Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Starbucks? Dalston's twitterarti get in a flap.

Dalston's twittering classes have gone ballistic since we posted news about a Starbucks franchise opening in Hackney Council's new Dalston Square library. We have had more hits on the OPEN Dalston blog than in any other week. Why so?

Fans of the freshly roasted bean say Starbucks' coffee is rubbish, others fear for the survival of those doughty entrepreneurs who have opened independent cafes in Dalston in recent years, others announce the arrival of gentrification and that Dalston will never be the same again, "cue funeral march " etc. One tweet asks "isn't there anything we can do to stop it?". Well yes, there is a chance to influence Dalston's future. Read on.

Last week we alerted people to the deadline for commenting on the Council's Dalston Masterplan (the DAAP) . Comments will be considered by a government Planning Inspector in due course. The Masterplan acknowledges that "the wealth of small-scale independent retailers is considered intrinsic to the community’s sense of identity" but there is a need for "balance", says the Council, by "creating the conditions for national high street stores to be attracted to the area".

Do you object to the proposed "retail led regeneration" of Dalston? Do you object to Dalston becoming a "shopping destination" for brand name shops. Will people spending money in those shops boost our local economy? Could Dalston become another non-place? Do you think there should be more intense, and high-rise, developments to help pay for the new "shopping circuits" which the Council proposes?

If you are concerned to protect Dalston's local character and identity you can, by 3rd November, send your comments on the Masterplan to the Council . Even if Hackney don't pay any attention to your views at least the Government Inspector will.

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