Our statement following the Mayor of Hackney’s press release on the future plans for the Tesco site at 55 Morning Lane

The Mayor of Hackney’s statement on the future of the Tesco site in Hackney Central shows he takes this development seriously. The statement talks of a “new approach” but contains nothing that is new. Hackney Council will continue strategic control of the development, which we welcome. They also say they will proceed “openly, transparently and alongside the community”. This has not happened so far and Morning Lane People’s Space have consistently challenged them on this. Three Freedom of Information requests from us on details of the previous plan have been rejected (one of these we reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office and is currently under investigation by them). The land purchase and the deal with the original developer were not consulted on by the council. The Mayor attended a meeting with the community in 2020, at our invitation, and the council set up the Hackney Central Community Panel in 2021. This panel is not genuine consultation. It is a test bed for the council’s plans designed to give the illusion not the reality of consultation. The only consultation on the local community’s needs and priorities for the Tesco Morning Lane site has been carried out by us in MOPS. The “feedback we have already received” which the Mayor speaks about is from the MOPS survey which identified public housing and a big supermarket as residents’ top priorities. In the council chamber, answering Green councillor Zoë Garbett, the Mayor said they would not be able meet the MOPS demand for 50% council housing at social rent, nor would the council collaborate with MOPS on our consultation for the future plans. They would try to meet a target of 30% so-called ‘affordable homes’. The mayor is honouring his promise of meeting with Morning Lane People’s Space next month. We will reiterate that 50% council housing at social rent on the site is already a compromise. Hackney needs 100% public housing in new developments on public land. Affordable is a term we no longer use as it includes tenures like shared ownership that are UNaffordable to most Londoners. We do not need more private market housing in Hackney. History will judge; public land must be used for public housing.

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