Friday, 18 April 2014

How do you know which party to vote for next month?

On 22 May, De Beauvoir's residents will have the chance to vote in 3 elections, voting for your choice from amongst the candidates who have put themselves forward for these roles:

1.  De Beauvoir's 2 councillors
2.  The Mayor of Hackney
3.  London's 8 MEPs

So, how do you choose?  Well, the Hackney Labour Party and Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe, have taken a step to help you in picking your favourite candidates standing for the council and to be mayor because they've published the Hackney Labour manifesto for the 2014 local elections.  You can download it from this page.

You can also find a list of Labour's MEP candidates here.

If you're resident in Hackney and you're from another member state of the EU, you can still vote in all three of the elections mentioned above, even if you're not British.  Your right to vote in those elections comes directly from the document that creates the EU (Article 22 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, in case you're interested).  You just won't be able to vote in next year's general election.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Do you have an opinion about changes in De Beauvoir?

NYLon Projects is looking for people who live in Hackney, particularly in De Beauvoir and neighbouring areas, to come and take part in an active conversation about the changes the ward and borough is going through.

They are offering two events (you can come to one or both):

Sunday 20 April, 3-5.30pm
The workshop will be held in the Community Hall at The Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Road, London N1 5SQ.

Sunday 27 April, 11.30am-1pm
The workshop will be held at St Peter's Church, De Beauvoir Square in Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA.


NYLon Projects will invite a dialogue about changes happening in Hackney, explore different points of view and ideas people have about building better understanding and connections between local people.

The workshops will be documented and key findings will be shared with borough decision-makers. In addition to having a conversation, we will work with professional theatre-makers to use forum theatre techniques to explore ideas about change. How you take part is up to you.

Contact: to guarantee a space or show up on the day.

Otherwise, you can visit NYLon website:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

De Beauvoir Ward Forum: De Beauvoir Community First – Monday March 24th 7pm

Thank you to everyone who managed to make it along to our ward forums focusing on the Regents Canal. Our next De Beauvoir Ward Forum is fast approaching and will focus on De Beauvoir Community First and how we can make sure it has the greatest possible positive impact on our area - please do come along and join the discussion.

Community First is a Cabinet Office funded grant scheme focused on the poorest areas in the UK. In De Beauvoir, we've been awarded £30,000 to distribute to residents and community groups to make our community better and stronger.

Over the past two years De Beauvoir's Community First Panel has awarded more than £10,000 to projects in our local area, including a slalom course in Kingsland Basin, a herb garden on Hobbs Place Estate and a computer training scheme on Whitmore Estate. You can find out more about the work done so far here.

We now want to ensure that the next two years build on this success. Please join us to ensure you're part of shaping how we invest the final £20,000 in our community.

We'll be meeting at 7pm on March 24th at the Rose Lipman Centre on Downham Road. We'll be joined by Community First Panel members and local community groups, and together we'll work to shape where we head over the next two years.

If you'd like to come along, to allow us to gauge numbers it would be great if you could sign up here to let us know.

The De Beauvoir Ward Forum is open to anyone who lives or works in De Beauvoir so please do pass on this invite to anyone you think may be interested.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Hackney calls for support against the blight of bookies

Hackney Council has launched a new phase in its campaign against the wave of betting shops blighting Hackney's high streets. You can read the full story at:

The Council is also calling on residents nationwide to sign an online petition to Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to demonstrate the weight of public opinion against the current betting shop free-for-all.

The Council’s proposal is that betting shops be given their own use class, as with nightclubs and casinos. This would mean residents and councillors could have a say over every application, and the potential impact that a new betting shop may have on an area would become a key factor on whether or not it gets approved.

To view the petition, visit

More information: 

A Deloitte Customer Review survey published in January found that 52 per cent of people wanted fewer betting shops in their high streets, compared with just 6 per cent wanting more.

Guardian research from the same month demonstrated a direct link between areas of deprivation and spend on gambling.

A London Assembly report last year found a 13 per cent increase in betting shops across London between January 2010 and December 2012, concluding that government should amend planning legislation to give local communities more control.

An independent review by Mary Portas into high streets, commissioned by this government in 2011, also concluded betting shops should be given their own use class, stating they are "blighting our high streets", while a Local Government Association report found clusters of betting shops harmed local economies. Government has in the past suggested that a technical planning tool called an Article 4 Direction gives councils sufficient powers over betting shop applications. However, this has proven not to be the case by councils trying to use it.

To read the full submission, visit
The read the Deloitte Customer Review, visit
For the Guardian research, visit
For the London Assembly report, visit
For the Mary Portas review, visit
For the Local Government Association report, visit

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Council Budget for 2014/15

On Wednesday of last week, the Council passed the Budget for 2014/15.

There is £1.1bn of spending in the budget on vital services in Hackney including:

  • £47.7m on the public realm including street cleaning, graffiti removal, maintaining street lights, recycling, providing cycle training for local residents
  • £86m on adult social care, including support for residents to live as independently as possible, mental health services and services for people with learning disabilities  
  • £7.7m on libraries, museums and culture  
  • £7.5m on managing Hackney’s 56 parks
  • £29.8m on public health services, including sexual health services, reducing obesity, helping people to stop smoking and drug and alcohol misuse services
  • £254m on schools
  • £6.7m on environmental health, licensing and planning  
  • £41.5m on children’s social care
  • £16m on the Young Hackney service
  • £4.6m on community safety, the integrated gangs unit, domestic violence response and emergency planning.

Council tax has also been frozen for the ninth consecutive year. At the budget meeting, Mayor Pipe made it clear that increasing Council Tax would not have made up for the scale of cuts imposed on Hackney by central Government. He said: "Increasing Council Tax at this time would add more financial pressure to those in need, for little benefit to services. Despite collecting 97% of what is owed each year, a 2% rise in Council Tax bills would yield only £360,000 extra which is dwarfed by the £100m cut in central Government grant."

There have been unprecedented cuts to council funding from the Coalition Government since 2010 and £100m has been cut from Hackney’s grant. The cuts have been disproportionately high in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and there has been a sustained attempt from central Government to permanently reduce the size and scope of local services. As Jules Pipe set out when introducing the budget, the priority in Hackney has been to keep providing services that residents depend on, finding new ways of working and new sources of funding.

He said: “We have had to make tough decisions and we have seen job losses, in common with many local authorities up and down the country, and it is clear that we will have to make further tough decisions in the future. Our priority over the coming year is to protect the services that matter most to them, to keep our streets clean, keep our parks and libraries open and welcoming and to care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

The Tory and Lib Dem groups on the Council put forward amendments to the budget. These included measures such as stopping 20mph zones, Controlled Parking Zones, cutting the street cleaning budget, and the highways maintenance budget. This would have a big material impact on our environment in Hackney and is a reckless approach.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Consultation: De Beauvoir Estate Cycle Permeability Scheme

Over the weekend, a consultation form and supporting documents were delivered to residents in De Beauvoir living on the north of the Regent's Canal who will be affected by a new "cycling permeability scheme" being proposed by Hackney Council and which runs through the area.

Encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport is one of the Council’s key transport priorities. To achieve this, Hackney Council has developed a programme to improve cycle permeability (how cyclists ride through our streets) on both the main London Cycle Network and local routes. 

A link between Canal Walk path, De Beauvoir Estate and Culford Road has been identified as a key local connection for cyclists, particularly for those travelling to and from the Grand Union (Regent’s Canal) towpath. The number of cyclists using this route is expected to grow in the future and so the Council is looking at ways to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in the same space as safely as possible.

The Proposals include:
  • Formalising a shared space for pedestrians and cyclists on Canal Walk path by introducing signing and dropping the kerb on Canal Walk
  • Formalising a cycle route through the De Beauvoir Estate and Culford Road by dropping kerbs and removing some of the street furniture (bollards and a guardrail)
  • Repaving the footpath on Canal Walk with material more suitable for shared space facilities
  • Relocating the existing gate and bollards on Balmes Road to improve access for cyclists, resurfacing the affected area and dropping the kerb
  • Trimming and replanting the green areas on Canal Walk
  • Reducing the height of the wall leading to Canal Walk to increase visibility and personal security
  • Removing one parking space on Canal Walk to create a clear access to the path. 
Below is a map showing the details of the proposals. 

This is a key point on the east-west route for cyclists and it's a point at which the use of the canal towpath can become hazardous and stressful for both pedestrians and cyclists during busy periods. The scheme will offer a route parallel to the canal towpath to decrease congestion there.
We think that this scheme will make a real improvement to the space and that it will also help to ward off crime in the area because there will be more pedestrians and cyclists passing through it.

