Response to the Hackney Gazette,
There is nothing alarming about this proposal. This proposal is not for a Neighbourhood plan. Any proposal for a plan can only be considered at a later stage and will be subject to a referendum, where everybody in the area will have an equal say. Such a plan must conform to the council’s UDP and all relevant legislation in any event.
The large area proposed and the committee makeup, is to ensure the widest community representation from all different sections of the community, as is clearly evident from the current participation (see our website, stamfordhillhood.org.uk, for photographs) and could not be dominated by one particular community and is in fact the same area that once was the Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Committee, with the opportunity for some variation, subject to further consultation.
The purpose of this proposal is not at all about, land infill or garden paving, it is to, seek local solutions for local needs and to promote and enhance community cohesion and inclusiveness. The constitution of our forum, guarantees that, by making sure that everybody is encouraged to participate, the committee makeup is based upon a number of themes and remains fully accountable to all the people of the neighbourhood.
We have made a strenuous effort to get all interested parties involved and in particular from Hackney Planning Watch (sending them numerous e-mails), where not only have we, twice, withdrawn our earlier application, in order to seek their participation but we have even allocated a place for them at the committee. We have also sought the assistance from the Council, to gain their participation, However, despite all our efforts they steadfastly refused to participate. They attended on one occasion, only to state that their participation was conditional upon being granted a Veto Power, which was unacceptable, by all present, including Council officials.
Unlike, the totally unaccountable, Hackney Planning Watch, we did not have any meetings behind closed doors or set any quotas on particular communities wishing to take part. We advertised in the local public Maida, on our website and most importantly, our meetings were always open for all.
We hope that the attempt from Hackney Planning Watch, to politicise and smear this application as benefiting and being led by conservatives, (which is factually incorrect as they represent only a small minority of the committee proposed) will not be seized upon by the Labour run Council, who have a duty to perform their function irrespective of political affiliation. There is nothing wrong with the participation of the local councillors. In fact this is a legal requirement. Our Constitution guarantees, a seat on our committee for each of the political parties represented in the area. All local councillors, Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems were personally invited to participate and we had participation from all three political parties.
It is of concern that they have never objected to turn a church in to many small flats (Alkham Road) nor have they objected to turn one of the oldest and most important schools in Stamford Hill (Skinners School) into a massive residential development nor have they objected to a large residential development in a land infill, just behind peoples back gardens (Spring Hill). Their selectiveness is pretty worrying.
This latest scaremongering campaign will do little to promote community cohesion which we are seeking to enhance for the benefit of all our residents (yes, including conservatives) and our desire still remains for Hackney Planning Watch to participate and contribute. However, without a Veto.
The time has come, to set aside prejudice, ill feeling and stereotype tendencies and get together to improve the living standards within our neighbourhood.
by Linda Kelly, Chair of SHNF