london fields litter

Griller warfare: litter on London Fields following the heatwave that led to a call for a ban on barbecues. Photograph: Hackney Council

Whose space? That’s not a rhetorical question. If furores in London Fields over proposed road closures and barbecues reveal anything, it’s that a growing population brings with it growing pressures and competing demands.

Both stories are about space and how best it should be used.

A scheme presented as a progressive plan to create more space for cyclists entailed closing roads to through-traffic.

It wound up pitting residents against ‘fume free’ campaigners hoping to banish cars. The Town Hall, which tried to steamroller through its plans, has now been forced into a quagmire of consultation. Meanwhile, the wider tussle between motorists and cyclists for space is nowhere more evident than in Hackney thanks to the sheer number of bikes.

Then there’s barbies. Residents were themselves left fuming when London Fields was trashed by inconsiderate grillers. Now the council will pay private guards to patrol this public space.

But hang on, London Fields is common land, which means anyone is free to use it – and more use usually means more mess.

With Hackney now the eighth fastest growing local authority in England, according to new government data, space-related quandaries are only going to get more acute.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team