Planning and Conservation Newsletter

A Newsletter about local Stoke Newington affairs
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There is a proposed new development at St Mary’s Lodge.

The architect Tom Stebbing presented the scheme in February to the Hackney Society Planning Group preparatory to taking it to the Council for pre-application discussions (a “pre-app”). The documents can be found here:

We are still some way from an application but from the amount of work done this appears to be a serious attempt to develop the site and one which is seeking local approval. It is being done by the Vishnitz community which are the current owners of the site. The site is now smaller than the site for a previous application which included part of the Tora Etz Chaim (TEC) synagogue adjacent on Lordship Road.  There is still existing planning approval for a new synagogue on that site although no building has commenced.

The plan, although superior in design, follows the most recent planning application in restoring (and enlarging) the Lodge with a separate reaching to the far (Western) end of the site adjacent to the recently converted “nineteen thirties” houses.

The problem with the site is the size of the development which is very large to fit into the size of the site available. There are also transport implications.  Buses would have to enter and exit the site very near the Lordship Park/Road intersection. The Design and Access statement and the transport document would be good starts for approaching the development.

As is well known, the site’s use is restricted to Education or possibly community use and was sold by the Council at an undervalue because of that covenant.  However, speaking from a conservation viewpoint, local groups, including the Conservation Area Advisory Committee, have suggested that the community could negotiate an alternative educational provision in return for allowing the site to be developed for residential purposes. The latter has more chance of ending up with an acceptable scheme to preserve and enhance the lodge.

For those who do not know the history of the Lodge:

The East London Health and Care Partnership

On Friday the 24th I attended a meeting on the new Sustainable Transformation Plans at the Guildhall.
These developments are complicated and my understanding of them is not perfect so this is only my own take on the matter.
When the Coalition government “reformed” the NHS it split it down into localised units the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) that were comprised of primary care representatives (GPs) and which commissioned secondary care services (Hospitals, Mental Health Trusts etc.) over small areas, in our case the City and Hackney.
Almost a year ago NHS England, the body that governs GPs and holds some of the aspects of the NHS which can’t be localised, set up Sustainable Transformation Plans (STP), each of which is based on a “footprint”. In our case this is the North East London Sustainability and Transformation Plan which has now renamed itself the East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP)
This is a managerial exercise but not necessarily bad because of that. Its main drives seem to me to be:

  1. Its aims are to implement the five year forward view. So this is the framework.

  2. The reversal to some degree of localisation to achieve economies. Possibly justifying critics who saw localisation as uneconomic and merely as making it easier for parts of the NHS to be privatised.

  3. The integration of Health and Social Services. This may achieve better ways of working but also may mean plundering of the health budget to prop up failing social services provision.

  4. Promoting prevention and self-management of chronic conditions as priorities in the approach to health care. While some of this is due to technological improvements and is already upon us, other aspects will only  produce results  in the long term.

  5. While achieving better results is an obvious aim and should not be dismissed cynically, cost savings are a major driving force. Those in my group all agreed that if the government could be more open about this they would be better trusted. And if the economics of the NHS were more transparent  people would be better able to make decisions on how to fund it.

    To some extent Hackney is ahead of the pack as our current Devolution pilot already involves the integration of health and social care with an “Integrated Commissioning Board”.  How will this help?  Well, it may be that the economies hoped for will be limited but there will be  improvements in communication between GPs and other health providers to improve home care. But  one example of beneficial economic outcome might be reversing the recent closure of the intermediate care centre at Median Road. This is a rehabilitation facility for those leaving hospital.  Presently there is a conflict between Social Care which would like (from the point of view of budgets)  patients to stay in hospital until they are able to return home independently and Hospital administrators who need to clear beds. If there is one budget for both facilities this conflict is better able to be resolved to the benefit of the patient.

    The talk we received was very short on information.  It was basically a pep talk on how we must all work together. At the meeting I asked the Humpty Dumpty question, “Who is to be master?” ie:  Who are you? What legal status do you have? What powers do you have? Can local areas opt out of the STP?  I didn’t get any answers and I suspect some of this stuff has been deliberately kept vague. But my understanding is that the STP bodies are seconded from the local CCGs (Tower Hamlets CCG being the lead) under the instructions of NHS England to whom their plans are submitted. The opt out question is germane because Hackney may do better to keep its resources separate.  At a recent public meeting in Hackney, Councillor McShane questioned whether Hackney would sign up to the plan. Is this a possible choice? We shall see
    Details of the STP can be found at

What’s Happening with Wilmer Place?

Most people know that the Sainsbury’s development at Wilmer Place has been withdrawn.
And with the cladding of the “Shed” to provide accommodation, that scheme is now pretty well dead.
Credit for this  lies with local group “Stokey Local” and campaigner Nick Perry who organised the legal challenge with local barristers who acted “pro-bono”.  Although the legal challenge failed it held the site in contention for long enough for the momentum of the scheme to run out.  (It remains to be seen if this approach can also succeed with certain policies on a National level).
There is now a new application to build work/live units along the Western edge of the existing car park. Although there have been concerns about the permeability of the boundary with the cemetery, this is a far better scheme and looks likely to be built
There are details of the new and old schemes on Stokey local’s facebook page

Stamford Hill Plan

Those who remember the controversy over the two antagonistic “neighbourhood forum”s attempted in Stamford Hill will nkow that the Council refused both forums.
They are now proposing a “Stamford Hill Plan” to replace them. Here is what the council has to say:
Towards a Stamford Hill Plan
Over the last 18 months the community in Stamford Hill have come together to identify issues and challenges for their neighbourhoods. Key issues for the community have been identified through community engagement and other evidence gathering which sets out a proposed vision for Stamford Hill. A number of primary needs have been identified. These needs include: maximising the supply of large family homes, improving public space and the public realm, providing new schools and community facilities and expanding the local economy in Stamford Hill.

Hackney’s Cabinet have now approved a report which sets out a vision and objectives for the future of Stamford Hill. The report called ‘Towards a Stamford Hill Plan’ also includes draft alternative policy options, for consultation, which will seek to address these issues and will form the basis of an Area Action Plan for Stamford Hill.

The Stamford Hill Plan will be a key strategic planning document which will establish a vision and planning policies to direct and guide development in Stamford Hill up to 2033. The Plan is critical in ensuring that the Council meets the needs of the diverse communities in Stamford Hill.

The Plan is designed to ensure that development delivers sustainable benefits to the community through the planning process. The objectives and policy options are arranged around the following themes and are informed by the identification of 14 character areas:

  • Good design 
  • Housing 
  • Open space
  • Transport
  • Local shopping centres and the economy 
  • Meeting community needs, education, health social and leisure.

The Planning team have carried out extensive consultation with the community of Stamford Hill. Over 500 interviews took place with local people and nine topic based community workshops were held in Stamford Hill between summer 2015 and spring 2016. More events are planned during February and March as part of the consultation on the draft plan.

The Old Coal House, now a cafe on “Woodberry Wetlands” (The East Reservoir) has won a community planning award.

People’s Choice

  • Woodberry Wetlands – Kaner Olette Architects/Allen Scott Landscape & London Wildlife Trust

(Woodberry Wetlands – Kaner Olette Architects/Allen Scott Landscape & London Wildlife Trust)

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