WDCO elections – reasons to stand

Constituencies named for phases including houses in Woodberry Grove North
Constituencies named for phases including houses in Woodberry Grove North

Reasons for becoming a WDCO board member

If you would like to find out more please get in touch with our returning officer: roda.hassan@publicvoice.london

In order to define reasons for becoming a WDCO member it’s hardly necessary to look further than the proceedings our latest board meeting.

Planning – WDCO participates with the other partners in looking at the plans for the next phase. The planning application for phase 4 of the regeneration was opposed both by WDCO and our local Councillors. It was passed at planning committee on the casting vote of the chair.

The underlying regeneration agreement – It was signed quite a few years ago now but there is an agreement which underlies the whole of the Regeneration, signed by all the Partners. WDCO checks that the agreements set out there are being adhered to.

The look and feel of the estate in future – Currently under review is the ground floor strategy and how the proposed town square for phase 4 will take shape. Not easy questions to address but WDCO is involved in the discussions.

Holding the Partners to account – The WDCO board is just one of the meetings at which WDCO has the opportunity to talk to the Partners. Representatives from all the Partners are present at every WDCO board where we have the chance to question them.

Sorting out problems -As well as looking directly at the problems of regeneration, WDCO addresses operational problems for those living here. Problems are brought to the board by residents. For example, when bills arrive for Gas and electricity, which are incorrect, WDCO can keep up the pressure to bring about corrections.


WDCO’s prime reason for being is to participate in the regeneration of the Estate. The most thorough statement of what is to happen next on the estate is the planning application for each phase submitted by Berkeley Homes to the London Borough of Hackney. For such a large application the decision on whether or not to grant planning permission will be taken by the Hackney Planning Sub-Committee.

This was our first board meeting since the Hackney meeting which narrowly approved the application despite the objections raised. Our board needs you to help formulate such objections and to present them convincingly to the Local Planning Authority.

At the same planning committee hearing the detailed proposals for changes to the West Reservoir were approved. WDCO has throughout the development of these plans had representation on the steering committee and we look forward to seeing them implemented.

The underlying regeneration agreement

This agreement can arguably be traced back to an Area Action Plan drawn up in 1999, with several Masterplans published since then. As can be imagined the original vision has morphed somewhat since 1999. It would be a robust agreement indeed that could withstand global financial crises, a worldwide pandemic, the withdrawal of most of the central government grant to local authorities, and an illegal war which has massively disrupted many supply chains.

One of the things which has changed is the quantity and definition of social housing to be provided. Cllr Guy Nicholson, deputy mayor of Hackney and responsible for regeneration in the borough, attended our latest meeting to support the council’s statement of where the commitment on social housing stands.

Things that have not changed in this agreement are

  • the commitment to work as a partnership with residents, developers, the council, a housing association and a community trust
  • Berkeley Homes right to earn a 20% profit on each phase of the development
  • Berkeley Homes commitment to carry any profit over 20% into the next phase

The look and feel of the estate in future

One of the things that has not changed since 1999 is the shared vision that the regenerated Woodberry Down should be a pleasant, safe place, where people want to live and which people want to visit. The area’s nearby attractions, the new River, the reservoirs, the neighbouring parks , go a long way to achieving this, but the public facilities and outdoor spaces will be of huge importance. Phase 4 brings with it a Town Square, which will very largely shape the realisation of the shared vision.

WDCO is determined to be involved in this shaping exercise.

Holding the Partners to account

In the partnership working towards the ultimately regenerated estate, WDCO is the partner that doesn’t actually deliver anything tangible. Berkeley Homes design and build, Notting Hill Genesis manages an estate of properties, the London Borough of Hackney formulates policy, assigns budgets and discharges its legal and optional duties, the Manor House Development Trust provides community facilities and runs community projects.

WDCO represents the opinions of residents. An intangible. To ensure that these opinions are reflected in the actions of the other partners, WDCO receives monthly reports from each of them, and is in a position to question their contents.

Sorting out problems

On an estate the size of Woodberry Down there will be problems, and while its main focus is regeneration, the Board does its best to ensure that problems are addressed and resolved in a timely fashion.

Recent issues have included the billing for utilities supplied to residents. The current problem relates to bills issued on behalf of Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) to their residents, following a change of billing agent. NHG’s compliance officer attended our board meeting and made it clear that NHG take responsibility for the errors, and that they are following an agreed programme to make the necessary corrections.

Still not completely resolved is another billing issue, arising out of the gas price changes following the invasion of Ukraine, affecting private residents. WDCO has done its best to keep the supplier on its toes, while members of the board acting in their roles as members of a residents’ association, pursued an agreement with the supplier. The terms of the agreement have been agreed, but its implementation is not yet complete.

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