Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Mapping sustainable communities in Hackney

 More info on UCL’s Mapping sustainable communities in Hackney project. There’s also a link in the list of websites below to the Justice in the Green website. It includes more information, reports and short films on the work undertaken in Millfields in 2008 and 2009 so do take a look. 

Matthew Wood-Hill, Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, MSc Environment and Sustainable Development, Development Planning Unit, UCL:
“Previously the students' work has been structured according to specific areas in and around E5. This year the project has taken an interesting turn, using a more thematic approach to how the Marshes and other green spaces in the vicinity are being used. The six themes being addressed by individual student groups are:
  • Creative Arts Expression;
  • Unstructured Play;
  • Collective Sports;
  • Cultivating Spaces;
  • Being with Nature; and
  • Moving through Nature.
As with previous years we are examining as the key concept the potential for the creation 'environmental justice' in the area in relation to these themes. The groups have specific community organisations with whom they are encouraged to work with in their research, and we hope that the emphasis on a theme rather than a geographical areas can provide the chance to look at broader linages between the different themes, and how they conflict/interact with each other.  

We can now confirm the date and place of the student's presentations of the work they have been doing over the past couple of months. The event will take place in the Wally Foster Community Centre, just off Mabley Green, between 10am and 4pm on Friday 14th January. I'll update you again when we have more information (such as, for example, when each specific student group will be presenting). The invitation is extended to all members of the community and local residents, so you are more than welcome to attend and to publicise this on your blog if you wish. We hope to run another event or exhibition that will be far more community rather than student-oriented sometime in February.”

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Name That Landmark


Message from UCL Development Planning Unit students: 

Name That Landmark

We need U to help us rename sites and spots within the Hackney Marshes and surrouding green spaces.
Join us on Sat 8 Jan 2011
for a “mis-guided” walk + mapping workshop.

Meet 10am St Mary of Eton Church Hall, Eastway E9. From there we will divide into 3 groups, and walk (1-2 hrs) around the Hackney Marshes, and surrounding green spaces, re-naming landmarks and sites personal to U. We will reconvene at the St Mary of Eton Church Hall + re-write the map according to our findings.

Sat 8 Jan 2011

10am – 4pm

St Mary of Eton Church Hall, Eastway, E9

We are a team of DPU students conducting research for Justice in the Green, with a focus on the Creative Arts. The resulting map will be presented at the Hackney Wick Community Hall, Jan 24th, and be available online.

DPU. Justice in the Green. UCL, 2011

Saturday, 18 December 2010

National Grid fencing

National Grid are finally taking down the ugly green fencing around the sub-station that has intruded into the park (due to be finished Tuesday).  Good of course that some of the trees that had been within the site boundary are back in the park. Not sure it is, as National Grid claim, "restoring this area to the parkland" given it effectively extends the road that runs from Hillstowe Street so that it goes right through to Millfields Road.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Mugging on North Millfields

We received an emailed from someone asking me to post the following:-

"I thought you might want to mention on your blog that a mugger seems to be targeting people cutting through the park at night from the bus stops on Lea Bridge Road and heading to Harry Zeital Way*. My partner was mugged and threatened with being stabbed last night close to the new towpath, the Police seemed to suggest it wasn't the first of late."

Please do be careful if you're cutting through the park at night.
* Harry Zeital Way is the new road down to the river, part of Latham's Yard devt

Sunday, 5 December 2010

National Grid - shame on you

It is shocking that National Grid have yet to resolve the access route issues through South Millfields despite holding two public consultations.
The picture above shows how the National Grid current route (Route 10) dissects part of the park. Since 2005, it has also disrupted the lives of Hillstowe Street’s residential community in order to upgrade its sub-station. Hillstowe Street is a small cul de sac in Lea Bridge conservation area.

From 2005-10, a jaw dropping number  of heavy load vehicles have accessed the National Grid site using Hillstowe Street as its only access route. After five years of misery and protests from Hillstowe Street residents, National Grid finally committed - and following its announcement that further major works lasting until 2016 was in the offing - to undertake a consultation process to take this industrial traffic away from Hillowstowe Street. 
Despite holding two consultation exercise, no progress at all appears to have been made and you do have to wonder if National Grid are committed to honestly finding and driving through a solution. With new major works now underway and not scheduled to be completed until 2016, let’s hope that National Grid pulls it finger out and finds  a way forward that gives local blighted residents back their quiet street.

