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.


This meeting is for everyone living, working or has a business in the Clapton Area (centred on Leabridge, Hackney Downs & the NW corner of Chatham)

Help create a Clapton:
Good for the Community
Good for Local Business
Safer & More Attractive 

If you want to make a difference for everyone in the area, this is your chance. It's about building a sustainable local economy too.

At the first meeting we started working on the Forum Area and boundary.
 At this second meeting we hope to complete the exercise with a workshop facilitated by Planning Aid for London.

29 people signed up to become members of a new Neighbourhood Forum for the
Clapton Pond & surrounding area
at the first meeting on 24th Jan 2013

...but we need more, especially residents.

If you didn't make it to the first meeting, this is your chance: Thur 14th March, starting 7pm at B6 College.

Subscribe  to the Clapton Arts Trust's mailing list for:
Clapton/Hackney News & Issues: Art, Heritage & the Visual Environment


For more about the first meeting see:    

At the meeting Allison Borden of Planning Aid for London gave a presentation: Overview of neighbourhood planning, the Localism Act and forums which you can view online and download here

ABOUT the B6 public meeting on 23rd Jan

 The new Localism Act has placed local planning in the hands of local residents, via a "Forum" of at least 21 local residents.
   The first step is to agree the area boundary then form and name the Forum, which we hope to do at this meeting:

This meeting is for everyone who lives in or has a business in Clapton Pond and the surrounding area*
You'll have a chance to start setting the area boundary and decide a name for the Forum
You'll have the opportunity to become a founding member of the Forum
  (with "Planning Aid for London" facilitating).
*The idea is to mark out an area around Clapton Pond to take in both sides of Upper and Lower Clapton Roads (within Leabridge, Hackney Downs & Chatham), with Clapton Pond as the main "Town Centre", possibly to include the current conservation areas at the Pond, Clapton Square and Lea Bridge which areas are covered is up to you.

What is it all for?
   Through a consultation process and the formation of a Neighbourhood Plan or a series of individual planning documents, you can largely decide what gets built where and what it looks like, encourage developers to incorporate things you think important, stop things you think are inappropriate - and a lot more.    Find out all about it - have your questions answered by Planning Aid for London at the meeting.

Organized by the Clapton Arts Trust & Cazenove Architects
in partnership with The Clapton Conference

to the Clapton Arts Trust's mailing list for:
Clapton/Hackney News & Issues: Art, Heritage & the Visual Environment


Looking for the Clapton Sustainable Neighbourhood Development Plan (SNDP) document to download?
If the answer is "yes", just scroll down - you'll find it just below the red 2010 divider.

Vision for Clapton
"...towards a Neighbourhood Plan"
from the Clapton Arts Trust

Please do complete the survey below, mentioned at the end of the presentation above

It's important we get your views

Snapshot of survey responses to Jan 2013
completed 64 residents:
(2 from E8, 6 from N16 and 48 from E5, rest didn't say)

High level aspirations

A Clapton Neighbourhood Plan should be:

• Sustainably beneficial to the local economy & encourage sustainability (61) 95%
• Encourage the retention and development of local independent enterprises & specialist shops (62) 97%
• Encourage and plan for good cultural and leisure facilities (60) 94%
• Recognize, encourage and celebrate cultural diversity (58) 91%
• Capitalise on Clapton's historic identity as a social, economic & cultural asset (53) 83%
• Create a distinctive Clapton identity and sense of place (53) 83%

In another questions:

(57) 89% wanted to see more low cost live/work and low cost shops for small firms. 
(53) 83% wanted to stop the buy up of small shops by chain stores
(52) 81% wanted to see the Tram Depot designated a building of Community Importance.
(43) 67% wanted to see more affordable housing with large rooms and private outdoor space for families.

and for Clapton Pond:
(34) 53% thought the Lea Bridge roundabout should be turned back into a crossroads with regained land a pedestrian area.
(53) 84% wanted the Pond area treated as  "village centre" with Post Office and mixed use encouraged
(47) 77% thought Lower Clapton Road should have pavements widened with attractive seating with trees, foliage and sculpture
(40) 63% thought shops should have enforceable design guidance with help for businesses to meet guidance


