Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Hackney Council - champions of our heritage and hard working people (NOT)

Twenty four brand new Georgian "heritage likeness" private flats, 100% unaffordable, are now for sale in Dalston Lane.  (Thanks Hackney! Ed)

Alternatively try Mansion Global USA who are seeking off-plan overseas investors for the new Kingsland tower. "Dalston with a view" flats are offered at prices from £470,000 to £1.5million in London's "trendiest district" with "views of the Shard".
Only 90% unaffordable but the remaining 10% "affordable flats" (with own poor door) cost many times what locals on average can afford. (Thanks again Hackney! Ed.)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Why is Hackney misleading the public about Eastern Curve Garden?

When Hackney launched its public consultation proposals on 25 February, for development of Dalston's "Cultural Quarter",  there was immediate public outcry. Our much loved public Garden is included within development site 3 (Ashwin Street east) for "regeneration". An SOS was issued -" The Garden is at risk and we need your help!" - and local people are coming in huge numbers to see what they could do to help.

The Garden was included by the Council in development site 3 from the outset. Hackney's Regeneration Czar Councillor Nicholson explained this was because "the next stage is...engagement with the local community to explore initial options.....the inclusion and consideration of the future of the part of the potential options for delivery of the Quarter, is important to explore and confirm how the Garden may be treated going forward"

So the Garden is included in site 3 for "consideration of the future". But on 1st March Hackney's Press Office issued a statement that "The Garden isn't included in the consultation" and when people attended CLR James Library, to comment on the plans, they were informed that the Garden "was not part of the consultation".  In other words, Hackney is not interested in hearing the community's views on "how the Garden may be treated going forward" - only about how site 3 could be developed regardless of compromising the Garden's future.

But that's not the only example of Council misrepresentation. Fronting 10-16 Ashwin Street is a fine Victorian terrace built as houses of quality” designed by the noted architect Edwin Horne in 1870, who also designed the Reeves Artist's Colourworks (home to Arcola Theatre and Cafe Oto). Behind it is an 1870 factory built for Tyer & Co., who invented railway telegraph signalling. 

Hackney's independent heritage consultants, Allies and Morrison, describe the Ashwin Street group of buildings overall as of "MEDIUM" historic value and the rear factory as of “HIGH historic value”. But Hackney's consultation document states "the blocks to the rear are of LOWER historical value". This is totally misleading. This misdescription is likely to prejudice the public’s opinion as to the value of retaining the rear factory, and so strengthen the argument for demolition. ( How could Hackney have got it so wrong? Is facadism Hackney's real agenda here, or worse? Ed.)

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Hackney's monstrous plan to "regenerate" Dalston's Eastern Curve Garden

Dalston's much loved Eastern Curve Garden has alerted its users to the extreme risks it faces from Hackney Council's latest plans to "regenerate" the Garden as part of what it calls Dalston's "Cultural Quarter".

You can find out more about these threats by attending one of the forthcoming "Future of the Garden" information events and by following on Facebook and Twitter @easterncurve

Hackney owns all four of its Dalston "Cultural Quarter"sites including a large part of the Eastern Curve Garden. In November 2015, without any public consultation, it decided to sell them as a single "comprehensive development/refurbishment" package for "regeneration". It considered that this strategy would "maximise capital value and rental revenue for the Council."

Hackney has refused to disclose its property valuation report on grounds of commercial confidentiality. More demolitions and luxury flats, and the loss of existing affordable work space, are likely ( Although the opposite is said. Ed.).

This Council map illustrates its carve up of the Dalston "Cultural Quarter". It shows that the Peace Mural entrance and a large part of the Eastern Curve Garden has been included in the Ashwin Street (east) development site Site 3. We wrote about Hackney's "regeneration" plans previously. The Garden was included then too.  (Despite objections. Ed.)

The Eastern Curve is a former railway cutting which had been safeguarded against development for possible re-use as a railway line. The site was opened to the public in 2009 for the temporary Dalston Mill art installation and in 2010 the use continued as a community managed public garden

TfL released the safeguarding and transferred the southern part of the Eastern Curve to Hackney and the remainder to the owners of Kingsland Shopping Centre. The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden now occupies both landholdings, but Hackney is only consulting about its own part which it has included within the Ashwin Street East Site 3.    

