More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Clapton's future continues to look bleak

            ...but perhaps with a glimmer
  of light at the end of the tunnel

For Clapton the issue is and has been for some time, rampant over-development by speculators & developers with seemingly little or no thought to sustainable, balanced local neighbourhoods, services or quality of life of residents given by Hackney planners or the planning sub-committee.

Houses have been snapped up and split into tiny flats, their gardens built on.

Large, in the main cheaply built, badly designed, developments with high density, tiny flats (even though some meet latest City Hall guidance) with inadequate open space & facilities, continue to pop up everywhere.

Leabridge councillors had been calling for an Area Action Plan, promised in 2005, but the cuts have meant one is less likely than ever.
An AAP would have stopped the worst excesses. 

The latest example being the Tram Depot development at the expense of up to 100 jobs and the loss of a locally listed Victorian "Heritage Asset".

The introduction of 84 flats up to 7 storeys at 563 habitable rooms per hectare
(2002 average London-wide was 290 hrh, current London-wide 360 hrh)
is in an area with no primary school or GP surgery places.

Details and copy of Freedom of Information school place figures:

The square footage of commercial space is reduced by half as well, and changed to a type not suitable for over 80% of the current successful businesses - and this in a "PEA" (Priority Employment Area)!

The latest resident group to join the fray
is the newly formed
"Mount Pleasant Lane Residents’ Association"

Read the full article at:

read also about the huge development just across the river Lea:

my article about room sizes, links to CABE, the Parker - Morris standard etc:

The Localism Bill: the light at the end of the tunnel?
Many are pinning their hopes on the "Localism Bill".

Read more of the above at the Communities & Local Govt. website

Funding to help communities
"engage" with Planning

The £3 mill pot available in "Supporting Communities & Neighbourhood in Planning" was originally aimed at local community organizations but due to the deluge of applications, eligibility was changed to national organizations at the last minute.
This stage has now been completed and we are waiting to see which national orgs to apply to for funds in each area of the country.

  The first guidance was originally supposed to be out well over a month ago but is still in development.

Then grants will be available to help residents and organizations "engage" with planning, understand the new laws, get help finding and applying for other grants etc. (not to actually buy property).

With funds, local organizations may well be able to mount a professional defense to the developers consultants biased reports to council at planning committee meetings.
 (I have witnessed obviously one sided, biased reports being naively accepted, simply because they came from a qualified professional).

With funds, local people may be able to buy and make best use of some buildings and space - for the benefit of the community and not developers pockets.

With funds, arguments from independent professionals  to counter the planning depts' interpretation of the new "Core Strategy" and of PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment might be made.

You can download the PPS5 Guide here.

If you are interested in, or want to contribute to the future development of Clapton, speak to councillors and the planning dept., a good place to start is the "Clapton Conference".

Full details of dates and meetings on the ClaptonVision2011 page

Personally, my only worry, possibly unfounded, is that new CICs and unrepresentative groups will be formed, effectively fronts for commercial interests (who have money) specifically to take advantage of the bill.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what safeguards there are in the bill to ensure that real, genuine local democracy flourishes and the beneficiaries are the community at large, not the same top 10%.


No comments: