Saturday, 24 January 2009

Hackney Wick Community Meeting a Great Success

Thank you to all the residents who made it down to the Hackney Wick Community Meeting on Thursday. It was great to see so many of us there!

I have sent individual emails to everyone who asked me to get answers on their behalf - but if I missed anyone - please get back in touch.

I would just like to say a massive thank you to a few people:

Charlie Foreman - the guy in the top photo - for all the very hard work and dedication he put into this meeting!! I know he has a super team around him who probably did most of the work - but he was the one who made sure that Leabank Square was listened to.

We all know the very Reverend Alan Piggot well here in Leabank Square - as a great friend and confidant. He chaired the Questions & Answers section with amazing skill & tact! He made it clear that this was the start of a new relationship with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) - and that everyone in this relationship has a duty to be honest & open about our feelings.

A big thanks to the Wick Ward police team led very ably & professionally by Sergeant Andy Port - who looked after the event & saw that it passed off peacefully & without any hitches.

Then a massive thanks to the External Relations team under Julie King & Giorgia Sharpe - who were very helpful & forthcoming with their answers.

We all know that there are very challenging times ahead for us here in Leabank Square. The new 2-story Welfare Centre is about to be built right in front of us. It will convert into a Catering Centre for the journos & media types during the games (and hopefully back to a green afterwards).

The Media Centre & International Press Centre is also about to be constructed opposite us - with all the noise & construction activity associated with a huge development. The very high electric fence is going up in a few weeks time - and it's not pretty! Hopefully the ODA will be able to partially pretty it up with loads of trees in planters.

The White Post Lane pedestrian gate for Olympic construction workers is opening up immanently - most probably resulting in a Controlled Parking Zone being imposed on the surrounding streets (see: - and this will mean loads of workers using our own parking bays to avoid fines in the streets.

The Hackney Wick Station is going to have thousands of extra passengers coming & going into the White Post Lane Olympic Gate - on an already capacity-filled train in peak times. What does that mean for you morning & evening commute? I'd love to say - get a bike like some of us - but the Hackney Council refuse trucks speeding down Berkshire Road towards & from their new Chapman Road depot - is a very frightening experience - even for more experienced cyclists.

There are going to be times when a late running cement truck needs to empty it's cargo right opposite Leabank Square - and ruin your evening meal with a great lot of noise. There are going to be instances of hired cranes having to erect that last few metres of girding - well into the evening. There will be disruption & noise & dust & inconvenience - but the end result is a cracking Olympic Games and brilliant legacy for all of us in Leabank Square.

There is going to be a lot of trying times ahead - before & after the games - but with people like Charlie, Alan, Andy, Julie, Giorgia and all of us - we can make it an easier passage of time. We just need to be open & honest about how we all feel.


Su said...

Hi Sóna

I agree that this was just what was needed to clear the air! I never got to see who Giorgia was, but the people I DID meet from the ODA were professional.

But maybe that's part of the problem? They are too profesional. They simply cannot make the next step to seeing the site from their neighbours perspective.

To them - this is simply a job. They need to shield the construction workers from us, and will resort to any means to do that. They sounded sincere, but perhaps a bit too sincere? A bit like those Jehovas Witnesses cult you wrote about once.

But it was so nice to meet some of the other stall holders there. And some neighbours that I haven't seen for a while. I thought Jose had moved!!

Anyway, it was good to talk, and like Alan says, it's time for a new start.


Gerg said...


Sorry we've all given you so much hassle in the past about all these olympic shenanigans, but you still are the best (probably only) resident to deal with them.

Hopefully we can all take a deep breath and start 2009 with a new attitude. I think you have given us a deeper understanding of the upheavals to come. Some of us are deffo going to move as soon as we can. But for those who want to stay, it's gonna be tough.

Like it or not, the Wick is gonna be a different place in a few years time. Whether thats good or bad is up to how you like living in a city or a town.

Hackney Wick was like living in a town with Arena Fields & Viccie Park being our closest fields. Now that Arena Fields has gone, we have got to hold on to Viccie Park and watch those 'Acts of Parliament' thingies which can do what the men in suits want.

