Two chances to contribute before Council put the Stamford Hill Area Action Plan out for consultation

There are two further opportunities to get involved at consultation meetings on the Stamford Hill Area Action Plan before it goes to the Hackney Council Cabinet in January 2017, when it will be put out for wider consultation.

These are open to all and free to attend: –

Thursday 3 November

Stamford Hill Community Centre, Stamford Hill Estate, London N16 6RS

Sunday 6 November

Oak Tree Community Centre, 77 Bethune Rd, London N16 5ED

The Council and consultants have issued an Interim Report available here which gives an idea of the current thinking.

The issues seen as facing the area include:

– The need for accommodation for single people and large families
– The potential for all-round improvement of Stamford Hill Broadway
– The introduction of ‘character areas’
– The need to regularise shopping streets and areas like Dunsmure Road and Oldhill Street
– Areas identified for small-scale housing development
– How to improve representation the on the Area Action Plan panel

– Concerns about the need to house more residents and development ‘intensification’

In the meantime if you have any questions your are invited to call Sue Cooke AAP at Hackney Council on 020 8356 7740


New Housing Need Workshop Tuesday 24th November 2015

As part of the consultation process to build what it calls an “evidence base” for the area Action Plan Hackney Council is conducting a series of public workshops open to all with residents, Ward councillors and the Hackney Planning team.

The next workshop looking at housing need in Stamford Hill is on

Tuesday 24th November

At Stamford Hill Community Centre,

Stamford Hill Estate,

London N16 6RS.

On account of the high anticipated demand, there will be two sessions. They are timetabled as follows:

Session one –     5.30pm for refreshments

6pm workshop start (and will last 1hr)

Session two –     7.30pm for refreshments

8pm workshop start (and will last 1hr)

A second a week later will be on Housing our growing community on Tuesday 1st December 2015.

If you have any questions before the meeting, please call Ivan Tennant from the consultants running the workshops on 020 7739 3007, or email him at

You can find out more about the area the Action Plan process, reports from previous workshops and the overall timetable here.


Some you win, Sainsbury’s and Hackney Unites community paper

Legal Update – Sainsbury’s Out
Sadly, the court battle against the Wilmer Place development has come to an end. On Tuesday 21 April the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Terence Etherton, decided Stokey Local’s appeal against a previous High Court judgement would be unlikely to succeed. So the legal process ends here.

Obviously it’s disappointing, and Stokey Local’s legal team were shocked that their solid arguments, although praised by the judge, were rejected.

But this isn’t a time to be downhearted. Even though we’ve lost this specific battle, our continued tenacity and vigilance could still win the war. Things have changed a lot in the four years since the campaign started, and supermarkets are no longer quite as enthusiastic about opening big stores as they used to be. Today Sainsbury’s confirmed it no longer has a lease on the site – which could mean the development is shelved after all. If we’ve waited our opponents out until they change their minds, that’s a massive victory. And the campaign has achieved a lot anyway, by bringing the community together, revealing the injustices of the planning process and giving local people, businesses and wildlife vital extra years without this harmful development on their doorstep.

For more details of the legal wrangling, including yet another shocking revelation of Hackney Council’s culture of secrecy, obfuscation, defensiveness, digging-in and capitulation with the developer, read Nick Perry’s blog on the Stokey Local website.

So what next?

If Sainsbury’s are no longer be interested in the site, the developer may be looking to sell it on – which may mean another planning application. Let’s hope our campaign has persuaded the next developer to genuinely engage the local community in their plans next time. If not, watch this space!


Time for a meeting!
The campaign raised nearly £34,000 and as a result of court orders limiting Stokey Local’s costs and their lawyers working for free or reduced cost, there should be a few hundred pounds left in the bank account, once the bills are in. No doubt they’ll need this for the next round in the battle.

Stokey Local will be holding a public meeting at 7pm on Monday 11 May 2015 at St Paul’s West Hackney Church, on the High Street, at the junctions of Evering and Amhurst Roads. All are welcome.

Hackney Unites Community Newspaper
Hackney Unites, of whom Hackney Planning Watch is associated, has its latest edition community newspaper now in print ready to be delivered.

You can preview the whole paper here (it leads on the communities response to a proposed anti-Semitic protest in Stamford Hill).

It is important that we show how our communities can and do work together which is why we would appreciate your support in getting the newspaper out door to door.

There is a piece in the paper about the last Hackney Planning Watch meeting about the proposed area action plan, and a report on the Stokey Local campaign.

If you would like to help with distribution of these (perhaps taking a couple of hundred to do your own and a neighbouring street) that would be very much appreciated. We could do with more volunteers.

Just drop an email to Jane Holgate at with your name, phone number, how many you can take and which streets (or community outlets) you can distribute them in.

Great Meeting: What’s Next?

This was the scene when over 100 people attended a meeting to hear about the proposed Area Action Plan in Stamford Hill and how the community could engage with the consultation 


The event was addressed by Councillor Guy Nicholson (Cabinet member for Regeneration), as well as staff from the Planning Department and the Council’s contractor who is undertaking the consultation exercise.

While this was a terrific turn out, it was clear that the meeting did not fully reflect the diversity of the area. Only one member of the local Charedi community attended the meeting (this does not include the maverick former councillor Isaac Leibowitz who leafleted outside asking people not to attend) and a key discussion on the evening was how we create inter-communal dialogues.

