Stamford Hill Area Action Plan

London Borough of Hackney

Client

London Borough of Hackney

Consultants Team

Plan Projects, Jan Kattein Architects, Atkins, Ecos Maclean

Summary

Plan Projects was appointed Lead Consultant within a multi-disciplinary team to support the client prepare an evidence base, policy recommendations and design framework to act as the foundation for an Area Action Plan for Stamford Hill, a large neighbourhood in North London of around 60,000 people. The brief required an assessment of community need for housing, educational infrastructure, nursery facilities, open spaces, children’s play facilities, health and religious infrastructure at two intervals: 2025 and 2035. The final deliverable to the client was an ‘Evidence Base Report’ bringing together the various themes in one set of recommendations.

Context

Located in the north of the borough, Stamford Hill is a handsome predominantly Victorian suburb that has, over the last 100 years, become home to a mixed community, including one of the largest settlements of Charedi Jews (a group within Jewish Orthodoxy) in the UK. Planning has become an acute issue; the Jewish community has specific needs, but these are, at times, seen as incompatible with those of other groups. The Area Action Plan seeks to soothe these difficulties by providing leadership and identifying areas of common ground; it aims to offer a vision that may be shared by all sections of the community and a policy agenda to support long term economic, environmental and social sustainability

Community

Notwithstanding the clear cultural influence of the Jewish community, Stamford Hill is an extremely diverse neighbourhood. To understand its needs and priorities, the practice designed a programme of Street survey events; over the ten sessions the team were able to conduct face to face questionnaire-based interviews with 486 people. This approach proved very effective in getting a wide range of perspectives from the principal social, ethnic and religious groups. For example, it enabled consultants to assist those with difficulty speaking English complete the survey thereby reaching out to people would otherwise have been excluded. 
 
In order to bolster the community’s role in shaping the AAP, a Community Panel was set up consisting of representatives of all the key groups. Working with the panel, over the period of ten months, the practice ran a series of workshops looking at the key policy themes. These more ‘deliberative’ events allowed the project team to establish a closer understanding of the needs and priorities of residents, businesses and institutional stakehoders. 
 
The result of this was some clear pointers indicating where policy development should focus expressed through ‘drivers of change’ set out in the Evidence Base Report document. Particular priorities included that any new housing should be designed to be sensitive to local context, a need to modernise the library, the lack of swimming pools (one of the few forms of sport acceptable to Charedi Jews), encouraging the development of additional cafés and pubs and a powerful and persistent call for better harmony and understanding among the different resident communities. 

Plans Role

Plan was responsible for producing the evidence base and policy recommendations documents. In addition, as lead consultant, we managed the project team and ensured the main deliverables addressed the brief and were completed on time. The final submission, the Evidence Base Report, was a joint document produced with Jan Kattein Architects 

Outputs

Stamford Hill AAP Evidence Base, Community Consultation report, Public Realm Strategy, Town Centres and retail strategy, Policy Recommendations, Evidence Base Report.