Posts Tagged Holloway

Holloway-set ‘Telstar’ out soon

It’s nearly two years since Rich and I saw the crew filming ‘Telstar’ in Holloway Road, forty years after the death of its subject Joe Meek.

The film’s due to be released on 19 June, and the Times has a preview here.

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Popham Princess pt 2

Another Islington connection for Kate Middelton!

I blogged before about her mother’s forebears on Popham Street.

Now the Telegraph reports that another ancestor, on her father’s side, was in Holloway prison.

Not to be confused with Royal Holloway…

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London Region Lib Dem conference

I didn’t get to our regional conference yesterday as I had another busy day in Islington.

I hared off early for a breakfast time photo op at Highbury Corner about road safety: Boris wants to reduce the time we have to cross main roads, and we’re not happy about it. Lots of support from passers by! And a chance to talk to the folk already starting to queue at the Post Office.

Back to work, then out again for a lunchtime photo op about bus fumes with residents in Holloway. After work I dropped by the Town Hall to join the huge numbers of people saying farewell to Islington’s popular head of social services, Paul Curran, who is retiring. Then off for canvassing in Barnsbury – very positive response – ending up with a campaign team meeting. Phew!

Anyway, thanks to the joys of Twitter, by reading the #londonld hashtag, I can catch up on the highlights I missed.

Party President Ros Scott told members there was now nothing to choose between the Labour and Conservative parties.

Then Vince Cable spoke about how the Lib Dems were the only party to warn of the impending economic crisis, getting “something very big, very right”. He told the banks to start lending and stop abusive payments. And he argued that Labour could implode after selling their soul to the bankers. The financial crisis “merits a wartime mobilisation of resources” but the Government isn’t spending money allocated to social housing. He concluded that the Lib Dems are gaining real traction & other parties’ support is weakening.

All of which is pretty much what voters in Barnsbury were telling me!

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Fighting back on email fraud

Another serious-sounding email has arrived:

Halifax PLC. has been receiving complaints from our customers for unauthorised use of the Halifax Online accounts. As a result we are making an extra security check on all of our Customers account in order to protect their information from theft and fraud.

Which might be fine, except I’m not an HBOS customer.

According to the Met Police, the most recent scams are around fake job offers, accommodation – and bank services.

The advance fee fraud – offering you the chance of millions for a small handling charge – seems to be less prominent. Either my spam checker is getting better or the villains have given me up as a lost cause, but certainly I don’t get so many of those emails as I used to.

There are still plenty of the ’419′ fraudsters out there: one of the fightback sites, Artists against 419, has identified over 32,000. Like the fake bank emails, they often mimic real institutions.

SWIFT is the main money transfer system used by banks. It’s genuine. There on the 419 list is ‘Swift Courier And Security Services’, ‘Swift Management Security’, etc.

The first of these has a plausible looking website but without any registered address or contact details which should ring alarm bells: and according to Artists against 419, it has the Domain Name Owner: Serena Parlarero, 200-203 Holloway Road London, London SE1 2AA.

Which may sound plausible if you’re not a Londoner. But Holloway Road is in N7; 200 Holloway Road is part of the London Metropolitan University site at 166-220 Holloway Road; and SE1 2AA is the postcode for the GLA at City Hall….. Buyer beware.

A more proactive approach than Artists against 419 was taken by one ‘Gilbert Murray’ who carried out elaborate correspondence to waste the fraudster’s time.

He obviously had great fun, even setting up a website to support his fictional village, and generally running a reverse Hustle on the crooks.

But for the rest of us, if you do get any of these dodgy emails, the advice is never reply, but instead forward them to ‘abuse’ at the sending domain name eg abuse at hotmail.com.

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Studio line

What do the stamp duty changes mean for people in Islington?

The Chancellor’s changes mean that for the next year, house buyers will be able to buy homes costing up to £175000 without paying stamp duty. Previously homes under £125000 were exempt. So just for interest, I’ve been looking for local properties that might fall into that £125-£175k gap.

So I checked the property pages of the Islington Gazette. The only property in that range is a studio flat in ‘Hornsey borders’ N7, at £164,950.

Gordon Brown told the press, “Home owners need to know that we will do everything we can to keep the housing market moving”. It must be a very nice studio.

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New council homes for Islington

It is wonderful to see new council homes being built for the first time in a generation at Boleyn Road and Armour Close.

I visited the Armour Close site last week and can’t wait to see the finished homes. More than that, I’m working with Lib Dem MPs across the country to help councils like Islington get the resources to build more of the homes local people need.

Back in March, MPs voted on proposals that the Government should give financial support to councils ‘to acquire, rehabilitate and build new housing’. The move was backed by Liberal Democrat MPs plus ‘rebel’ Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn. He put Islington first on this vital issue.

But where was Emily Thornberry? Voting with the rest of the Gordon Brown fan-club, against new money to help Islington build new homes.

Islington’s homeless families need more than crocodile tears from their MP, they need action.

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London’s local police stations survive a little longer

Where’s your nearest police station? Islington used to have several. There was one on Upper Street near the fire station, and another near Cally Road tube; both are now converted to flats.

The old police staition next to the former courthouse on Kings Cross Road in Clerkenwell is now a base for Met Police traffic wardens, while the old courthouse next door is an upmarket youth hostel. And the Highbury Vale police station in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park is used as a base for neighbourhood safety teams, although no longer open to the public.

In Islington today there are just two local police stations, both currently open to the public 24 hours a day: Islington police station on Tolpuddle Street near the Angel, and Holloway police station on the edge of the Andover estate near Finsbury Park. Plus Shoreditch police station just off City Road in Hackney is the nearest police station for many Islington & Finsbury residents.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has been trying for years to close some of London’s older police stations, in order to consolidate services in larger, more modern bases. Blackstock Road, Holloway and Shoreditch are all on their hitlist, despite the latter two being in modern buildings.