Hackney's latest "Cultural Quarter" consultation is with its "key stakeholders and the local community" . It says it's about "delivering the vision of the Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP)". The DAAP had originally proposed a linear park along the Eastern Curve - “a  largely green open space". But after public consultation had closed, Hackney's vision and plans changed to a proposed "shopping circuit",

Hackney's "regeneration" vision for the Garden involves a hard-surfaced public thoroughfare which would link Dalston Square with a redeveloped Kingsland Shopping Centre, with shops and cafes having "active frontages" spilling out onto the route.
The presently secure and intimate environment of the existing Eastern Curve Garden, and its economic self-sufficiency, would be lost forever. ( Have you tried their café's delicious cakes? And the pizzas? Great value! Ed)

The Council claims the Eastern Curve Garden needs to become a public thoroughfare to provide  "pedestrian permeability" from Dalston Lane to a redeveloped Kingsland Shopping Centre. But look at all the potential routes available if only Hackney wasn't deaf and blind to the possibilities.

Dalston is an area recognised as severely deficient in green open space.The finally adopted DAAP, at pages 56 and 57, does at least acknowledge that "the successful community garden... is one of the many types of spaces that could be possible" for the Eastern Curve.

There is free public access to the  Eastern Curve Garden. It is a  place where people meet plants. It's where children can learn and play safely. A place for growth, creativity and solace amidst the hustle and bustle of Dalston Town centre's redevelopment.
 Its an urban wildlife corridor.

We will have to convince the Council of the need to preserve and enhance this essential community resource. If we fail there will be one very disappointed and angry community.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Artists' Open Studios Safari in Dalston. It's this weekend coming - 26 and 27th November !!

This weekend, 26 and 27th November, Dalston (and Hackney) artists designers and makers throw open their studio doors and allow the public inside to view, to chat and to buy at studio prices.

The Chocolate Factory at Farleigh Place, Farleigh Road N16,7SX  - 28 artists studios producing fine art, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and a lot more

Designed in Dalston exhibition at 1 Cecilia Road E8 2EP at the junction with Dalston Lane  - six creators displaying works of art, ceramics, lighting and every day items

London Fields Ceramics - 12 ceramicists in 4 studios in the Broadway Market/London Fileds area

De Beauvoir Association Christmas Fair, on Saturday only 11-5pm, at St Peter's Crypt, Northchurch Terrace N1 . At this annual community fair  you'll find  ‘made in De Beauvoir’ items including eats, Christmas cards, housewares, pet treats, garden must-haves, children’s toys and games,

A little further afield, three stops on the 30 bus from Dalston Lane to Hackney's Narroway, you'll reach Clarence Mews.

Cressida Bell 24-26 Clarence Mews E5 8HL ( textiles and design)

Hackney Makers Weekend, ( fashion, furniture and more) who are also exhibiting in Clarence Mews

All along the Arts and Crafts Safari you'll also find lots of  independent businesses, Ridley Road market, pubs and coffee shops to distract you and take a load off , including the revered Eastern Curve Garden  where there'll be a Giant Vegetable Lanterns workshop to prepare for their Festival of Light

Studios are a walk from Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs and London Fields stations and buses numbered 30, 38, 55, 56, 149, 242

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Last goodbyes to Dalston Lane's Georgian terraces

Last week Murphy's workmen were erecting a hoarding around what is left of Hackney Council's sixteen Georgian houses on Dalston Lane. They are being prepared for demolition. 

On 5th March 2014 the Chair of Hackney's Planning Committee, in the face of a divided Committee, used his casting vote to grant permission for the total demolition of the 200 year old houses ( Read "One man, two votes" here. Ed.)

Despite Hackney claiming that is was pursuing a "genuine" conservation led scheme, nothing will be conserved. The front facades of the houses will be rebuilt, skin-deep, in "heritage likenesswith bricks from off-site,

This slideshow tells the disgraceful story of neglect and vandalism of the terrrace which lead to their ultimate destruction  

OPEN brought Court proceedings for judicial review of the plannning permission but, "not without sympathy" for objectors, the Judge felt unable to intervene

Phase I demolitions being completed, including the old Sound and Music shop at 66 Dalston Lane

You can read our open letter asking for an apology from Hackney's Mayor here  He didn't acknowledge or reply to the letter.  ( Former Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe is now the London Mayor's planning czar. Ed.)

You may have seen our local community holding a wake beside the ruins of the condemned houses. Local people left touching tributes to the memories they embodied 

Hackney's primary aim was to maximise the price it could get for the terrace from a private developer. This was sought by first trying to demolish them without planning permission (unsuccessfully) and then by disregarding its own engineering consultant's opinion, disregarding its conservation and affordable housing policies and disregarding its community's views. The outcome, behind the phoney fronts, will be 44 new flats for private sale with no affordable housing for local people at all.