Local councillors suggest that Hackney planning are likely to resist any new route through the park. I’m not convinced Route 8 in particular is any longer than the existing route and it makes a great deal more sense in terms of the Masterplan for the park. The siting of the Pavillion, in particular, makes no sense if the existing route isn't moved. 
Extract from Masterplan: 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Stop the Lea Marsh Hotel

LVRPA is trying to get a cheap hotel built in front of the ice rink and riding stables in Lea Bridge Road. It appears to have already got some backing from the local planning authority, the London Borough of Waltham Forest, who have recently (October 2010) scheduled the area as a priority site under the Northern Olympic Fringe plan.

More information on the Lea Marsh website and on the Facebook Stop the Lea Marsh Hotel pages. Links to both sites are below in the list of local websites.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Masterplan: Update on play area in North Millfields

Still awaiting an updated Masterplan map of Millfields from Hackney which takes on board the comments of the Millfields Users' Group and local residents. In the original version, which is posted on the Masterplan page of this blog, there were two natural play areas envisaged, one in North Millfields and one in South Millfields. A bit of an upper / lower Clapton divide if you ask me - you wouldn't guess it was one park. Anyway, both proposed sites attracted criticism and the funding that was earmarked for both seemed to disappear. I think, the latest plan is to have one site on South Millfields in a site which still is attracting criticism. Not sure why it can't be placed in the orchard, near the river where the mature planes are - this would seem a more appropriate setting for a 'natural' play area.

Whilst we await a new map - I've attached below an update from Hackney on the play area in North Millfields which the Council has confirmed it has funding to improve and will be consulting residents on.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Millfields Users' Group Committee

Millfields Users' Group Committee met yesterday. I attended to support the Committee with its work to set up a website. It will issue formal minutes in due course, but below is a quick heads up on some of the issues covered. Please note; this isn't intended to be comprehensive of all the issues covered (the Masterplan for example will be revisited at a later point) and it has not been Committee endorsed as accurate. 

·       It was sad to learn people are sleeping rough in Millfields Park and along parts of the river Lea, particularly given the time of the year, with the heavy rain and temperatures dropping. We understand Hackney Council is working an organisation called Street Rescue to try to provide outreach work to the  rough sleepers (as opposed to just moving them on to another location). We wish them well with that.

·       The Millfields Users’ Group Committee have previously raised with the Council the need to for more bins in the park to discourage littering. It was advised by the Parks Department that: “Due to the current economic situation we are unable to provide additional bins, however we can review the current locations of the existing bins and ensure that they are in the most suitable locations.” Please do add comments below if you have suggestions on better locations for existing bins. I’ll feed these back to the MUG Committee to then feed back a co-ordinated response to Hackney.

Dog Faeces
·       Park on site staff are required to pick up dog mess when they see it.  The Millfields Users’ Group have previously stressed the need for dog mess bags – Hackney, unfortunately, do not have any reserves of these. It has advised:  “we are working alongside the Dogs Trust and are running microchip and dog training events across Hackney, we will be setting up further dates for the new year and have requested that one of these is held in Millfields.  We are also working with the Dogs trust on free tailored training events for our rangers in how to deal with dog related anti social behaviour.”

·       It’s disappointing given the large amounts of monies secured for implementing master plans in other Hackney parks that relatively cheap ideas for improving Millifields Park get caught up in Hackney bureaucracy. The Council’s written response was it “is currently in the midst of developing a signage strategy for parks this will provide styles and designs for signage and notice boards within all our green spaces.  The bespoke notice boards at Stoke Newington Common were developed before this process had begun.” I guess that means no time soon then.

Masterplan Issues
·       MUG Committee is still awaiting an updated version of the Masterplan – as soon as a recieive a copy - it will be posted here.

Essex Wharf Update

Essex Wharf: Waltham Forest: Application No: 2010/0934

Hackney Council have now responded to Waltham Forest with its observations on the third planning application for the Essex Wharf site. Hackney's observations are copied below:- 

However, the developers have now submitted an Appeal against refusal of permission for the second planning application for residential development on the Essex Wharf Site. I understand this likely to result in a public inquiry in January. 

Lea Valley Federation have submitted its comments on the applicant's appeal. A copy of its submission can be found at:-
Well done to all those in the Federation involved with pulling together this comprehensive response. 

Friday, 19 November 2010

Good news, bad news.

Hackney's improvements to Southwold Road and Casimir Road entrance to Millfields are well underway (despite legitimate concerns about some aspects of the work raised by MUG as part of the consultation). The work is being funded as Millfields and Southwold Road have been identified as a key route for pedestrians and cyclists to travel to the Olympic Park via the Lea Navigation Tow Path.

There are plans being considered to close a three-mile stretch of the River Lea during London 2012 because of terrorism fears.The move by the Met would mean scrapping plans to use the river to transport visitors to the Olympic Park, as well as closure of the canal towpath. More details at:

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Back in business

Some pictures from last weekend's planting on Millfields north towpath, along with an article on it from this week's Gazette.