Friday, 27 November 2009

Fantastic Olympic Festive Lights for Leabank Square!

At exactly 4.30pm today, Juran & Dwain switched on the festive lights across the canal on the trees outside the portakabins!

They were supported by fans on this side up on the riverbank giving them a countdown. Proud mums Z & Jade were among the crowd to cheer them on from the Riverbank Garden & Nursery.

Thanks to Tracie (chair of the LSCA) and Gemma (Senior Community Relations Executive ODA) for organising this lovely gesture from Carrillion over the festive season!

Eid Mubarak

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Barack Obama to visit Leabank Square?

Thanks to everyone who reminded me about this invitation. It has now been sent by post to the appropriate office. Here's hoping:

Dear Barack Obama

Hi from Leabank Square in Hackney Wick, east London in the UK!!

You probably did not see it - as you were so busy running your election campaign – but last year we sent you an invitation to visit Leabank Square while you attend the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony!

You see – we knew you would win ( – and were so thrilled at your success that we had an inauguration barbie in your honour (!

Leabank Square is the closest residential neighbourhood estate to the London Olympic Park – but it is also situated in one of the most deprived boroughs of the UK. Hackney has its fair share of challenges – and most of the residents are doing their best to meet them.

In many ways it’s similar to the Chicago of your youth. The one huge similarity is how social deprivation affects young kids. Unfortunately – we have many kids who are in great need of more motivation - in order to best meet their full potential.

This was behind the invitation we extended to you Mr President. We thought – that as you were just a few metres away from our estate – you might see your way to paying our kids a visit?

You have no idea what that would do for the morale of our children! There is no child on this planet that could ever do the opposite of a few inspirational words from President Barack Obama!

Obviously you are the busiest person around – so if you can’t make it – no worries. But if you could see you way to spending an hour in our estates garden chatting to some of the residents children – please PLEASE do let us know.

I’m never sure how world leaders decide whether to come to the opening or closing ceremonies – I think it has something to do with how many medals they have won – but if at any stage you have a spare hour while you’re in our neck of the woods – please know that you’re very welcome to pop by.

Yours sincerely
Residents of Leabank Square

Flytipping Hits Leabank Square Again!!

We've had another wave of flytipping in & around our lovely square. I know we would never do this to ourselves. Nobody would ever do this to themselves & neighbours.

So please keep an eye open for the so-called 'rag&bone' people who are doing this. They get paid to pick up trash & household rubbish - particularly after a decoration - and are supposed to dump it legitimately.

But what I personally (and a few other residents) have seen is - that while they trawl the estates looking for 'scrap metal' (incidentally - all our 1st garden tools were also classified as 'scrap metal' - straight out of the storage cupboard) - they casually dump any unwanted junk from their paid journey here. Of course - this means that they never ever get to the council dump, but merely spread this junk all along their trawling route.

I have managed to get rid of most of this latest fly-tipped rubbish (thanks Tom) legitimately - but please keep an eye on these vans that come around. The police have advised us to try and sneak a few photos of them in action - and pass them on to Sgt Port.

Also - if you have any large household furniture items that need taken away - remember it's absolutely free! All you have to do is ring Hackney Councils Bulky Waste Hotline on 020 8356 6688 - or go online at

Come on Leabank Square! Let's start taking more control of our environment by not allowing this horrible fly-tipping!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Leabank Square in the Guardian

I know that there are many readers of Dave Hills brilliant blog ( right here in Leabank Square - but also many more in The Wick. And then there are loads of listeners to Francesca Panetta's excellent Hackney Podcast ( - and - together - they are such amazing commentators of Hackney life!

Well - as they both work for the Guardian - they have teamed up (with David Levene) to combine their considerable talents - and start producing some videos looking at the impact the Olympics are having on this area.

Remember how Francesca was begging us to get involved in the filming the whole summer? Well - it is now done. There are some lovely locals putting their views over - how they feel about the past few years worth of changes.

Have a look - and feel free to comment - either on their blog - or ours.

See the video here:

Festive Lights 2009!!!

This year Carrillion have provided us with some Festive across the canal!!

As we all know - Carrillion are the construction company responsible for the IPC/MBC directly opposite us on the Olympic Site. They have kindly offered to cheer us up in these cold winter months with some lovely festive lights.


So we will have Z's lights inside Leabank Square- and for the front 3 blocks - great views of the Olympic festive lights. There is also the amazing crane light project coming from Hackney Council - so - all in all - we will be very festive this year!!

A trio of great Leabank Square ambassadors - led by Z's son - Juran - will be doing the big 'switch on' at the Olympic site. But what we need is a massive crowd up on the riverbank cheering them on.

Please get up to the riverbank for 4.30pm this Friday for a festive lights countdown - and give them a very loud cheer when the lights are switched on.

Come on Leabank Square - lets kick the festive season off to a bright, happy and peaceful start with a huge bunch of us this Friday!!

A special thanks to Tracie from the LSCA and Gemma from the ODA for getting this amazing project done!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Martabelle.K Rustic Cafe Opens on Saturday!!

If you’re looking for something new to do this Saturday or hanging around the Wick, please make sure you check out the opening of a great new place to eat!