You can also go to the "pop survey" directly

It's really important we get your opinion and views on the future of Clapton

You can also comment by emailing


Information about the Clapton Conference will be posted as it becomes available

The last one was on Sept 17th 2011

next Clapton Conference meeting is
July 11th 2012

General Meeting (Information, questions etc)
at 7.30pm-9.30pm
at St John Ambulance Hall, Mildenhall Rd E5

For all people living and working in Clapton to find out what is happening across the area and possibly raise issues of concern with officers and councillors present to help sort out matters, or to direct you to those people who can assist.

NOTE: community planning consultation meeting at B6 college on 24th April
see details further below


The Clapton Conference - why we need this new initiative
                by councillor Ian Rathbone

A new initiative has been launched by the Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group (CPNAG), in conjunction with Leabridge councillors, to take forward the creation of an Area Action Plan to ensure that the interests of big business do not set the agenda for the future of the local area.

Such a document, consulted with and drawn up by the community, would provide a plan describing how the area should look in terms of its heritage, landscape, protection and growth of the local economy, culture etc. It would help to prevent the debacle we have seen this week of the new developer who owns the tram sheds in Upper Clapton Road being given planning permission to build ugly flats on the site, throw out all the businesses based there and sanitise the remaining sheds, built in 1876.

The Clapton Conference had its first meeting on 21 June and its second on the 18th of October 2011.
While planners have been helpful in getting this process underway, we are already hearing that future implementation is likely to be affected by the Council’s current financial constraints. But with speculative developers threatening to suck the lifeblood out of Clapton, why can't the section 106 contributions, which are paid by developers to the Council whenever large planning proposals are given permission, now contribute to putting into place a plan to protect Clapton residents from being swamped by inappropriate and insensitive developments. That would be real community engagement.

The next Conference date has yet to be determined but if you are interested in  getting involved
please contact councillor
or call 07890 654 068.

• • •

Community planning consultation about Clapton and an a planning document that covers the area between Downs Rd, Kenninghall Rd, Powell to Lower Clapton Rds

Meeting on
24th April 2012 at B6 College
at 7.30pm


This area was the highlighted in the SNDP (see below)
and is:


The Clapton Pond
Neighbourhood Action Group Website
with its own dedicated
Clapton Conference page
has gone live!

The Clapton Conference
 3rd meeting was on
Mon 11th July 2011
St. John's Ambulance Hall
in Mildenhall Rd

For more info check out the website or contact:
Ian Rathbone, Chair, Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group [CPNAG]
Mobile: 07890 654 068   e-mail:

Following on from discussions and meetings last year held by the CPNAG, the Clapton Conference, the Clapton Arts Trust, the FCCT and others
a vision for an area of Clapton
centred on the Lea Bridge roundabout
and named
"The Clapton Cultural Quarter"
will be posted here as a presentation as soon as possible.

It is meant to be associated with a more complete consultation document in some 8 or 10 pages which is still being completed.

The presentation will be posted here soon
for your comments

Opportunities for all stake holders
and interested parties to
influence the final
"Vision" document, when completed,
will also be posted here

The consultation document is being created by
urban designer Euan Mills
a local resident and
Clapton Arts Trust member
on behalf the trust.

The Chatsworth Road Neighbourhood Plan

The Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents Association are creating a Neighbourhood Plan for the Chatsworth Road area. The study area is roughly defined by Lea Bridge Road to the north, Lower Clapton Road to the west, Homerton Road to the south and the Lee Navigational canal to the east. The study aims to establish a coherent vision for the long term future of the area, to influence the planning process and to promote the area to attract investment. To do this we need to identify what the community aspires the qualities of their neighbourhood to be in the future and what the main issues are today. 

You can help by filling a short survey at

• • •

Although some the Vision statement below is now out date, much is still current and will give you a good idea of the sort of direction the trust would to see the area develop into.

