainsbury/Wilmer Place development. This is obviously a set-back for the campaign, but it is not the end.
The Council will now proceed to grant planning permission for the development. In the meantime, Stokey Local’s expert barristers (community members themselves and working for no cost to the community) will begin the process of deciding whether or not there are grounds for a second judicial review.

So unfortunately, at the moment it is just a waiting game, but if the legal advice is that there are grounds to challenge this latest decision then Stokey Local will go ahead.

What have we achieved?
Every time we have a setback, it is worth reminding ourselves that:

  1. The original development proposals came forward three years ago, and to date nothing has happened.
  2. The current proposals, bad as they are, are an improvement on the original ones.
  3. Whatever happens in the end the community has shown itself capable of mobilising support around issues we care about.
  4. The future of Abney Park is more secure now

What next?
Stokey Local is planning a party (many thanks to Bikini Beach band who have committed to organising an event). Stokey Local is arranging talks with the Stoke Newington Business Association to explore areas where they can work together to promote the area.

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