Our fantastic neighbours, Isabelle and Martin are opening their brand new Rustic Café:

Martabelle .K

Unit 7, East Wing, Oslo House, Prince Edward Rd (where the Sweet Love café used to be)

Grand Opening 12 noon

Saturday 21st November.

Please pop by and try the coffee and delicious rustic food.

We were lucky enough to sample a wonderful homemade loaf – and if that loaf is a taster for the food that will be served at Martabelle. K, then take it from us – Hackney Wick is in for a real treat!

Isabelle and Martin - we wish you the very best in your new food venture – we can’t wait to come and sample some more great food!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Just Who Manages Leabank Square?

First off, I'm sure we would all like to extend our sincerest support to our neighbours in block 1-18 who have had a horrendous time with the scaffolding around their block. The break-ins, attempted break-ins, and anti-social behaviour they have had to endure have been completely unacceptable - and I hope that anyone who knows anything will do the right thing.

(also see:

But this has highlighted the complete mess-up of the management of Leabank Square.

That block is managed by Newlon, the block opposite is managed by Hamilton King, the centre block and 74-93 terrace is managed by Family Mosaic, the two corner-canal blocks are managed by PMMS, the 19-33 terrace is a mixed bag of private & management companies, the central green & riverbank are manged by PMMS again. All this is our tiny Leabank Square?!

And guess what?! These different management companies have never - that's never ever - sat down together to discuss our needs!!!

Can you believe that?!

Well all that will soon change! As you all know - there are two separate community organisations here in Leabank Square. The Leabank Square Community Association (chaired by Tracie) - and the Leabank Square Tenants Association (chaired by Real).

Together - they have given the different management companies a sort of ultimatum. As you can see by the attached email - they have set a date by when the management companies have to meet up with us - their residents - and chat about Leabank Square. I urge you to contact any person you may know in your management company to attend this meeting. It's definitely in your interest!!

This way - cock-ups like the scaffolding catastrophe will never happen again. No residents should have to have scaffolding up around their windows with faulty security, easy access to burglars, trick-or-treaters, fireworks abusers, etc in the darker winter months - ever!!

We need joined up management for Leabank Square, and the only way we are going to get it - is by getting the management companies to talk to each other - and us!

Tracie's email to the separate managing agents reads:
"Dear (Managing Agent)
I am writing to you on behalf of the residents of Leabank Square with regard to ongoing issues and concerns we have with the management and maintenance of the properties and communal areas.
Residents have consistently found communications with most managing agents unsatisfactory, responses to reasonable requests unresolved and the general maintenance and conditions in communal areas shabby and of poor quality.
You will be aware we have invited you on several occasions to engage with us in a dialogue about this but so far have not received a positive reply. WE feel that an opportunity to discuss this collectively would be beneficial to all parties and help us move this forward.
You will no doubt be aware of the regular media coverage that features Leabank Square and that the ODA and other parties are working closely with us to improve the area. We are also talking to estates who operate alternative management models and are investigating the possibilities available to Leabank Square.
With this in mind, and before we approach the Property Ombudsman, we would like to invite you and all the other property agents to a meeting on Thursday 4th February at 7pm. The meeting will take place at the Hackney Community Centre.
Once you confirm your attendance I will collate agenda items from the residents and ensure that you have these details in good time.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours Sincerely
Tracie Trimmer-Platman
Chair, Leabank Square Community Association"

Monday, 9 November 2009

Art in Leabank Square - X Street

Remember back to the lovely day we all had during the Hackney Wick Festival..........

........ahhhhhhhh summer

Where was I - oh yes! A lot of us spoke to Renata Gaspar about doing an art installation here in Leabank Square. Well - a member of her group, Ioana Paun, has just been granted the funds from the Romanian Cultural Institute through the Attic Arts Residency Programme. So we are going to be included in the amazing:

X Street - The live noise of Hackney Wick ( )

X Street project is an artistic initiative that explores the perception around the implications and realities of a burning moment in London’s urban history: the building of the Olympic site. The project takes place from September 2009-February 2010.

The four artists involved in this project (Bulley/Gaspar/Paun/Redmer) are focusing on the sonic environment created in a key area from Eastern London. Hackney Wick is situated very close to the construction site and its sound gives a complexity of information. The ears have a defining role in the perception of the environment we live in. Audio information is vast and dense which is why humans create filters in order to process it. We stay in a train station and our ears hear train announcements every 2 seconds, conversations, train breaks, our mobile phone ringing, the wind and a baby crying 10 meters away, still we are only conscious of the fact that someone is calling from work because we are late.

The artists are currently researching the area in terms of stories and history, inhabitants and transitory people and are also building a sound archive. After this, they will devise a performance where the audience, using wireless headphones, will plunge in an audio experience while inhabiting the actual area.

The artists worked together in a previous project in a launderette in Peckham where, using similar creative principles of sound and live art, investigated social friction and immigrants related issues. The X Street project is a natural continuation for the young group and is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute through Attic Arts Residency Programme.

So Renata and her merry gang of artists will be walking around Leabank Square & Hackney Wick for the next few weeks, chatting to us & recording some sounds. Please don't mistake them for spies - they genuinely want to do an amazing art installation - based on Leabank Square. Give them all the support you can - Thanks!