This means that the Wick is gonna be high rise, high density, high industry, high living in a few short years.

The olympics is just the begining mate. Once they get their feet under our green rug, all sorts of developers will be following.

Thanks for the email - I'll chat about the answers as soon as we meet up.


Mary said...

Hi Sóna

I know what you mean by saying that it was a success, but we really can't let them know that we think it was!

We have got to keep them on their toes. If we need to complain about any noise, extra trucks in our streets, excessive dust, builders staring into our kids bedrooms, buildings getting too high and blocking our sunlight, working on weekends, etc - we still need them to listen to us.

I know you always want to make nice - but sometimes you need to be a bit harder!! If they don't take you seriously, then they will just fob you off all the time.

I know you think they're starting to listen, but please don't let them ever know that you think that!


Mohammed said...

Hello Sóna

For me the most crucial person on the day was Alan!

He held the debate together with absolute impartiality, reminding all of us that we need to be honest about the whole situation.

He really is a shining light in our community. Very thoughtful and fair, allowing everyone to have their say equally, and yet has excellent advice.

The plans for his church look very exciting as well.


Paul said...


Thanks for the updates - it sounds like you were able to get some good answers!

I hope all the rest of the people at your table didn't mind you hogging all the questions?

The tree situation sounds interresting? Please PLEASE keep up the momentum by reminding Julie constantly about the trees in planters! It really looks horrible out there - and it'll look even worse when the electric fence goes up!

I am very worried about this welfare centre going up! I know it's just a taster of whats to come if they get planning permission for houses in the legacy - but I'm really not ready for a bland horrible functionable building directly opposite us just now!!

Keep up the good work!

Derek said...

Hi Sóna

I heard what that one guy said about jobs on the site - and other than he won't wait more than 48 hours for a brickie - I can't say I understood another word he said?

I know Lindi got to speak to him - and maybe we should ask her what was said before the presentation - but what do I tell my son about the jobs on site?

The guy just waffled on & on for what seemed hours - but what did he actually say?

Can we apply to have our children taken on as apprentices? Where do we apply? When can we start?

Please could you find out as much as you can from them? Thanks, Derek.

Farah said...

Hello Sóna
To be honest, I got more out of the tables than the spin from the ODA. The Curiosity Shop was simply brilliant!!

They have done so much hard work in getting all aspects of Hackney Wick past, present & future all mapped out!

The plans for the church were very interesting. I don't think they would have got away with the extra towers before the Felstead Towers were built. But now that they're up - I guess they've opened the doors for many more tall buildings in The Wick.

The CPZ table was also slightly of interest - mainly to see all the car drivers getting vexxed about having to have permits - GET A BIKE!!!

But as for the debate - it was the usual spin & gloss from the ODA. The oly difference was that Alan fronted for them - lending them a HUGE hand of credibility.

I am VERY glad that the crusties under the flyover didn't make it though. What did I tell you - ALL talk & NO action!

But - if we have more of these Community Events - it can ONLY be a good thing!

Ms Purple said...

Hello Sóna

Thanks for the answers. It still sounds a bit iffey. Only MAYBE will we get some trees in containers?!

I know that builders don't like looking at trees & green things - but they go home at the end of each shift. We HAVE to look at the fence all the time. And beyond that is construction as far as the eye can see.

Arena Fields was all green all year round.

Please could you keep on hassling them to get as many of these trees as possible. For our mental well-being WE NEED these trees!

As for the security guards - they were talking & laughing loudly at 2am AGAIN this morning - even YOU must have heard them!

Please see that they don't just note this down - they need to keep these guards within their own fence, and they need to keep them quiet.

I'll mull over the new 'welfare/sick bay centre', and get back to you after we see the artists impression photo they'll send you.

Thanks again!
Ms Purple

Judy said...

Sorry we had to dash off like that Sóna, and thanks for getting our question asked.

How is it going to work? Will that person pass it on to the External Relations Team to get back to you? Or will we have to wait until the next issue of Engage?