Two years ago, the Met tried to restrict Holloway opening to daytime only. Islington’s Lib Dem councillors saw off that proposal; as Cllr Marisha Ray pointed out at the time, crime can happen 24 hours a day, and it’s not always easy to get through on the phone.

Then in November last year the MPA published another review of local police stations. The consultation ran through til March but was very low profile.Despite Meral Ece raising the issue, we didn’t hear a peep on the subject from local Labour GLA member Jenette Arnold, who has sat on the Metropolitan Police Authority throughout.

Now it looks as if Holloway and Shoreditch stations may survive a bit longer, thanks to the Lib Dems on the London Assembly.

Last week, Lib Dem GLA member Dee Doocey, who leads for the Liberal Democrats on policing in London, criticised the consultation as deeply flawed, and its findings as meaningless. The MPA agreed and so their ‘estate strategy’ has been put on hold – for now.

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Hornsey Street postal services: 2nd class?

This morning, between showers, shopping, and a bit of blogging, I was out delivering letters on Hornsey Street, the new estate created as part of the regeneration of Holloway on the back of the new Arsenal stadium.

It’s a common problem that developers build new housing without the necessary infrastructure to make them viable communities. Being in the centre of an already densely-populated borough, that shouldn’t be a problem for Hornsey Street. The new flats come with those modern essentials, a Tesco with cashpoint, an estate agent and a gym (and some state of the art bike parking) – what more could you need?

Well, there’s something missing; the humble pillar box. We may all be on email these days but there are somethings, from birthday cards to official documents, that you still need to post. It’s the sort of thing you don’t notice until you need it. Where is your nearest post box? I’ve got one on the corner of my road, and another at the corner of the next street. If you live on Hornsey Street, the nearest pillar boxes are at Caledonian Road tube or the far side of Holloway Road – you have to leave the estate and cross a main road either way.

So I’ve started a campaign to get Royal Mail to provide a letter box for the estate. It may seem a minor issue, but Royal Mail is supposed to be a universal service; why should Hornsey Street’s be 2nd class? The website went live last week, we delivered letters publicising it today – and the signatures are already coming in. Watch the website for developments.

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New Holloway

Richard & I had a normal Saturday morning today (shock, horror) including food shopping, laundry, picking up Percy’s Frontline prescription and unblocking the vaccuum cleaner. We know how to have fun... Then with Rich heading off to catch the old firm game, I caught up with the campaign team for lunch.

We had teams out in Holloway and St George’s, and ended up lunching just over the border in Camden at Rustique Cafe on Fortess Road. It’s a lovely bohemian cafe with sofas, wooden chairs, warm walls and a great good value menu. I can heartily recommend the pancakes with apples and cream cheese. There are similar cafes I love at Newington Green and Hazelville Road but nothing quite like it nearer home, certainly not on Upper Street.

After lunch, James Kempton & I went off to deliver letters to the new flats on Eden Grove and Hornsey Street. These are a mix of private and affordable homes, plus a gym, studios and the inevitable Tesco metro, as well as an attractive new open space between the D-shaped blocks (designed by Piers Gough). For as long as I can remember – certainly since I was a student at North London Poly in the late 80s – the site was a largely-derelict and inaccessible industrial estate. Now it’s completely transformed.

While most of the buildings are completely new, there are some older ones, all vaguely ecclesiastical. The development has preserved the old Mount Carmel school on Eden Grove, a victorian building with gothic windows that’s now converted to flats. Tucked away at the west end of Eden Grove is Sacred Heart church which dates from 1870. Next to it is a fascinating facade: “Vestry of St Mary, Islington” above, “Electricity Generating Station” below. This dates back to 1894 when the Vestry, the predecessor of the borough council, ran its own utilities. Over a century on, James is enthusing about the Council developing new green projects for local electricity generation; this is an idea I floated when I was a councillor so I’m delighted it’s still on the agenda.

Meanwhile we had a great opportunity to see the buildings in action as lived-in homes rather than the building sites or half-empty developments we’d visited before. I wondered if the private flats would be one of those gated communities that are cut off from their neighbourhood by choice or design. We were pleasantly surprised. The concierge was welcoming once he’d established we were legitimate callers. Wherever you go delivering, you find the pizza leaflets have got there before you. In this case I actually met the pizza man, complete with pizza, wandering around the central courtyard looking for a particular flat... There is an active residents’ association, with a sociable outlook (a pub crawl features among recent events). I also had the chance to chat to some of the residents who were genuinely pleased to have us seeking their views. New Holloway is not New Labour! I’ve already picked up one issue where we can get some results for them. So we’ll definitely be back for more.

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If you want something done…

… ask a busy person.

We’ve got a stall at the Angel Canal festival this Sunday and I’ve been contacting supporters to ask if they can help with cakes etc – amazing response. We now have Austrian plum cake coming from Archway, Japonica jam from Holloway, spice cake & ginger cake from Barnsbury; whatever the weather on Sunday, we certainly won’t starve.

After a session phoning residents (topics of discussion ranged from urban foxes to the role of the UN….), I dropped round the last of the Holloway deliveries to two of our regular helpers. One is a trained actress, preparing for running a course on public speaking; the other a local handyman, who tells me to meet him at the corner shop where he is doing some repairs (at 10 o’clock at night). Both are very busy yet both very happy to deliver Lib Dem leaflets in their neighbourhood.

Amazing people… we’re lucky to have them.

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