The Vandals: an eastern Germanic tribe which earned notoriety by sacking Rome in the 5th century, but which was later defeated by the Byzantines.
Vandalism: the gratuitous anti-social destruction of the environment and artistic creations.
Municipal vandalism: the destruction of our cultural heritage by corporate ignorance, deliberate neglect, greed and vanity, all in the name of regeneration, best value, necessity and progress

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Dalston's architectural legacy of Edwin Horne(1843-1915)

Your chance to tell Hackney what you think, about its proposed Dalston Lane (West) Conservation area extension, is to end on Monday 31 October. You can read what we have said to the Council here. You can make your comments to the Council online here.

We have discovered that Dalston has a special architectural legacy from the great Victorian architect Edwin Henry Horne who was employed to design the Reeves Artist's Colour Works factory (1868) where Arcola Theatre is based, V22's artists studios at the 10-14 Ashwin Street (1870), 5-9 Dalston Lane (1867) and probably the Railway Tavern (1868) at 11 Dalston Lane.  Edwin Horne later went on to design stations for the North London Railway in 1870 ( of which Camden Road is Grade II listed by Heritage England) and to design Grade II Listed St John's of Ealing in 1876.

We have also pointed out the Council's serious omission of failing to show the Eastern Curve Garden on the new Conservation Area Map as an area of "Important trees and green space" - despite it being the largest, most popular and most important green space in Dalston Town Centre. Do the Council still plan to concrete it over as part of a shopping circuit?

If you missed the Eastern Curve Garden's magnificent and magical show of over 500 carved pumpkin lanterns don't worry! You can still pop in and see the display, for this week only, after dusk 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

If you love Dalston's character then now's your chance to say so

If you love Dalston's architectural and historic character you have until 31 October to make you views known. Hackney Council's is consulting on long awaited plans to extend the Dalston Lane (West) Conservation Area [DL(W)CA]. Extending the conservation area will give the Council planners wider control to ensure that changes to the local environment preserve and enhance the area's character  - for example changes affecting its buildings (by demolition or alteration), its public and private open spaces, its gardens and trees (which are affected by overshadowing), its road layouts and surfaces (which also affect air quality) and other important features in our environment.

This map shows Hackney's existing DL(W)CA outlined in blue and the proposed extension of it outlined in red. The extension includes many of the historic buildings and streets to the north and west. It highlights in red and yellow the buildings which are already 'listed' and, in pink, the buildings which it considers are of 'townscape merit' importance. It highlights in green 'important trees and green spaces'. 

Do you think anything has been missed out? Your views will count. You can make your comments using Hackney's consultation leaflet here or by making comments online hereWe hope you'll tell the Council if you support its proposals - but don't forget to also tell them about anything else which you think deserves protection and should be included. 

The Eastern Curve Garden  is not shown as an "important green space" on the Council's DL(W) CA map although the appraisal describes it as an "ever-changing community space, where plants, trees and grass contribute to a diverse ecology". Although the Garden's land, and the Peace Mural, will be within the extended DL(W)CA, the use of the Garden's land itself is presently planned by Hackney for re-development as a "shopping circuit" . 

The former CLR James library dates from 1957-9 and was designed by architects Burley and Moore. It is described as a "redevelopment site" ie one for demolition and redevelopment, and is one of the Dalston "Cultural Quarter" sites which Hackney plans to sell

Four locally listed Georgian properties, at Nos. 16-18 and 20-22 Dalston Lane, have survived re-development to date. They will be within the extended DL(W)CA  but are also part of the Dalston "Cultural Quarter" sites which Hackney plans to sell

For a fascinating account of  Dalston's historical development, and why certain buildings, places and views are considered of conservation value, you can read Hackney's appraisal of the proposed conservation area extension here researched and written by an independent heritage consultant, the erudite Dr Ann Robey. 

The last surviving Georgian houses of the Dalston Lane terrace, which the original DL(W)CA conservation area was designed to protect, are no longer shown as buildings of townscape merit on the Council's new DL(W)CA map. Hackney has already given permission to demolish everything and just rebuild  skin-deep facades in "heritage likeness" -  they describe it as a "genuine conservation led regeneration" ( Genuine? Ed.)

OPEN Dalston members have campaigned long and hard to preserve local character and identity. So much has already been lost to redevelopment.

Conservation Area status has not always prevented neglect and development vandalism but finally, it seems, the Council is recognising Dalston's unique value by extending the Dalston Lane (West) Conservation Area.  (Better late than never! Ed.)