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Tory outrage at Hackney Council’s £4million revamp

PUBLISHED: 14:57 21 September 2011 | UPDATED: 15:04 21 September 2011

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Town Hall

Archant

Tory councillors have attacked Hackney Council’s £4million assembly hall revamp, voicing outrage at how much money is “being laid to waste.”

Tory councillors have attacked Hackney Council’s £4million assembly hall revamp, voicing outrage at how much money is “being laid to waste.”

The Gazette reported last week that renovation work to the town hall in Mare Street was already under way – without the relevant planning permission.

The council, which made £44m of budget cuts earlier this year, said the money was coming out of the capital budget, which pays for rolling repairs and building maintenance, rather than the revenue budget, which pays for services and staff.

‘No difference’

But the deputy leader of Hackney’s Conservatives, Cllr Simche Steinberger, said: “It makes no difference if it’s coming out of the left pocket or the right pocket.

“Hackney must become more efficient and stop wasting public money.

“Are they saying in one kitty there is too much money? Let them put it into another kitty. It just doesn’t explain it.”

Cllr Steinberger, who represents New River ward, also objected to the council starting work on the Grade II-listed building without planning permission.

“They come down so heavily on residents, they are getting people criminal records by prosecuting them in the High Court, yet they themselves don’t give two hoots,” he added. “My question is, why is Hackney not enforcing itself?”

The planning committee approved the works to the assembly hall two weeks ago.

A council spokeswoman said that planning consent had been granted in 2007 and work had begun within the three-year period.

“An issue with the works meant we had to resubmit a new application which we did at last week’s planning committee,” she said.

She added that the council wanted to carry out the renovations to “ensure central Hackney once again has a community facility,” now that the Ocean music venue has been leased to cinema chain City Screen.


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