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Hackney Council has a new transport lead after cabinet reshuffle

PUBLISHED: 18:04 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:58 23 May 2019

Deputy Mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci with Hackney Council's new guide to help councils across the country replicate its School Streets scheme. Picture: Gary Manhine/ Hackney Council

Deputy Mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci with Hackney Council's new guide to help councils across the country replicate its School Streets scheme. Picture: Gary Manhine/ Hackney Council

Gary Manhine

A switcharound in the Hackney Council cabinet has seen the increasingly divisive transport portfolio change hands.

New transport and public realm chief Cllr Jon Burke, photographed last year when he was giving away dozens of saplings.New transport and public realm chief Cllr Jon Burke, photographed last year when he was giving away dozens of saplings.

Cllr Feryal Demirci has been public realm and transport lead since 2010 but will now hand over the baton to Cllr Jon Burke, who will add it to his existing responsibilities including energy and sustainability.

It comes a year after Cllr Demirci was made joint deputy mayor alongside Cllr Anntoinette Bramble. She will keep the health, social care, leisure and parks portfolio.

Transport issues are under the spotlight as the council pushes to reclaim the roads for cyclists and pedestrians. Cllr Demirci was recently the victim of abuse by a campaigner during a protest over plans to close roads in Stoke Newington.

The CleanAir4Schools group says the move will increase pollution outside their children's schools and Cllr Demirci - as the responsible cabinet member, though obviously not its sole architect - has been at the centre of the dispute over the last 18 months.

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The changes were confirmed last night at the AGM. Mayor Phil Glanville said the changes formalise some of the extra duties members have taken on over the last year and bring together areas of work delivering on last year's manifesto pledges.

He said: "Air quality, transport and environmental sustainability are among my top priorities, so it makes sense for these to all sit together under one portfolio, led by Cllr Burke.

"Parks and leisure are fundamental to our ambitions around public health and our preventative approach to adult social care, led by deputy mayor Demirci."

Mr Glanville paid tribute to Cllr Demirci's work over the last nine years.

He added: "She has worked tirelessly to reclaim Hackney's roads for pedestrians and cyclists, making our borough a safer and greener place for the people who live here.

"Our groundbreaking schemes, including School Streets, Play Streets and traffic filtering are being replicated across the country, and I know Cllr Burke is looking forward to continuing this legacy."

Elsewhere, Cllr Chris Kennedy, the families and early years lead, will take on food poverty and business chief Cllr Guy Nicholson will now be responsible for ensuring everyone in the borough benefits from the growing economy. His new portfolio also includes culture.

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