More than £37m given back to communities through Council funding initiatives

More than £37 million in charges placed on developers building in Hackney has been invested back into communities since 2021, according to new figures released by the Council.

A report detailing the effectiveness of the Council’s Planning Service and local planning policies shows how this money was spent across Hackney in areas such as affordable housing, sustainable energy, public realm, education, leisure, libraries, culture, highways, waste and community-focused initiatives. 

Examples include the creation of the Hackney Community Energy Fund (involving the installation of solar panels on schools and other buildings); new murals and sculptures to celebrate culture; and public realm improvements, The Council has also used money allocated from the charges on developers (known as Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions) to allow organisations to apply for money through the Hackney Community Fund and Shoreditch and Hoxton Art Fund, implementing multi generational projects which have brought residents together and created benefits and opportunities for a growing community.

The Authority Monitoring Report, which covers the financial years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, details the Council’s success in a number of key areas:


Of more than 650 new homes to have been given planning permission in Hackney since 2021, 47% will be affordable, according to the report. The report shows that between the 2021 to 2023 period, 2,393 homes were completed. Competed schemes also contributed around £11.9 million towards the delivery of affordable housing. 

Business and employment 

The newly released data shows that between 2019-23 Hackney gained an additional 3,635 enterprises, or a growth of 17% over the period. The Inner London growth was 1% over the same period. Around 61,000sq m of office space and roughly 2,800sq m of retail space was completed in the two reporting years, as well as 4,800sqm of affordable workspace. 

Open Space 

Abney Park was awarded Green Flag status in 2023, taking the total number of parks and gardens to 29 which have been awarded the status - the benchmark international standard for publicly accessible parks.Many of Hackney’s open spaces benefited from CIL and Section 106 funding, including Shoreditch Park, Daubeney Fields, Clissold Park (where a new splash pad was installed), Fairchild’s Gardens, Abney Park, Mabley Green and more.


More people are using sustainable transport in Hackney than in any other London borough, with walking now accounting for 55.7% and cycling 8.5% of trips beginning in Hackney. Planning policies have facilitated the delivery of car free development throughout the borough and as of August 2023, 375 charging points have been installed. Hackney plans to deliver 3,000 charge points by 2026.

Design and Heritage 

The Council has continued to work with owners of at risk listed buildings and the Historic England Heritage At Risk team to bring forward repairs and restoration. 

Planning decisions 

The percentage of major planning applications determined within 13 weeks or to agreed timescales was at 90% in 2012/22 and 89% in 2022/23. This exceeds national and local targets.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy and Regeneration

"This report shows how in challenging economic times, Hackney’s Planning Service is continuing to deliver for residents. Through the application of progressive planning policies and the innovative use of Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy, the Council has been able to launch funding initiatives and enhance capital projects with additional investment which have benefited Hackney’s communities and seen improvements to our parks, streets, open spaces and leisure facilities. 

“The Council’s Planning Service works hard to sensitively enable and unlock investment for new development in Hackney that delivers new homes and community infrastructure, workspaces and public spaces and all the while ensuring that Hackney not only gets the new developments the borough needs but also ensuring local communities are the first to benefit.

“Hackney’s planning policies are paving the way for more affordable housing in the borough, with developments of 10 homes or more expected to provide on-site affordable housing and any development less than 10 to provide a cash contribution to help build new affordable homes elsewhere in the borough.”

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy and Regeneration