It sounds like you DID get to ask quite a few of the boards questions, but the main thing is that there are clearer lines of comms (I hope!).

Please let me know when they're going to get back to us with the amswers, and how.

Cheers - Judy

Dirk said...

Hey Sóna!!

Did they say anything about the Lea River Navigation being closed during the games? If so - di they happen to mention the dates?

Iknow - I KNOW! I should've come down, but we all had to stay on shift for a couple extra hours - so I didn't make it. Or going by the email - you may still all have been there when I returned anyway!!

What I guess I want to know - is are WE still going to be able to use the HMS Leabank Square during the games?


Phillip said...


Thanks for the email. It sounded like a hoot!

I'm still not too sure if they are going to do the trees or not? What do you mean 'they hinted at MAYBE spreading potted trees along the tow-path'?

Are they going to do it or not?

They always talk of 'mitigation' - well they can 'mitigate' a terrible outlook over their site for thousands of residents - by putting some green back where there was plenty!!

Please could you rather get me a REAL answer.


Amy said...

Hi Shona

I konw we don't technically live in Leabank, but Trowbridge is just as affected by the dust as you are, so thanks for getting answers for us as well.

I am still a bit befuddled about the answer for the data though! Why did you say that they were surprised that the last data was from October, its their own site?

Were we looking in the wrong place? Is there another webpage we need to read? Did we make a mistake?

Please get back to me about that. But the most impporatant answer is why Puddles needs to be frightened out of his wits by their unleashed dogs on the tow-path? Did they say why they are patrolling outside their property? Please!


Anonymous said...

Hello Sóna
As long as there are a range of options available to look through and evaluate - BY US THE RESIDENTS - NOT PMMS - who always just decide on these kinds of things by themselves.

We are the ones that live here - none of the useless lot at PMMS would EVER live in a multi-cultural estate like ours!

If the Olympics people are going to mitigate their workers parking all over Hackney Wick by installing a gate of some sort, then we are the people who should make the final decision, not PMMS!!

Mr Purple said...

Sunday morning email catch-ups brought your reply for us - thanks!

I guess ENGAGE is better than YOUR PARK & any of the other drivel we've had before - but I would still like to see ALL of our questions adressed & answered IN FULL!

Both the data & tree issues are of most concern to us - and as such - deserve a lot more attention than anyone has so far given them.

But thanks for trying!
Mr Purple

Dave said...

Hi Sóna

Sorry we couldn't make it mate, but thanks for asking on our behalf.

I'm still not sure if they are going to place trees there or not though?!

Even IF they have to worry about some sewer underneath, surely, the fact that they are in planters should mean they could move them if they need to check them?

Please could you clarify again?

Stella said...

Hello shona

Thanks. I know we made the right choice when we got you to be the go-between!

Hilary said...

Hi Sóna

The day would not have gone as well without Alan there!!

He was brilliant at making sure that Hackney Wickers were heard, and at getting the ODA to be (a bit more) honest!

Alan - you truly are a fantastic comunity asset!!


Maureen said...

The thing about blogs - is that when a blog entry slips off the opening page - it also slips off us readers concentration!

I meant to write at the time about how I felt the meeting went - but as I'm writing now I notice that some things we asked you to ask - have improved!!

The menacing guard dog patrols seem to have stopped, the Sunday noise is not as bad as we thought it would be, the spotlights are being turned off most nights.

So - not only was the meeting more attuned to OUR needs - but it seems as though they are begining to listen to us.

Of course - we still need the trees, and we could do without the portakabins arriving directly opposite us - but I suppose there has to be give & take!

Thanks for repping for us Sóna, please carry on!


Marjory said...


I know I kept quiet all through the meeting, but I felt that you would ask for all of us anyway.

Although it went better than expected, I still want us to keep up the pressure! We need to know that they are still going to take us seriously. Please don't let the police put you off asking questions!

We are still entitled to a good quality of life, and if anyone is doing something to put that in jeopardy, then we have a right to make a noise about it.

Please keep up the pressure.