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Stokey Local is still going strong. Read what we are up to below.
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It's been a busy couple of weeks for the Stokey Local campaign. In fact there's been a lot going on in Hackney on all sorts of campaigning fronts.

A couple of weeks ago our friends at Abney Park hosted a fabulous FUN-draising afternoon, organized by the Abney Park User Group (APUG), Abney Park Trust and Stokey Local. All of the proceeds - over £700 on the day - went to the Stokey Local Fund. We're grateful to everyone who contributed whether it be financially or just by coming along to show support.

We called the event "All About Abney - The Battle for Wilmer Place" because we wanted to focus on this part of our campaign and explain that it isn't about just another supermarket, but also about the real, tangible damage it will do to Abney Park. In the three years we've be campaigning against this particular development many people have moved to the area and were unaware of threat or the history. Whilst some who have been here a long while were unaware the campaign was still ongoing and that we were still successfully keeping the developers at bay. Others who have been in close contact with our campaign were unaware of the impacts on Abney Park and the threat it poses to the many diverse activities and groups who use the Cemetery.

It was a pleasant surprise to many to see so much activity going on in the Park - from the Forest School through to the Green Woodworkers via some impressive stone carving. We had the stage up and kept visitors entertained with some music and comedy from some of the talents who regularly perform in the Cemetery.

Ecologist, Russell Miller, planning nerd, Nick Perry, and Abney's organizer, John Baldock took over 100 people on a walk through a part of the Cemetery to demonstrate the impact the Wilmer Place development will have on the seclusion, biodiversity and heritage of Abney Park. This is real, tangible and impactful stuff.

If you want to know more about Abney Park and in particular if you want to get involved, go along to the regular Abney Park User Group (APUG) meetings or volunteer to help the Trust with some litter-picking or tidying up and horticulture.

Abney's future is very much up for discussion at the moment as the Council considers how best to manage the Cemetery and what role the Trust will have in that. So it's a great time to get involved and show how important Abney is to the community.

APUG has an "Open Committee Meeting" coming up this Monday 22 September at 7pm in the classroom - the building just inside the High St gates, by the "North Lodge". Everyone is welcome to come along to these meetings and to contribute - not just the APUG committee. It's a great way to get involved. Email abneyparkusergroup@live.com for more details.

Volunteering


Everything Stokey Local does is down to volunteers. We had a great band of helpers for the activities around All About Abney - marshalls, leafleters, organizers, acts, demonstrators, teachers.

Thanks to all of you who helped.

But we continue to need volunteers. Stokey Local doesn't have a formal organizational structure or committee - we're a loose alliance of people with a common aim who volunteer to do the things we can. It works very well, but has drawbacks. We often don't have the time to do many of the things that would help the campaign. People often come to us with great ideas but assume we have an officer or a team who can implement it. In truth, we don't. So if you have any ideas for us - and crucially have the skills or energy to help implement them, please contact us.


Similarly, if you have a particular skill or expertise, don't assume we have someone doing that already or that you'll put noses out of joint by helping out. Just let us know how you can help

Donate now!


With almost £17,000 raised already we've done very well as a campaign. But even though our team of barristers are working at no cost to us, we need to raise at least £4,000 more to cover a portion of the other sides' costs if we lose, as well as our incidental court and administrative costs to date.

If you haven't already donated to the fund or know of others who might want to contribute to our campaign, donations can be made direct in to our bank account (details below). Email us to let us know if you make a direct donation.
 
Account: Stokey Local Community Fund
Sort code: 08-60-01
Account: 20316473 

Legal Update


Our main Judicial Review hearing is listed for 14-16 October 2014. If the case is heard in full, we'd expect to hear the Court's decision around six weeks later.

In the meantime we've been in court on preliminary and procedural matters. Most recently last Friday 19 September we were in the Court of Appeal to ask to see the secret viability documents that the developer used to say he could only afford to build 9 "affordable" homes (2 of which are "social rent") out of the 53 he's building. Hackney Policy, like many councils' seeks 50% affordable homes but only 17% are on offer because otherwise, the developer claims, the scheme would be unviable. It a trick that is routinely repeated across the country. And because the documents are self-certified as confidential, we don't get to scrutinise them.

You can read Nick Perry's blog post on our day in Court on our website. And for more on what's wrong with the system of viability read Olly Wainwright's excellent piece in The Guardian last week.

Sadly, the Court of Appeal didn't give us permission to see those documents ahead of the JR. Crucially, they weren't being asked to decide if we should have seen them at the outset - we get to argue that point next month. Instead we said we wanted to see them ahead of the JR to reinforce our point. The Court felt we didn't need to see them to make those points next month.

We'll have to pay some of the costs of the other sides in mounting that Appeal, but they will be relatively modest (and certainly no more than £5,000) as we didn't go ahead with a full hearing. The appeal was still useful though. It raised some important points and brought some interesting legal arguments forward which will be useful at the Judicial Review.

Stay in touch for more updates as the Judicial Review hearing approaches.
Photo by Ben Rollo-Hayward

Spread the word


We will keep you updated about the Stokey Local Campaign, but in the meantime, feel free to share this newsletter with friends, family, neighbours etc, and share it on Facebook/Twitter etc.

If you didn't receive this message directly via email, then you can sign up here to receive regular updates.
 
As always, thank you Stokey!
 
Stokey Local

After our Abney walks, supporter Sue Davies was inspired to write this poem about the gaps in the trees that allow us a glimpse of the sky.

Mind the Gap

Gap in the trees and sky is there, high pressure low pressure the sky is always there, permanence on impermanence, light on dark, through cycles of the moon, 
Wind is fluffing the feathers of tiny owls, sun is sugaring leaves and the earth breathes its soft breath, worms toil and tiny plant embryos crack their womb and break for the light.
My beloved wife, my husband, my child, old comrade, marbles tilt together over root and under branch,
Silver Squirrel rides the gap, a rustle of leaves percussive to the chorus of singing birds and the squalls of those off key emerald parakeets.
In and out of silence, sun down is coming.
Twilight liquid in beady eyed owl.
Sky, earth, earth and sky, the soft feral bed of tiny lives spinning and weaving the short mystery dream of humans, those dreamers waking to another dream.
Deep underground in concrete casings toiling hither and thither while robotic others in perfect English command, Mind the Gap, Mind the Gap.

Sue Davies, 2014

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