(click on the Vision pages below to see them full size)

PHOTO: At the launch: cllr Ian Rathbone (chair of CAT), Jennette Arnold (Greater London Assembly member and Patron of CAT), cllr Guy Nicholson (Cabinet Member for Regeneration & 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games)

For more information, please contact Ian Rathbone on 07890 654 068, or email  

NOTE: The Clapton Arts Trust website will be fully functioning very soon

The Old Tram Depot
some current issues as I see them
by David White April 2011

Hackney is losing much of it's cultural, working and industrial heritage to run-away regeneration & housing developments at an alarming rate. The Old Tram Depot is a case in point. The largely original complex of buildings housed horse drawn buses then trams, from 1871 to 1906.  You can still see where the huge ramp was, used to take the horses up to the first floor stables (now loft type live/work studios). The tram rails, cobbles, cast iron beams plus a full length colonnade of cast iron pillars set in glazed and London red brick buildings evoke Victorian London, as does it's industrial silhouette.

Providentially, the sheds that housed the trams, the old stables and ancillary buildings are today highly sought after as workshops, live/work studios and light industrial units.  Currently every single workshop, studio and unit is full with a waiting list to get in. Sculptors, graphic artists, musicians, furniture makers, car repairs, the foam factory and even a bookbinder number among the resident firms. This local employment hub was recognized as essential to local sustainability in planning and given PEA (Priority Employment Area) status.
The new development (app. 2010/2879 with initial planning permission)  reduces the square footage of commercial space by approximately half and changes the spaces to "clean and quiet" use office type space almost identical to units empty since construction 4 years ago, less than 1,00 yards away.
This reduction in commercial space was to allow for what I'd characterize as profligate, over-dense housing development of 84 flats at 583 hrh (habitable rooms per hectare) with no useable communal space or facilities but with a 42 car car park.

Despite being a PEA, the development is what everyone can see is a Priority Housing area (if such a designation existed), seemingly against the councils own policy - if not technically, certainly in in the spirit and meaning of the policy.

It would and still is possible to refurbish and restore the depot and with minor alterations add visually contrasting new studio units. To that end we hope to raise sufficient funds to buy the site outright or lease the site for 25 years with the intention of purchasing it within that period.
The goal is to see the depot as a working light industrial & commercial site with art, craft and allied firms and a strong community art element in the form both educational and recreational spaces. Adult education art, design, music & media workshops and short courses (beginner to advanced), an Art Foundation (access) course and more specialist workshops for BEM hard to reach and special needs groups are all aims of the trust. An art cafe, live music (acoustic) as well as exhibitions and a trust shop, showcasing resident    artists works are also planned for.

The depot exudes history and "character", helps bind the community and gives a feeling of place.

With the Olympics in mind - overseas visitors will want to see and experience that history, not see a modern housing & office development they can see at home and as common over much of the world.
by David White


2012 NOTE: Much of the SNDP document is still relevant today and could inform a new Neighbourhood for 2012
Download link is under the poster below

An opportunity to contribute
to the future of Clapton.

At the first "Clapton Conference" earlier this year (held in the Red Cross hall in Mildenhall Rd) Graham Loveland (Interim Assistant Director of Planning) confirmed there was no money for a full blown AAP but recognized the need and residents desire for one and fully supported the idea of

(click on the poster above to see it full size)

....the Clapton SNDP:

Commissioned in 2004 by the Clapton NRF Steering Group and which underwent public consultation during 2005 - published Sept 2005

The 2006 report on the SNDP commissioning process (Malcolm Smith):

Is a document detailing the highs & lows of Clapton
with ways of making the area better

...and using it as the basis for
a new policy document(s)

a sort of "mini" area action plan.

Here is the original brief (the invitation to tender) for the Clapton SNDP

It has yet to be formally named
but proposes to give a new Vision for Clapton, setting benchmarks with community "well-being" paramount, not developers margins or regional targets.