Have your Say
If you have received a consultation pack, please let Hackney Council know what you think about the proposals by filling in the comments form and returning it in the addressed envelope provided by Friday 14th March 2014.
If you have not received the consultation documents you can visit the Hackney Service Centre behind the Town Hall on Mare Street, or call 020 8356 2897, or email

What happens next?
Subject to feedback from the consultation process, it is expected that works would be programmed to commence during summer 2014.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Resident Survey

The Labour action team for De Beauvoir would like to hear about the local issues which concern you most.

We have prepared a short survey which will help us to determine which issues residents wish their representatives to focus on.

The survey can be reached by following this link. It is very short and should only take a couple of minutes of your time to complete.
If you have any specific issues or problems that you want to report to your De Beauvoir Labour Action Team you can call or text, email, tweet, or drop in to one of our regular surgeries and speak to us in person.

We also conduct regular roving surgeries visiting residents on the doorstep to hear how we can help. If you would like us to visit your neighbourhood get in touch using any of the above methods.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Mole Man's House, Mortimer Road. Update.

Plans for the development of the former home of William Lyttle on 121 Mortimer Road have been outlined by the new owners.

Mr. Lyttle became know nationwide as the Hackney Mole Man following his extensive tunnelling beneath the house which led to a collapse of the pavement and road outside the property. He was rehoused in 2006 by Hackney Council and died in 2010.

The new owners have appointed David Adjaye Architects to design the new building which will retain much of the original structure.

One of the new owners Sue Webster, speaking to the DBA, said 'our intention is to keep as much of the original building as possible as we want to preserve the history of the Mole Man whilst adding a new layer for the future. We also plan to trace the existing print of the area dug out by William Lyttle in order to create a basement space'.

Scaffolding which had been removed by lawyers acting for Mr. Lyttle's heirs in order to save money has been re-erected. Ms. Webster added 'We have men currently working onsite clearing out the internal rubble and relics that have fallen inwards including the original roof and floorboards which have rotted due to being exposed'.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Changes to De Beauvoir ward

Hackney's rising population means Whitehall has decided that our local ward boundaries need to change.

One of those wards affected is the current De Beauvoir Ward which has been split in two with its southern part, south of the Regents Canal, moving into a new Hoxton East and Shoreditch Ward. The new De Beauvoir ward will cover the area from Balls Pond Road to the Regents Canal, between Kingsland Road and Southgate Road.

This means that at the forthcoming Council elections Hackney Labour will have two new candidates in De Beauvoir - James Peters and Laura Bunt.
James Peters was a secretary in local government before spending a decade working and studying abroad, including waiting on table in Paris, practising competition law in Brussels and volunteering in a not-for-profit law firm representing death penalty defendants in Louisiana. James settled in De Beauvoir in early 2012 and is completing a training contract with a leading international law firm. James is also an associate governor of a Hackney school for children with severe learning difficulties and he volunteers at a free legal clinic in East London. When not risking life and limb cycling around the busy streets of London, he spends his free time making the most of London's rich and varied cultural life.

Laura Bunt is the head of Policy Research at the Citizens Advice Bureau. Until November 2013 she was lead policy advisor for public and social innovation at Nesta, the National Endownment for Science Technology and the Arts. At Nesta she worked on a range of projects exploring innovation within social policy and how to strengthen its impact. Laura has also previously worked at the RSA and Demos as well as managing a busy London restaurant.

Rob and Tom will also be standing again at the coming election, Rob in Homerton, where he lives, and Tom in Hoxton East and Shoreditch. After eight years on the Council, Gulay has decided to step down to allow her to fully focus on pursuing her career in academia.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

De Beauvoir Ward Forum Extra - The Regents Canal - Tuesday February 4th 7pm

Update: we'll now be starting at 7pm rather than 8pm!

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it along to November's De Beauvoir Ward Forum to discuss what we can do together to make the Regents Canal better than ever. We packed out St Peters Crypt with over 45 local residents joining us - apologies to those who had to stand!

As we agreed on the night, we want to ensure that all the interest, energy and enthusiasm everyone showed is not lost. Therefore, we've arranged a follow up forum on Tuesday 4th February 2014 - that's Tuesday next week.

If you're interested in hearing more about towpath adoption, or about getting involved with the Canal in other ways please do come along to the Proud Archivist at 8pm to hear more - thank you to Hector Proud and Dick Vincent for arranging and, as always, please do pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested. If you're interested, you can find a note of the first meeting here. 

The next De Beauvoir Ward Forum will be held on March 24th when we will be focusing on how we can make sure De Beauvoir Community First has the greatest possible positive impact on our area. Please put the date in your diary and we'll be in touch with more details nearer the time.