In this video clip Graeme Archer tells the Tory Conference about how local people, and particularly Spirit, were powerless to prevent Hackney Council auctioning off local businesses to off-shore companies in 2002. The auctions were not just of properties in Broadway Market but a Georgian terrace of thriving businesses in Dalston Lane too - and just look what has become of them. Despite Council policies, and crocodile tears, the Dalston shopkeepers were deprived of the opportunity to buy their shops when the terrace was put in the auction as one lot and many have since been evicted. Then there were arson attacks and four houses were burnt out. The Council have since, at public expense, demolished three of the houses. Following recent public consulation the Council's planning brief for the terrace is awaited.
Graeme Archer also raises the issue of the "Tesco-fication" of our high streets - the loss of retail diversity, independent small businesses and local character. Local communities are resisting this all over the country. Tesco have an outstanding planning application for the major redevelopment of its Morning Lane site which includes two thirteen-storey residential tower blocks on top of a new store. The development will dominate St John at Hackney churchyard gardens and Hackney's earliest monument - the 13th century Grade 1 listed St Augustine's Tower.You can see and comment on the application on Hackney Council's Planning Department web site here.
Image gimped by sdit.org.uk
"....Where possible, a supermarket operator underwrites the whole development, erecting towers on site, so that Hackney becomes a suburb of Tesco, with streets, permanently under cosmetic revision, replaced by 24-hour aisles. Light and weather you can control. Behaviour is monitored by a discreet surveillance technology..."
Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books, June 2009