Saturday, 21 January 2012

New towerblock for Kingsland High Street

A planning application has been made for an 18 storey tower stepping down to 6 storeys fronting Kingsland High Street next to Dalston Kingsland overground station. The tower backs onto Boleyn Road. The development is for 130 flats, a large ground floor shop (currently Peacocks) and the developer is to re-model the neighbouring station entrance to make it more accessible including lifts servicing the platforms.

You can see details of the application 2011/3439 on the Council's web site here. Public consultation officially closes on 30.1.12 but the Council should consider all comments received prior to the decision of the Planning Sub-Committee which is presently expected to be on 7.3.12. You can make your comments on line here.

Of the 130 flats planned, only 17 flats (13%) are to be "affordable" and the remainder (87% unaffordable) are for private sale. Policy guidelines are for 50% affordable housing. The affordable flats are all planned to be in the smaller block fronting Kingsland High Street but the developer is expected to argue that they too should be sold off to pay for the work to the station.

The number of flats on the site far exceeds the London Plan guidelines for appropriate density. The developer claims the flats are of 'exemplary design' although it admits that only 70% of the flats fully meet the London Plan's 'minimum space standards'. These factors indicate a planned over-development of the site.

The scale of the building will result in overshadowing of local residents' homes and gardens. There will be accelerated wind speeds locally so that some public areas around the building will be, the consultants have found, "unsuitable for standing" (sometimes, they say, "the criteria for safety of all pedestrians including sensitive pedestrians and cyclists is exceeded").

Although the building is dressed in green there is little explanation of who will maintain the planting, or undertake the urban agriculture proposed, or pay for it. No vegetation is sustainable on the bleak North Face of the tower (Imagine, for a moment, the building without any greenery. Ed.)

The 1902 neighbouring group - one of the finest surviving terraces on the high street which will be dominated by the development although the developer claims that the "impacts on townscape and heritage are minimal".

The proposed blocks will dominate the 3-4 storey Victorian high street. The site neighbours a terrace of finely detailed 1902 buildings including the Grade II listed property at 41 Kingsland High Street (currently Shanghai restaurant, formerly Cooke's Eels Pie and Mash). Other listed buildings affected include the Rio Cinema, Colvestone Primary School and locally listed buildings opposite at 74-76 Kingsland High Street.

The "Dressed in Green" tower is being promoted by the developer's PR company, Four Communications, which has recruited Hackney's Deputy Mayor Karen Alcock and Councillor Alan Laing (formerly a member of Barratt's PR firm Hard Hat). "We are keen to use Alan’s extensive network of contacts within London politics" "said Councillor Laing's new Managing Director whose company is also promoting the new Sainsburys planned for Stoke Newington and the controversial Stamford Hill school development.

Don't forget to have your say.

It's not too late to make your views known to the Council. Send them in an email to and put "Planning Application 2011/3439 : 51- 57 Kingsland High Street" in the Subject line


  1. Of course, the greenest thing about this proposal isn’t the foliage and green roof, but the fact that the building is high-rise and facilitates a large number of people leading a lifestyle in which they can walk, cycle or get public transport to work. Compact, high-density cities are more environmentally sustainable than low-rise urban sprawl. Personally, I love the juxtaposition of Modernist architecture which addresses 21st century needs alongside the 18/19th century. The contrast in style and scale reflects the dynamic city we live in - rather than a stagnant provincial heritage town that some would like to.

  2. I don't 'spose anyone would disagree that more and better use could be made of the present Peacock's site. But this is the most venal and imposing lump of crap that's been proposed for Dalston for decades.

  3. Sorry, but I actually quite like the plan! It looks terrific (even without the greenery...). It's amazing how (architecturally) conservative this blog is!

  4. Isn't such change merely a snapshot of the inevitable change modern day cities are faced with today?

    Areas totally absent of any architectural mismatches are hard to find in London these days.

    Should we not be thankful that this new edition to Dalston is at least sustainable and green?

  5. having lived in the area for over 30years, I suppose change is inevitable, however I hate this montrosity! ISnt it enough that we already have a huge development around the corner from Ridley road market. Another building currently going up and looming over the wonderful Victorian school, Princess May School. We are in so close to the city and the high rise buildings, we can clearly see the Shard walking along Kingsland. Wouldnt it be nice to just keep this area free of these buildings. I am definitely NOT happy about this.

  6. The fact that massively overshadowing development has been allowed at Dalston Junction does *NOT* mean that all of Dalston should be overwhelmed with out-of-scale development. This proposal is totally out of keeping with the area (as was the Dalston Junction project) and should not be allowed. The High street has a number of qualities - one of them is the relative openness above a defined roofline. This would certainly encroach on that quality. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  7. They say the towers are beacons, landmark buildings. Signposting "arrival". A sense of place. But they will steal the light from the place. Like lighthouses in reverse. Ridley Road will lose all its afternoon and evening light as the shadows lengthen. If its built, I will always miss those sunny times in the market.As will my children and grandchildren.

