MORNING LANE PEOPLE’S SPACE RESPONSE TO Hackney Council’s The Grand Challenge and Missions Survey: Have your say on the future of Hackney Central 

THIS CONSULTATIONS HAS NOW CLOSED. WE’LL BE POSTING AN UPDATE ON IT SOON.

Here is the link to take part: https://hcc.commonplace.is/proposals/missions-and-grand-challenge/step1

The deadline is 28 February

The first part of the consultation asks people how much they agree with five ‘Missions’, each with a list of ‘Action Areas’ that do not give any details of proposals. It is both vague and patronising. Rather than taking the opportunity to ask people what they think of specific plans it is a tick-box exercise.

In this response we explain our view of the Consultation and how we have responded. We encourage people to take part.

OUR VIEW OF THE CONSULTATION

The Grand Challenge Survey asks you to answer by choosing one of five options (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) for each of the following: The Grand Challenge for Hackney Central, the five Missions (whether they capture the biggest priorities in Hackney Central for the next ten years, whether they are clear and easy to understand, and whether you agree with them). You can’t differentiate between particular Action Areas within the Missions. 

The five Missions are: 1: Champion our Character, 2: Wellbeing for All, 3: A Fair Economy, 4: Green and Resilient, 5: Developing Well. The Missions are worded so as to be hard to reject. Who can strongly disagree with ‘wellbeing for all’ or ‘a fair economy’? 

Each Mission consists of five to seven bullet point Action Areas. The bullet points have been boiled down so far that the meaning or implications are unclear. 

Take ‘Mission 1: Champion our Character’, the five ‘Action areas’’ are ‘Unique heritage of Hackney Central’, ‘Hackney Central’s 24-hour economy’, ‘Cultural programming’, ‘Spatial & frontage improvements’ and ‘Reinvigorate high streets’. These could mean a variety of things. What will happen to Hackney Central’s unique heritage? What aspect of Hackney Central’s 24-hour economy is the focus – affordable shops, posh bars and restaurants, community provision? What and whose culture will be programmed and how? 

Turning to ‘Mission 2: Wellbeing for All’, this includes ‘New affordable homes’ (note affordable not social-rent housing), ‘Physical barriers to public space’ and ‘Street space for civic life’. Once again, the meaning and implications of these are unclear.

And so it goes on. 

There are no specific developments or proposals mentioned. Not for the Tesco site, the Clapton bus garage, the council depot or the railway arches, to name but four of the proposed redevelopment sites.

HOW WE HAVE RESPONDED

Our recommendation is to STRONGLY DISAGREE with all the statements because the Missions are not specific enough, and our experience is that any positive response will be taken by the Council as agreement to whatever development ideas they have for Hackney Central during the next ten years, however damaging those may be. 

After the closed questions, there is a space for ‘Any other comments’. We think that this is the most useful part of the survey because it is open to any response. Below are the points that we have made on behalf of the campaign. We encourage others to make similar points.

The priorities for Hackney Central should be: 
1. Delivering social-rent housing NOT so-called ‘affordable’ housing. Hackney Council’s ‘affordable housing’ definition includes tenures like shared ownership which are not affordable for most people in Hackney.
2. Stopping gentrification by focusing on homes and services that we can all afford e.g. keeping a large supermarket, creating cafes and other venues for everyone.
3. Creating community and public spaces, including youth provision and non-commercial space.
4. Involving local people in meaningful consultation about what happens in the area not tokenistic and patronising consultations like this one.

Finally, you are invited to leave your ‘project ideas’ on an interactive map. You can go directly to the map via this link: https://hcc.commonplace.is/map/hackney-central-map 

Click ‘have your say’ in the top right hand corner and add a pin at the Tesco site, 55 Morning Lane. Below are our comments. We encourage others to make similar points. You can also click on this link to our comment and use the ‘thumbs up’ to agree with it. 

55 Morning Lane must be developed based on the needs of Hackney residents for social-rent council housing, affordable and accessible shopping and community and public space. See this report carried out by Morning Lane People’s Space for more information: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SChDd4voyXnBuZeifvwL1KeD_MfVdfnV/view?usp=sharing 

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