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.