  8. Could those who oppose this proposal on the basis of its height please address a few points;
    How do you propose addressing the huge housing crisis? IPPR are predicting a shortfall of some 325,000 homes in London by 2025! That's equivalent to a city almost the size of Birmingham! Furthermore, how do you house these people close to London jobs and without creating huge environmental problems caused by low-rise sprawl on green-belt and daily commuting, which the European Environment Agency (EEA) has called the "worst-case scenario"? We need 21st century buildings that address 21st century housing need - and lots of them.

  9. The development embodies money over people. It's a cold glass monolith wrapped in pseudo green credentials. It's about making profit not contributing to the community. A tarted up skyscraper, designed for wealthy professionals. There was me thinking we were starting to learn from the mistakes of the last few years. Dalston deserves so much better.

  10. Benjamin at 05:26am: the problems of an ever expanding population, and ever increasing rents, is recognised in national, London and Hackney planning policies. They promote siting towers in appropriate areas with good transport connections. They balance this with policies to ensure affordable housing, protection of the character and identity of areas including local heritage assets and protection of the natural environment. We think better and greater use could be made of the existing Dalston Kingsland site and a 21st century design which respects its neighbours could be ideal. We don't think the Dalston Green proposal meets any of these criteria and have today lodged objections with the Council.

  11. @OPEN Dalston

    What's an appropriate area? How does this area not have good transport connections, it's next to a station and off a highroad! What would you prefer that can provide 130 units? It sounds to me that basically you're all for 'towers' as long as it's not your 'hood.

    As for affordable housing, it's the biggest con going. First, it's affordable only at the point of development. The value is not capped meaning that it's liable to rise above an affordable level in the future. Secondly because of a lack of standards re. size and quality affordable housing just means developers serve up pokey units and we're building the crap of the future. The best way to offer affordable housing would be to impose rent controls in the short-term and the huge savings from the £20bn annual housing benefit bill are then invested in building a large number of council homes taking some demand away from the private residential sector. The other option would be some form of Land Tax to stop large developers land banking (i.e. Greenwich Pen)

  12. Obviously Dalston Kingsland has good transport connections but, as we previously stated, that is just one of the tests for whether a development of any particular height or density is appropriate. It's a question of balancng a number of factors and it would be oversimplification to suggest that just because the site has a station locally (where in London hasn't?) towers are therefore appropriate. It is unfortunate that your self-belief leads you to stereotype the views of others who may disagree with you.

  13. The only way to make homes in London affordable in the Long term is to build more of them. Supply and Demand, you know? Building more means building up in this city. I understand that a few homes will be adversely impacted by the shadow cast by the building, in which case appropriate compensation should be agreed.

  14. @OPEN Dalston

    It's a location with a busy station off a busy highroad containing commercial and residential outlets geographically close to the centre. We can't build in low dense outer London, nor in quiet residential districts and small roads. Most highroads in Inner London feeding into the centre feature a mish-mash of 4 story Victorian stuff and post-war rubbish. Doesn't mean any old crap can go up but it appears to me the fundamental issue he is it's too big for you, the whole block could be affordable housing and you'd be unhappy.

    If Dalston isn't suitable for a modestly tall building than basically no where is outside CW and parts of the City under the qualifications you set out.

  15. I think most people would agree that a range of competing needs have to be balanced before planning permission is granted. National, regional and local planning policies also reflect this view. I think this proposal is over-scale & represents over development but greater public benefit, including more affordable housing, would moderate my objections. But it is over-simplistic to say 'if it's new flats, then stack em up'. That's the thinking that led to the high-rise slums of the last 40 years.

  16. Anonymous01:33 - "That's the thinking that led to the high-rise slums of the last 40 years."
    That's not correct. I do wish people would stop blaming high-rise for social problems as an excuse to oppose home-building. If high-rise were to blame we'd see the Barbican, Canary Wharf et al as slum & ASBO hotspots. We don't. Social problems follow the poverty in social housing estates whether high or low-rise. If you're sincere in your social concern you should tackle poverty and stop blaming architects.
    Also, you speak of "competing needs" but do not mention how we are to address our chronic and dire housing shortage in an environmentally sustainable manner that does not exacerbate low-rise urban sprawl that the European Environment Agency (EEA) has called the "worst-case scenario". Anyone sincere in their concern for environmental/climate change issues should address this.
    On a more subjective note, are Dalston's aesthetic tastes so limited and parochial that we can't celebrate the contrast in scale and style between the Modernist and the period? We live in a dynamic world capital, not a provincial heritage town, and our planning choices should reflect that.


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