Monday, 30 July 2012

I would like to notify about what everyone must have noticed already: the installation work has started on the gate in Meadow Close.

During the installation only pedestrians will be able to pass through. When the Meadow Close gate is complete, the workmen will move to Silk Mills Square. To enable the residents and their visitors to move in and out the locking post between Meadow Close and Silk Mills Square was removed earlier today.

I am mindful that the work will add to extensive traffic disruptions and road closures we have been experiencing since the start of the Olympic Games, please, accept our apologies and be assured that the gates` installation will be carried out as quickly as possible.

If you have not done so, please notify the estate office of a phone number that you would like to be link with the gates intercom.

Please, look out for further updates on this blog and through regular newsletters.

Best regards!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

ODA Planning Meeting

It was the ODA planning meeting about the Gainsborough School replacement bridge this week in Old Stratford Town Hall. Lots of Wick Village residents came to watch in the public gallery, no one representing the school was present.

The LLDC, Hackney Council and the architects gave a presentation about the proposal for the bridge. Adriy Shulga (our manager) and Ian White (resident) both spoke passionately in opposition of the application. John Gardner (the ODA planning officer) strongly advised the councillors to approve the plan.

One by one the councillors stood and spoke in our favour. They picked up on every point we had made and said that the application had not taken into consideration the needs of Wick Village residents. They pointed out that the ramp would take up 30% of our communal area, and the rest would not be usable as a garden. They recognised the difficulties of public access. They said that the applicants had not proposed any plans for the remainder of the space if the ramp was put in, or how access would be managed. They pointed out there were two public bridges in close proximity. They called the application 'lazy' and said that a more 'creative' solution must be found.

The replacement bridge is in 2007 legacy legislation, which also requires it to be public access (contrary to what we were told in the consultation). This means that the plan could not be refused, so the councillors voted that it be deferred. They stipulated that to be re-considered the applicants must: work with residents to find a solution we feel happy with, consider moving the school wall back to allow space for ramp in the playground, consider using school car parking space to enlarge playground, consider making the ramp part of the play space using an imaginative design. They also proposed to look at the original legislation to see if it was still relevant.

All our hard work paid off, and against all odds we managed to halt the ODA machine! It was the best possible result for us. No one in Wick Village thinks the school shouldn't have a bridge, we just don't think it should go in our communal space. But the battle's not over yet and we must make sure they work with us and listen to us on the new plans. Anyone who would like to get involved please contact me, Andriy or Val (our chair). 

The original bridge (now demolished) which went straight into the school play ground 

The barbecue area from across the canal with Gainsborough School in the background

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hoxton Radio

I was on Hoxton Radio's 'The Olympic Show' at the weekend talking about the towpath closure. It's at about 32:50 minutes in.

Dee Dee on 'The Olympic Show'

Committee Meeting

The Wick Village TMC committee will be meeting tonight at 7pm. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Minutes of the previous meeting.
  2. Automatic gates.
  3. Audit.
  4. Bridge.
  5. Planned maintenance.
  6. Any other business.
Please contact us or comment below if you'd like to say anything about these subjects, or if there is anything else you would like the committee to discuss. 

Sorry for the short notice about tonight, but there are regular meetings so even if it's too late for today's meeting please do still contact us. 

Thank you.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Hackney Wick Station in Daily Mail

A journalist from the Daily Mail rang me this week to ask my opinion on the westbound platform closure at Hackney Wick during the Olympics. The article was in the Daily Mail today with my quote about its effect on residents of Wick Village. 

"Resident and owner of Dee Dee's Vintage, Dee O'Connell relies on the train service to meet clients, as well as having staff whose commute will be disrupted. But she also draws attention to the impact it will have on residents.
Many of her neighbours are elderly and they rely on the bus and train services to reach nearby amenities. 'These people will be trapped,' she said.
'I really don't know what they are going to do. Many of these people are without the internet and cannot walk more than short distances. Their quality of life will be totally affected."

Read more:

Photograph from the Daily Mail

We are in the Guardian!

Dave Hill has written an excellent article about the proposed bridge on our barbecue area in his London blog. Thank you Dave, it's great to get our voices heard.

London legacy: bridge-building in Hackney Wick

Thursday, 19 July 2012

ODA Planning Meeting

We got a letter today saying that the ODA planning meeting regarding the bridge will be held on Tuesday 24th July at Old Stratford Town Hall at 6pm. We are all welcome to attend as it is a public meeting.

If we wish to address the ODA Planning Committee we have to advise the Committee Secretary by tomorrow at 5pm. There will be a total of 5 minutes for objectors and 5 minutes for supporters to speak, so it may be best to nominate a speaker.

Gainsborough School Replacement Bridge

The LLDC (London Legacy Development Company) have applied for planning permission to build a bridge going from Wick Village barbecue area to (what will be) the playing fields across the canal. These fields will be created when the Olympic Catering Village is knocked down after the Games.

Planning application to ODA

Planning application to Hackney Council

This bridge would replace the previous bridge which went from Gainsborough School playground to Arena Fields. The bridge would allow the school to access the new playing fields, but the planning application asks for public access to be considered.

The land where the bridge will be built falls in both ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) and Hackney Council planning areas. This means that the LLDC has made applications to the ODA and council and they will both have to agree if the bridge is to be built.

Our estate manager Andriy offered to collect responses from residents and thirty four out of the one hundred and twenty properties in Wick Village gave him letters with their opinions on the bridge. Every one of these responses were against the bridge being built in our communal area.

In summary residents don't want to lose their communal area, the trees would have to be cut down, they are worried about Wick Village becoming a public thoroughfare, increased litter and anti social behaviour. As a TMC we are respobsible for our own cleaning and maintenance, council cleaners do not come here.

There is also a question mark over the ownership of the land. Residents believed that they had purchased the land at auction from British Waterways in 1992, but the land was unregistered. In 2010 Hackney Council applied for adverse possession of the land (essentially squatter's rights). Until 2010 residents had sole use of the land, which is gated. In 2010 the ODA put a gate into the party wall with the school (without informing Wick Village TMC). This gate is now padlocked. The area is not currently safe for children to use. The ODA had promised Wick Village money to do it up, fix the wall by the canal and the loose electric wires where vandals pulled out the lights. This money was not given to Wick VIllage.

Residents would prefer for the bridge to go back into the school playground and public to use the new footbridge and the A12 bridge to access the Olympic Park. Residents feel they have already suffered greatly from the Olympics building site and the loss of Arena Fields, and that in the words of Val our Chair, 'This is a bridge too far'. 

Andriy's letter is below:

Other residents may have written directly to the planning teams and have different opinions on the matter, please let us know or comment below if you would like to have your say. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Open Our Towpath Campaign

A campaign group has been formed to protest against the closure of the towpath from the A11 to the A12. Protests have been held on the last two Sundays by the barrier opposite Wick Village, and more are planned for the future.

For further information please see:

Open Our Towpath website
Open Our Towpath Facebook
@openourtowpath on Twitter

It has reported in the Guardian on local resident  Dave Hill's blog and the Guardian bike blog  and Paul Owen's Olympic blog. The Hackney Gazette and Hackney Citizen wrote about it. It was mentioned in The New Statesman article Whose Olympics are they anyway? Hackney Tours have written about the closure on their blog Sport suffers by the Lee as Olympic Security Zone Expands. There have also been many other press mentions, please see Open Our Towpath press page for more links.

German and Russian television, German radio and a Brazilian newspaper have also been down and reported on the towpath closure and protest.

There will be an Open our Towpath meeting tonight at The Electric Matchbox cafe on White Post Lane at 8pm. All welcome to come and discuss your views. 

Hackney Wick Station Closure

We've just found out that it's planned that Hackney Wick Station will be closed westbound from 1pm during the Olympics.

There is a meeting today at The Hackney Pearl at 4pm, organised by the owner James Morgan to discuss the impact of this on local residents and businesses.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Our Swan Family

Our swans are back! We'd been missing Mr and Mrs Swan as they hadn't been seen for a while but they're back with three adorable cygnets. They must've been nesting upstream. The people who used to live in our house told me they've known Mr Swan (known locally as Flappy because of his flappy foot) for sixteen years since he was a wee cygnet himself.

They were riding on Mum's back - I've never seen that before. So cute.

Dee Dee x

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Last walk on the towpath

The towpath that goes from opposite Wick Village, by the A12 bridge to the A11 was originally going to be a 'green route' for walkers and cyclists into the Olympics. A lot of money was spent doing it up and putting in bridges that go into the park.

Around a month ago I saw a small notice on the towpath saying that it was going to be closed from 3rd July to 10 September. We didn't get any other notification and when it came to the 3rd nothing happened except a couple of people in 2012 tracksuits standing around at the spot where the towpath was supposed to be closed. 

On the 4th I decided to go for a walk again and see what was happening. The 2012 people were standing at the top but they didn't say anything as I went past. As I passed the old boathouse three security guards came marching along the path towards me saying I shouldn't be on there, they're closing it off and I have to leave at White Post Lane. When I got to the bridge at White Post Lane there were soldiers everywhere and lots of irate cyclists, walkers and joggers. When I got back home there was a metal barrier up, and four soldiers right opposite my house.

These are some of the photos I took on my last walk.

Dee Dee x

The International Broadcast Centre from Wick Village

Building the landing place for the Olympics water taxis

The 'temporary' car park that they want to keep now. The better designed part behind it was the 'permanent' one.

Wick Village from across the water

Woke up one day to see workmen digging up grass and wildflowers by the towpath. They said it's for the landing place for Olympics boats.

Wick Village communal area. The LLDC want to put a bridge landing here.

'Inspire a generation'

The electric fence with cameras and motion sensors

The Eton boathouse 

One of the bridges originally supposed to be a route into the park before the towpath was closed

Dredger cleaning the canal

Olympics power centre

The White Building - artists' studios, exhibition space and brewery/pizzeria  

The soldiers stopping me going on the towpath

Water Chariots boat - £45 or £90 to come down from Tottenham

Stadium from the pontoon at Counter Cafe in Stour Space

The soldiers guarding the towpath opposite Wick Village