Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe apologises for “unacceptable” bungles
Jules Pipe has apologised to De Beauvoir residents, after “unacceptable” bureaucratic bungles meant they had to fight a four-year battle to secure promised trees.
In July 2006 planning permission was granted to turn the Victorian Edith Cavell school building in Hertford Road into a block of flats.
As part of the agreement, �373,100 was allocated in Section 106 funding - which developers pay to councils for specific social projects as part of the planning process.
Of this, �15,000 was allocated to plant trees along the site, as it was noted that Enfield Road and Hertford Road were lacking in vegetation.
But nearly five years on, the trees have still not been planted.
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Over the course of four years, residents got fobbed off with excuses and promises which never came to fruition, and in November 2008, the council even denied there was any Section 106 funds earmarked for tree planting - although backtracked in February 2009.
But Jules Pipe frankly admitted the council’s maladministration in a letter of apology last week, saying the Streetscene department’s internal protocols had “broken down.”
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“I do not believe that any of this information provides a satisfactory or acceptable explanation for why this matter has not been progressed over such a long period of time,” said Mr Pipe.
“The failure of officers to follow, or even be aware of the correct procedures is completely unacceptable, and I share your disappointment at the extensive delays this has caused.”
De Beauvoir Square resident Paul Bolding said: “Some of the section 106 money was spent on the Gillette Square regeneration and some on a kindergarten in Hoxton, but none was ever spent in De Beauvoir except to fix the pavements around the site - we had to chase them about that too.
“A lot of us fought the application, so it was galling that they kept refusing to spend the money in De Beauvoir,” he added.
The project went to cabinet for approval on Monday night and the trees should now be planted next month.
Ideally trees should be planted in the autumn to ensure their survival.
“The reference to containerising them means planting them in lots of soil, which is much more expensive but does solve the problem of the fact that it’s the growing season,” said Mr Bolding.
“The implication is that they are so embarrassed that they are rushing it through.”