The meeting itself broke into workshops to discuss what our vision of Stamford Hill is, what needs to change and how we can effect that change. A detailed report of those discussions will be contained in our next newsletter. However, among the key issues that arose were:

  • a lack of affordable housing in the area,
  • inconsistency with the Council’s approach to enforcement when inappropriate development takes place,
  • a failure by the Council to ‘zone’ areas for the development of infrastructure (i.e. schools)
  • issues relating to disabled access to pubic buildings, and
  • the lack of a ‘town centre’ for Stamford Hill.

It was agreed that we should produce a newsletter, and that this should be translated into Yiddish, as this would help to demonstrate our commitment to engaging with the full community.

We will be looking for help to distribute this newsletter across the area and we will need to fundraise to pay for the cost of leaflets, room hire and the newsletter (more details to follow)

However, the main issue at the moment is to increase the number of people in the area taking part in our on-line survey (we are concerned that the Council’s contractors are simply not reaching enough people to have a full understanding of the diverse views of the community).

If you have not done so, please do fill in the on-line survey and ask your friends and neighbours to do the same. 

Planning Watch
Planning Watch is an independent community organisation that arose in response to concerns that the Council was failing to meet the needs of the community in the north of the borough.

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

Thank you for your interest.

Find out about the Area Action Plan: Meeting Tuesday 20th January 2015

Meeting Tuesday 20 January Stamford Hill Library 7pm till 9pm

As reported in our last newsletter, Hackney Council has once again rejected competing Neighbourhood Forums and recommitted itself to a Area Action Plan. We believe that this is the best solution, but we know that the only way that the action plan will address the issues in the area is if the community is actively involved in formulating it.

We believe that an Area Action Plan could provide a long-term strategy for dealing with the issues of all communities in the area, but only if the Council actively listens to the communities (and that will only happen if we take the time to express our views).

We thought that it would be a useful way forward if we tried to bring together different sections of the community to talk about their concerns, needs and aspirations.

Stamford Hill gateway
We have therefore booked Stamford Hill Library for a public meeting on Tuesday 20 January from 7pm till 9pm. However, we do not want this to be a debate, more of a workshop. We will have some key speakers (from the Council, some planning students etc.) but ultimately it is a meeting designed to get everyone talking in smaller groups.

We know that planning has been a divisive issue in the area for years, but if we start talking, maybe, just maybe, we can find solutions that work for everyone. In the meantime, lets celebrate the diversity of our area.

Purim Kids

The festival of Purim is the biggest local street festival and something we all can celebrate.

We need help
To make the meeting a success we will need help.

  • We will need people to distribute a leaflet door-to-door in the streets of the proposed Area Action Plan
  • We will need people to help facilitate smaller group discussions on the evening
  • We will need some ‘stewards’  on the evening, and
  • We will need volunteers to attend a planning meeting.

If you can help in any of these ways, please drop an email to

In the meantime: 
Please forward this on to friends and neighbours in the area.

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


We just had to include this photo, because it so much begs for a ‘caption competition’.

Boris BoxingPlease sent your entries to

Many thanks for your continued support

Planning Watch

Area Action Plan Meeting

We’re planning a public meeting for the New Year to discuss the Council’s announcement of an Area Action Plan for North Hackney. The good news is that on 24 November, the Council rejected two competing proposals for a neighbourhood forum in the Stamford Hill. This is undoubtedly a good step as it means that planning will remain within the direct control of the Council and will not be ceded to one or other ‘special interest’ group, as reported in East London Lines and the Hackney Gazette

However the big question now is, given that the Council have decided to declare an Area Action Plan for the area, what involvement will there be from the community?

We are therefore  calling a public meeting in the new year, where we will have some community planning advisors discuss what an Area Action Plan is, and we will begin the process of asking what is it that we need from a planning policy for the area.

The time and place of the meeting will be announced shortly. We’re aiming for the week beginning 19th January and it is hoped that it will be an opportunity for people from all sectors of our community to begin a discussion about our shared needs and aspirations for the area.

For too long planning has been a divisive issue in this area, the only way we can change that is if we start listening to each other and exploring solutions that work for all.

More details to follow. But in the meantime, if you know people concerned about planning in north Hackney, please get them to sign up for our newsletter.

Thank you for your support

Council to Decide on Neighbourhood Forums 24th November 2014

On Monday 24th November two competing proposals for a neighbourhood forum in the Stamford Hill area will be discussed at the Council’s Cabinet. The meeting will be at Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, from 6pm

The fact that there are two competing applications demonstrates once again that there is no consensus regarding planning in the area. Unfortunately, given that the rules of accountability of ‘Neighbourhood Forums’ are very weak, it would be possible for one section of the community to dominate a forum to the exclusion of other sections.

Fortunately the Cabinet Report (available here) recommends that both proposals are rejected and that the alternative inclusive Area Action Plan is progressed.

Planning Watch supports this position and we are asking our supporters, if you have not already signed, to sign our petition urging the Councillors to reject both of the competing forums.

Urgent: please let people know
With just a few days before the vote, we need as many people as possible to sign the petition (because we don’t want the Council to think we have gone away, and we know that supporters of the proposed forums will be seeking to convince the Cabinet to reject the report). So please forward this email to friends and neighbours and ask them to sign the petition. 

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

Many thanks for your support

Planning Watch