Clapton Neighbourhood Plan

I’ve just come across this questionnaire issued by the council regarding the future of the Clapton Pond area; I’m surprised that the council hasn’t been more pro-active in getting this questionnaire circulated.I personally requested one from the council some time ago but didn’t get one. The worry is that only certain sections of the community – those who attended a meeting on the 24th April – might have had the opportunity to respond.Personally I think some of the questions are weighted to the conservative-minded which scares me somewhat.


  1. Hi Benjamin,Thanks for drawing this to my attention. The questionnaire is a private one created by David White and The Clapton Arts Trust, and not the Council. They are going to be asked to make that clear in future on their website. There hasn’t been any other questionnaires. The meeting on April 24 which I was unable to attend at the last minute because of a family problem is the first of the planning brief process which is different to what they are talking about. You can make comments at any point in connection with that to .All the bestIan”

  2. Thanks for that @ianrathbone and apologies for my confusion. I wrote to Becky Taylor prior to the 24 April meeting explaining that I too was unable to attend and she replied that she would send me a questionnaire. I’ve not received one yet and when I saw this one I hastily assumed this was it.

  3. I like many of the ideas that CAT is pushing – the old schoolhouse and getting rid of the roundabout chief among them – and I also appreciate their determination to improve the area in which we live, but I dont the undercurrent of hostility being shown toward private commerce. Not every building can be a community centre and not every business non-profit or a charity. If you really want to drive the development of Clapton going forward you’d improve the transport situation, and in particular increase the frequency of trains to Clapton. It’s slightly odd that this isnt being addressed by groups like CPNAG and CAT, though I guess that they would like to discourage commuters in favour of local workers.

  4. Hi Benjamin – I went along to the meeting on 24 April.  The questionnaire we were handed out was specifically about the old cinema at 229 Lower Clapton, which has already been acquired by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and awaiting planning permission.  So there was a lot of confusion about why the community, including representatives of the church, was being asked about the buildings future (albeit fulfilling a commitment to ask us 6 months ago).  The second part of the meeting was about the wider community plan, which included the presentation by the CAT.  Lots of general discussion facilitated the council, with some interesting ideas, but no clear indication of a roadmap for developing the plan.  So I wouldn’t hold your breath for an official questionnaire.  I imagine CAT are just being proactive. Also firmly agree with Gavin that we need more frequent trains in and out of Liverpool Street.  I agree about private commerce, but the risk is that successful commerce often leads to higher and higher rents that only the big corporates can afford.  And then we end up with a high street that looks like everywhere else at the expense of local, diverse businesses.  So if we can have commerce minus the greedy landlords, that would be great!

  5. An ethiopian orthodox church in clapton. such a beautiful attribute to the area. i love hackney. so culturally diverse and to have such an ancient church which will only serve to enrich the area is like a breath of fresh air. btw… dont we already have a new cinema on mare street?? and also we have a cinema in dalston unless i’m mistaken. 😉 i look forward to the new Church.

  6. An ethiopian orthodox church in clapton. such a beautiful attribute to the area. i love hackney. so culturally diverse and to have such an ancient church which will only serve to enrich the area is like a breath of fresh air. btw… dont we already have a new cinema on mare street?? and also we have a cinema in dalston unless i’m mistaken. 😉 i look forward to the new Church.

  7. @tsehai – Completely with you – the most exciting thing about Hackney is that its full of all sorts – we have Picture House and Rio. If we have too many things aimed olnly the middle classes, it will lead to a mono cultural area and then we may have all moved to Angel and Highbury.  Lets keep a nice balance of an area full of a hotch potch of people that bring all sorts to the table!

  8. yes but on homerton high street there are about 20- 25(maybe more) places of worship. since when have cinemas been a class issue. there a lot of chippy god botherers here. another church is another church. if all the other churches cant sort out crack addiction and stabbings why do you expect this one to have the magical answers. it is a fallacy. i understand that the deeply religious hate any sort of fun enjoyed by people of rational minds but not everyone wants another place to stand around clapping and shouting, about the glory of a god that may or may not exist. If you dont like watching films then fine, but in a borough the size of Hackney you really think two cinemas serves the community, when another church is just that, one to add to the hundreds already here????? how is that serving the atheist and agnostic community who are made up of peopole from all classes? if the god botherers cant be enlightened enough to see that if there is a god, he is the same god for everyone, unless of course you believe in the norse gods. so we have to dislocate and marginalise to accomodate another place to worship the SAME god. what is wrong with all the other chuches?? not enough for you?? no but two cinemas –  that is just ridiculous., and is obviously just pandering to the incomers and middle class ones at that.  marcus you say if we have to many things aimed at the middle class, but it’s not like that with all the things aimed at the religious? the fact that you cant see the irony in what you right is scary.

  9. @dawntredaI used to think that the opposition this church is facing was purely on architectural grounds. Obviously I should amend that opinion.The facts are that the church bought the property and no-one else. And they have done absolutely nothing wrong other than not share the same architectural tastes as some of our unelected wannabe Village Elders.

  10. @benjamin on that point I am in complete agreement with rather bilious post earlier was in response to the umpteenth person saying another cinema (or frankly any other thing that might be considered in some weird parallel universe as a ‘middle class’ pursuit) would just be wasteful and that we should all revel in the arrival of another church. the church will serve the community it is meant to serve i.e the ethiopian church community. it is not there to serve my needs or anyone else who either does not follow that faith or indeed any faith at all. cinemas or other ways of passing the time are not mutually for the benefit of a particular class or creed, rather for the actual hackney community as a whole and not a maginalised part of that community. that is why i think in my earlier posts, it was the fact that some people seem to be dismissing anything that might have an actual unifying effect on communities rather than a divisive one. as for what it will look like or whether i personally would like the look of it is neither here nor there. they did buy it and can do whatever they feel like doing t it as long as all the correct procedures etc are followed. I’m sorry but it is the rather chippy response to people liking cinemas, whether art house or mainstream, that got my goat. the implication is that it would not be a varied or diverse area as a cinema would only be serving the interests of a minority whilst acclaming something that is actually only serving the interests of a minority, far more worthwhile.architechture is subjective and this borough and indeed London as a whole would be a far poorer place if that was not so. bring on the domes, bring on houses built with guano if they add to the overall mix of a place, just don’t start drawing partizan lines in the sand over a percieved class issue about ways of passing time. sorry. rant over.

  11. sorry i should have written exclusively rather than mutually. dang.

  12. The stated intention of FCCT is \ a community cinema and an educational and training facility for the people of Hackney becoming a social and cultural focus for the area”. Which is fair enough but that is already served by various means already both public and private (the Rio’s annual Turkish cinema and East End cinema festivals for example). I’m far from religious myself but I can understand that different denominations will want to worship in different places and the Ethiopian church being one of the oldest and most individualistic of Christianity deserves that as much as anyone else. There are plenty of empty churches around so why not switch campaigning and fundraising to turning one of those into a cinema instead? Unfortunately dawntreda the issue of what it will look like IS the key point here in that local interest groups appear to be exerting as much influence as they can against the church principally on architectural grounds. I believe that it might help the church if they were to publicly unveil the plans in detail including lighting cladding materials etc in order to dispel concern about the church being some sort of PVC/ MDF monstrosity. Hopefully that would get the public behind them and against those who would like to dictate the future make-up of the area.”

  13. or in fact, why doesnt someone campaign for funds to turn an empty pub into a bar/ art house cinema? The Lord Cecil Cinematograph?

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