This is a brief update on the campaign to stop the outsourcing of planning policy in the north of the borough to an unelected and unaccountable neighbourhood forum.
Last year, the Council rejected two competing applications for a neighbourhood forum in the Stamford Hill area.
We opposed both forums as we believe that: planning is too controversial and divisive an issue in this part of Hackney and that there is no community consensus about what planning policy should look like.
In December we heard that Conservative Councillor (and Hackney Mayoral candidate) Linda Kelly was once again seeking to exploit community tensions over planning to further her own political ambitions. She had submitted an almost identical application to the one that was rejected last year, presumably in the belief that the community objections would be less strong and that the Council could be ‘worn down’ by repeated applications.
In response, some members of the community have submitted an alternative proposed forum which stresses the need for any changes to be made by consensus. So there are now two competing applications: Hackney Planning Watch opposes both.
The Council will now consult on the second, but to avoid becoming embroiled in politics the council cannot begin the consultation until after the May elections. Given that there will be an eight-week consultation period and the Cabinet does not meet in September, realistically, the issue is not now likely to come up for decision until October.
This means that our main activity at the present time will be to continue to promote our petition.
We are also interested in holding a community discussion about planning and the needs of the community in Stamford Hill. We have a number of planning academics who are prepared to work with us: this may be a way of moving towards a greater understanding of the diverse needs of the community. If you are interested in getting involved in organising this please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sainsburys/Wilmer Place development
The Sainsbury/Wilmer Place development has been granted planning permission. However, Stokey Local and the lawyers are pouring over the decision to see whether there is scope for a second judicial review. More details will follow in about three weeks time.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden Pre-Application Meeting
Tuesday 25 February 2014, 6.30pm Stoke Newington town Hall Church Street N16 0JR
There is a pre-application meeting on Tuesday (25th) where the council planning committee will explore proposals for the redevelopment of the Kingsland Shopping Centre in Dalston. Most people welcome the redevelopment of the site, but are concerned about the potential loss of the Eastern Curve Garden, lack of affordable homes, and question what benefits there will be (particularly relating to training and employment) for the local community. More details here: https://tinyurl.com/nqcfdwj
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