"It's not just about bricks & mortar, it's about people's lives and building a community"
 say councillors Linda Kelly, Ian Rathbone & Deniz Oguzkanli

Before work starts on it in earnest, its place in planning policy and its exact form will be agreed and the extent to which it will shape and inform our visual and architectural environment fixed.

The new "Vision" will take a slightly different approach so it is not simply a case of updating the CNSDP, rather using the wealth of information it contains, updated, for the new policy document(s).

A note from Malcolm Smith, who helped to commision the SNDP: 

The project was an attempt to address the increasing development pressures in Clapton as a stepping stone towards a potential Area Action Plan (AAP) for Clapton. It was designed as a 'bottom-up' approach to community planning, to be facilitated by leading planning consultants. As the Draft Final document (attached) states on page 8: "the Clapton SNDP aims to be one of the first genuinely community-led neighbourhood plans in the country. It is a local definition of the issues faced by the neighbourhood and a local expression of the interventions required to deal with them."

There was a decent response to the consultation, showing a real desire to contribute to improve things. However, after the Clapton NRF Steering Group was wound up by the Council in 2006, unfortunately all efforts to take this forward proved fruitless. Predictably, as we know, development pressures have intensified and the kind of challenges that we were trying to address with the SNDP consultation have continued.
  Most of the variety of people who contributed to the consultation were very positive about the SNDP. It would be good to think this type of initiative can be taken up by the council, so give a genuine voice to local people in helping to plan and shape the area for the better

Some reference documents you may be interested in
all in one folder at: includes the following:
A copy of the "Clapton Neighbourhood Development Plan" above, "Caring for Quality" and "How to Improve Residential Areas" in 5 parts. 

---<< NOTES >>---

Last year's "Demand an AREA ACTION PLAN" poster


Last year's post with
posters, notes & background material  

It's still worth signing the petition
for an
Area Action Plan!

click on this:



Possible proposal for the near future
From a member of the conservancy committee and supported by me (David White) as sec. of the Beecholme & Casimir TRA.
To designate the section of Upper Clapton Road between Lea Bridge Road and 131 Upper Clapton Road a Conservation Area.
There are a number of significant buildings along its length in addition to the The Tram Depot, including

1. Beecholme Estate

Designed by Frederick Gibberd - the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, involving a mixture of houses and flats with the taller blocks having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. (Beecholme Estate is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History). Beecholme Estate was also 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.

2.  25-35 Upper Clapton Road - the buildings at the rear of the shops date from mid 19th century

3.  Clapton Station
Built 1872. Liverpool street bound platform has remained essentially unchanged and booking hall is original, although altered internally. Walter Osborne, head porter at Clapton station at the beginning of twentieth century, challenged the legality of the compulsory trade union political levy, which resulted in the House of Lords issuing the Osborne Judgement of 1909 declaring the practice unlawful. The station was a favourite of John Betjeman.

4. Hornsey Chambers
Nineteenth century working class "model dwellings" adjacent to station.

5.Ickburgh Estate - 1950s buildings of no particular interest, but site of former residences of historian Benjamin Clarke and women's suffrage campaigners Elizabeth and Mark Wilks

6. 51 - 63 Upper Clapton RoadAttractive terrace of nineteenth century residences set back from the road

7. Upper Clapton Road Shopping Parade - east side from betting shop to Mount Pleasant LaneLate nineteenth century parade of shops, still retaining characteristic decorative elements.

8. Upper Clapton Road shopping parade- west side from Northwold Road to 131 Upper Clapton RoadPossibly the most historic section of the Road as there are a number of locally listed buildings along this stretch, i.e. 83, 85, 95 and 97. 

Archive photo of 83 and 85

Hackney Council can designate a Conservation Area very quickly where an area is threatened and if there is enough public pressure.

As well as the threat to the Tram Depot, a developer has now pulled down no 87 Upper Clapton Road without authorisation so there are good grounds for making such a case.

I would like to commend this organizations aims

There is fine line here but the quality of our visual environment has a profound effect on our quality of life and speaks to a whole range of behaviour in public spaces as well.
It does not mean "gentrification"

by David White


No comments: