Islington Labour is building more genuinely affordable homes for local people in the borough.
The Labour-run Council is projected to build just over 2,400 genuinely affordable homes, including around 530 council homes, between April 2015 and the end of the 2019/20 council year.
The 2017/18 Council budget allocated £40 million for its council house-building programme, making it the biggest delivery programme in 30 years. In 2017/18 alone, the Council is expected to build over 300 new genuinely affordable homes, including 140 council homes.
The latest projected figures mean that Islington Labour is on track to meet its key election pledge of 2014 – to deliver 2,000 new genuinely affordable homes, including 500 council homes, by the end of the 2019/20 council year.
These welcome figures build on the 1,829 genuinely affordable homes that the Council delivered in the borough between 2010 and the end of the 2014/15 council year. They also demonstrate how Islington Labour is working hard to tackle the housing crisis affecting Islington and provide decent homes for local people.
Last month, councillors joined construction workers at Shearling Way to observe construction work that has started on four new terraced council houses on Manger Road, Holloway Ward. Each home will house seven people, and will have four bedrooms spanning over three storeys, a garden and a green roof with solar panels. They are vital additions to the Shearling Way Estate, and are just one example of how the Council is delivering more affordable homes for local residents across the borough.
To ensure the new homes meet the needs of the local community, the Council has a local lettings policy for all homes constructed on existing estates. The lettings of new homes will be prioritised to people currently living on the estate on which they are being built.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, says: “Building more genuinely affordable housing for local people is a priority for this Council, and we were elected with the mandate to do just that. Islington is facing the effects of a severe housing crisis in London and we want to ensure that everyone in Islington has a place to live that is affordable, decent and secure.
“We have already delivered 1,829 genuinely affordable homes under the previous Labour administration. It is more important than ever that we continue to build more for the future and prioritise them for local people in genuine need.”
The Council’s flagship planning policy requires new residential developments of ten units or more to provide a minimum of 50 per cent genuinely affordable housing. Earlier this year it won a landmark case against a developer that refused to provide sufficient social housing.
Pictured - Cllr Rakhia Ismail of Holloway Ward; Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development; and Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, on Shearling Way, where new genuinely affordable homes will be built
Islington Labour is building more genuinely affordable homes for local people in the borough. The Labour-run Council is projected to build just over 2,400 genuinely affordable homes, including around 530...
Labour-run Islington Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to close a council tax loophole that landlords have been exploiting for years.
In the past, blocks of student flats in Islington were given a block council tax exemption throughout the year, as students do not pay council tax. There are more than 4,000 such student flats in accommodation blocks across the borough.
Increasingly, over the summer when students are away, landlords are letting these flats to tourists and other visitors in order to maximise their income. The flats are therefore liable for council tax during this period, outside of university term-time. If 1,000 such flats are rented out for 10 weeks over the summer break, the council tax due is £121,250. This is money that could be going towards local services upon which residents rely.
Islington Council has taken action to close this loophole by now requiring landlords to supply the tenancy and student occupancy details for every flat for every week of the year. The landlords will be liable for council tax for any periods during the year when the flats are occupied by people other than students.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety, says: “It is unfair that landlords have effectively been getting a tax break on renting their student flats out over the summer, particularly at a time when Islington is experiencing massive and ongoing budget cuts from central Government.
“Islington Labour is on the side of the many who pay in full the tax they owe, not the few who would seek to maximise their income by exploiting a council tax loophole. This move is fairer for all our residents and helps to pay for essential local services. I am pleased that this Labour-run council has become one of the first in the country to close this council tax loophole.”
Pictured - Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety
Labour-run Islington Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to close a council tax loophole that landlords have been exploiting for years. In the past,...
After years of campaigning for the Archway public space, Islington Labour councillors alongside Jeremy Corbyn MP and the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, opened the new Archway public space on 22nd August 2017.
The previous one-way gyratory for many in the local community was inefficient, outdated and congested with traffic. For years the local community had asked for it to be changed. After some tough campaigning from councillors, it has now been replaced with a two-way traffic system, better pedestrian crossings on Holloway Road, separated cycle routes and a more connected town centre, opening up safer access to shops and businesses.
The Archway public space would not have been possible without the joint partnership with the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL), alongside the £12.6m investment to make the new public space at the heart of Archway’s transformation.
As part of the celebrations, Islington Council is now running a naming competition, where members of the public are invited to suggest a name for the new public space. Suggestion boxes are located in local shops and can be submitted until 3rd September or alternatively the public can email email@example.com with their suggestions.
The shortlisted suggestions will be announced in a live event on the public square on 16th September where people can vote for their favourite names, as well as enjoy food, live music, market stalls, an Arsenal penalty shootout and Zumba lessons!
Cllr Kaya Comer Schwartz, Executive Member Community Development said: “As someone who was born here and has lived in the area for over 30 years it has been wonderful to see a dangerous road transformed into a public square. Now the Jeremy has officially opened the square I look forward to the many activities that will created for and by our community, starting with the live event on 16th September. This beautiful square belongs to and should be enjoyed by local people.”
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport said: “This once in a lifetime scheme is the culmination of a massive joint effort to transform what was once a fragmented, traffic dominated area into a safe, attractive public space that local communities and visitors alike can enjoy; encouraging more to walk and cycle and lead healthier lives. This massive transformation would not have been possible without the patience and support of local residents, whom we wholeheartedly thank.”
More information about the Archway Improvement Scheme is available on the Council’s website.
For more information about Archway see www.archwaylondon.com
Pcitured: Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington councillors and members of the public at the opening of the new Archway public space
After years of campaigning for the Archway public space, Islington Labour councillors alongside Jeremy Corbyn MP and the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, opened the new Archway public space...
Canonbury councillors have ensured improvements to New River Walk, a small picturesque park along a stretch of the New River.
The walk, which can be accessed from Canonbury Grove, St Paul’s Road and Willowbridge Road, is frequented by local residents. However, the lack of level access previously made it more difficult for wheelchair users and disabled people to visit the area.
Local Canonbury Ward councillor Clare Jeapes was keen to improve access to the area so more residents could enjoy New River Walk. She awarded £3,000 from Islington Council’s Local Initiative Fund (LIF), a small grants scheme that supports activities and improvements in the borough, which went towards the accessibility improvements, with the remaining funding for the works coming from elsewhere.
Level access has been created at various points throughout the walk, including from a previously dis-used gate and by raising existing walkways so they are now step-free. Some parts of the path along New River Walk are not straight and can only be reached by steps, so a new path has been laid to cut along the garden area and existing parts of the path have been widened.
The changes, while seemingly small, will improve access for wheelchair users, disabled people and parents with pushchairs, allowing them to explore the area more easily.
Cllr Clare Jeapes, councillor for Canonbury Ward, said: “I am grateful to local residents and the Council’s Greenspace team for bringing these accessibility improvements to New River Walk. Islington is a densely populated borough, so it is essential that residents can get off pavements and onto footpaths to exercise and breathe cleaner air.
“Islington Council’s LIF scheme has helped to make these changes a reality. I encourage other local community groups with great ideas to come forward and apply for LIF funding.”
Jack Lambert of Friends of the New River Walk, added: “We are pleased that our concerns about the lack of level access to New River Walk have been listened to and acted upon. These changes to create step-free access are relatively simple and in keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of the walk, and will make a big difference to residents who would otherwise struggle to visit this lovely part of Canonbury.”
Pictured - Diane Brace and Jack Lambert of Friends of New River Walk, and Cllr Clare Jeapes of Canonbury Ward, on the new pathway cutting along the garden area and on one of the raised walkways leading to New River Walk
Canonbury councillors have ensured improvements to New River Walk, a small picturesque park along a stretch of the New River. The walk, which can be accessed from Canonbury Grove,...
Labour-run Islington Council is rolling out more on-street bicycle parking to residents as part of its plans to encourage cycling in the borough.
Bikehangars are secure, covered, lockable units that take up just a single car parking space on the road, but each one provides rental space for up to six bicycles. They offer a safe and effective way of protecting bikes from the weather and theft in places where storage space is at a premium.
A pilot scheme, which last year installed two Bikehangars in Crayford Road in St George's ward and Hanley Road in Tollington ward, was so successful that there is now a waiting list of more than 600 residents who have requested a space in a unit.
The Council has secured external funding for 18 Asgard hangars across Islington, meaning 120 bicycles can be kept secure and protected from the weather in lockable on-street units. This is in addition to more than 700 spaces on public bike stands around the borough, and the numerous bike stand spaces and similar secure covered lockable bike shelters on the borough’s council estates.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Islington Labour is firmly committed to encouraging more residents to cycle, which is healthier and better for the environment. Bikehangers are an ideal solution to help address the concerns of those who may otherwise be worried about cycle theft of vandalism.
"The borough is densely populated and built-up, so it is important we provide a secure space for residents who cannot store their bike at home.
"I hope more residents will make the most of the health and financial advantages of cycling as we roll out more Bikehangars in Islington"
Residents have been consulted on proposed locations for these units, and more will be rolled out borough-wide, subject to winning further funding and localised consultation.
The council is developing an application and payment system for residents on its website, but until then residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org to signal their interest.
Pictured - Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, at the new Bikehangar in Crayford Road, St George's ward.
Labour-run Islington Council is rolling out more on-street bicycle parking to residents as part of its plans to encourage cycling in the borough. Bikehangars are secure, covered, lockable units that...
Labour councillors, local vicars, local residents, staff from the Whittington Hospital and Catherine West MP, have joined together to demand an end to Transport for London’s (TfL) delays in installing suicide prevention barriers on Archway Bridge.
Gathering together at Archway Bridge this week (20th July), Islington Labour councillors led calls for decisive action to be taken by TfL to install the barriers as soon as possible. The calls follow another tragic death on 29th June, which saw the Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, declare “I am furious these vital safety measures have not been put in place.”
Planning permission was granted in October 2015 by both Islington and Haringey Councils for the installation of suicide prevention barriers along Archway Bridge, which has been the scene of multiple suicides and attempted suicides. Delays have meant that TfL has failed to produce a compliant sample panel of the prevention barriers 21 months after permission was granted.
Cllr David Poyser, Labour councillor for Hillrise ward, said: “Every suicide is a tragedy, especially for the loved ones left behind, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of suicide. We know these barriers will work in stopping others from taking their lives. It is utterly unacceptable that TfL has not been able to get a compliant sample panel produced, and there can be no more excuses. The strength of feeling about this is clear to see and we need TfL to listen to the community and to make our bridge safe.”
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Labour councillor for Junction ward and Executive Member for Community Development commented: “The suicides at Archway Bridge could and should have been prevented. There is no justifiable reason why the barriers have not been installed, given that planning permission was granted 21 months ago.”
Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Community Safety, added: “This saga has been running for years, and as a council we have done all that we can to help TfL produce the barriers. We have even taken to offering to find manufacturers ourselves. Thankfully, the CCTV we have installed near to the bridge has helped us prevent several suicides, but clearly it is not enough as the tragic death a few weeks ago shows.
“I am pleased that a positive meeting took place this week between Islington, TfL and Haringey. Haringey are now managing the project and are responsible for its delivery, and we will support them in any way we can to ensure the barriers are installed as soon as possible. To help speed-up the process, Islington has agreed to purchase specialist steel needed for the fencing.”
Please visit NHS Choices website here – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Suicide/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Helplines for those needing support –
- Samaritans – 116 123
- Childline – 0800 1111
- Papyrus (specialists for teenagers and young adults) – 0800 068 41 41
- Pictured from right to left – Catherine West MP, Cllr David Poyser, Dr Janice Gibbons (NHS), Cllr Andy Hull, Andrew Robins (Consultant – Whittington Hospital), Revd. Peter Vannozzi (St Augustine of Canterbury, Highgate), Carol Hansen-Vessa (local resident), Bisi Williams (local resident), Jan Whelan (local resident), Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Steve Clarke (Vicar, St Andrew’s, Whitehall Park), Cllr Paul Convery, Cllr Marian Spall, Jan Tucker (Archway Town Centre Business Group), and Juliet Penrice (Consultant – Whittington Hospital).
Labour councillors, local vicars, local residents, staff from the Whittington Hospital and Catherine West MP, have joined together to demand an end to Transport for London’s (TfL) delays in installing suicide...
Local councillors and Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, gathered this week (Wednesday 19th July) to celebrate the completion of works at Caledonian Road Station to replace both lifts whilst keeping the station open throughout.
The works, carried out by Transport for London (TfL), were originally planned to close the station completely for 8 months from January 2016 – causing massive disruption to local residents and businesses, as well as significantly impacting residents with disabilities and mobility issues who would have had to travel far further to be able to make journeys on the underground network.
However, thanks to intervention by local councillors - including the threat of legal action - and a petition supported by local residents, TfL was forced to radically changed its plans and agreed with the council that the station could remain open whilst the lifts were replaced on after the other, leaving one lift in operation throughout.
Importantly, the council’s intervention has changed TfL policy, so that in future when it considers closing a station, it will perform an equality impact assessment.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, commented: “I am delighted that TfL has now completed works at Caledonian Road station to install the two new lifts. When TfL announced plans to close the station for 8 months, we immediately recognised the massive impact this would have on local residents, businesses and particularly passengers with mobility issues and disabilities. We are on the side of local people, and that’s why we began legal action against the decision, which led to TfL seeing sense and subsequently agreeing to our alternative proposal that kept the station open throughout the works.
“I am really proud that we were able to work together to not only keep the station open, but that we secured agreement from TfL that they had to consider the impact of station closures from an equalities perspective in future. That’s a big change that will make a difference for many people.”
Local Holloway ward councillor, Cllr Paul Smith, added: “Keeping the station open was a great victory and just goes to show what a determined bunch of people can do when we stand up against decisions that are clearly unfair. I want to thank the 8,000 residents who signed petitions against the closure, those who attended public meetings and local businesses who spoke with us about the devastating impact closing the station would have had on their businesses and our community. The new lifts look great, and I want to also thank TfL for seeing sense and for completing these important works.”
In November 2015, TfL announced plans to close the station for 8 months from January 2016 whilst both lifts were replaced. Swift action by local councillors saw several public meetings organised before Christmas to raise awareness of the issue and to organise the campaign against the plans. A petition was presented to Jeanette Arnold AM at City Hall at the end of November 2015, calling on TfL to rethink its plans.
Shortly before Christmas, Islington Council began the process to call for a Judicial Review of TfL’s decision and the way it was taken, particularly focusing on TfL’s failure to adequately consider the impact of the closure on disabled passengers and passengers with mobility issues. The threat of legal action meant that in January 2016, TfL announced it was reviewing its plans and the works were put on hold. In March 2016, TfL announced that it had agreed with the council’s view that the works could be completed whilst keeping the station open and a revised programme of works would take place over the next 18 months.
- Pictured – Cllr O’Halloran, Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Cllr Webbe, Cllr Smith and Cllr Convery
Local councillors and Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, gathered this week (Wednesday 19th July) to celebrate the completion of works at Caledonian Road Station...
Labour-led Islington Council’s services for vulnerable children and families have received a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, and praise for ‘Outstanding’ leadership and governance.
That is the verdict of Ofsted, who last week (14 July) published the report of their joint inspection of the Council’s Children’s Services. To date, Islington is one of 42 out of 142 local authorities inspected by Ofsted to be awarded an overall ‘Good’ rating. Only nine are currently rated ‘Outstanding’ for leadership and governance.
Inspectors found that high quality and effective early help services focus on improving children’s circumstances before they reach the threshold for statutory social care services, while action is taken quickly to protect those children at risk of serious harm. Social workers spend time getting to know children and families, listening to children and understanding what is important to them.
Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Despite seven years of Government cuts, this administration has always prioritised protecting funding for children’s services. As a consequence, our children’s early help and social care services have gone from strength to strength and this report shows the strong culture of excellence we have built up in Islington.
“It is our mission to ensure that all children and young people are safe, protected and able to have the best start in life, whilst families who have problems are supported to grow stronger so they can overcome their difficulties and thrive.”
Islington Council is committed to helping children and young people reach their potential and keeping vulnerable people safe. In 2016, it pledged £2m to be spent over four years for youth safety, focussing on stronger early intervention to stop serious youth crime. The Council is also protecting spending on universal youth services, targeted youth services, mentoring, the youth offending service and gangs work.
The full report can be read here.
Pictured - Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families
Labour-led Islington Council’s services for vulnerable children and families have received a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, and praise for ‘Outstanding’ leadership and governance. That is the verdict of Ofsted, who last...
Bunhill Ward councillors have welcomed news that plans to tackle crime and build more homes on the Triangle Estate have been approved by the Council. The changes will significantly improve conditions on the estate and put local people first.
The plans will improve security and provide a long term solution to anti-social behaviour issues on the estate. The number of entrances to the estate will be reduced from 28 to 11 by building new homes into the entrances. The estate has been troubled with anti-social behaviour and crime, and the many entrances to the estate made this harder to tackle in the past.
The plans also address the pressing need to build more genuinely affordable housing, which is a priority for the Council. 54 new homes, of which half will be council homes for social rent, will be built. These will include family-sized homes and one-bed and two-bed dwellings, alongside the current mix of one and two bed units on the estate.
The new dwellings will be built by creating additional floors and an extension on existing residential blocks, demolishing a garage, retail unit and six existing dwellings, and filling in some of the entrances to the estate.
One of the blocks will also incorporate new bicycle storage for future residents.
A new landscaped communal garden will also be created in the heart of the estate, removing the unwelcoming podium that has structural issues.
Bunhill Councillors Claudia Webbe, Troy Gallagher and Robert Khan have campaigned hard for improvements to the Triangle Estate for the best part of a decade.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport and Bunhill Ward councillor, said: “My Ward colleagues and I are delighted that, after years of campaigning and working closely with both council tenants and leaseholders, we are on the way to improving the Triangle Estate in a way that puts local people first.
“It was argued by some that it was impossible and too costly to find a solution to the crime and anti-social behaviour issues on the estate, but as councillors we were persistent. By working together with the Council, the Triangle Estate tenant and resident association (TRA), the local police and others, we finally agreed a design that would improve the overall look of the estate and make it safer for local residents.”
Suad Ayanle, a resident of the Triangle Estate, added: “Anti-social behaviour has been a problem affecting the residents of the estate for years, so I am relieved that there are now plans in place to reduce it and design out crime. The creation of a new public green space and removal of the unsightly podium will make it a much nicer place for everyone living here. It is great to know that more genuinely affordable housing will be built on the estate, which will really help local people.”
Caption: (L-R) Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development; Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Bunhill Ward councillor; Cllr Troy Gallagher, Bunhill Ward councillor; Suad Ayanle and Lee Smith, Compton Street side residents.
Bunhill Ward councillors have welcomed news that plans to tackle crime and build more homes on the Triangle Estate have been approved by the Council. The changes will significantly...
Cllr Richard Watts', Leader of Islington Council, statement on the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park -
It is with sadness that I write this statement today, following the dreadful events in Finsbury Park in the early hours of this morning.
Sadness for the senseless loss of life, and sadness that I am called to send this message so soon after other recent tragic events in London and Manchester.
The heartfelt thoughts of everyone at Islington Council are with the family and friends of those affected by the dreadful events in Finsbury Park.
From the early hours of the morning I was with Jeremy Corbyn MP and others on the scene, offering any support we could to the community. I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with community leaders, Emily Thornberry MP, Mayor Sadiq Khan and others at Muslim Welfare House later in the day to speak with residents.
I will be even prouder to join our community in sharing in the Neighbourhood Iftar Dinner tonight at Muslim Welfare House, as we come together to celebrate breaking the fast in the month of Ramadan.
We have also been working closely with the emergency services overnight and throughout the day to support those affected by this dreadful attack.
This terrorist attack seeks to divide us and sow hatred. Finsbury Park, like the rest of Islington, is a diverse and open community and our mosques are a vital part of that community.
We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and will continue to work together and support each other.
Islington is a vibrant and unified borough - this is our community, and we will not be divided by any terrorist.
Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts
Cllr Richard Watts', Leader of Islington Council, statement on the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park - It is with sadness that I write this statement today, following the dreadful events...