Monday, 12 March 2012

Private developer would get a windfall benefit. Public body would get nothing.

Last Thursday, following Wednesday night's Planning Committee meeting which rejected the Dalston Kingsland towerblock scheme, the Hackney Gazette published this article. You may find the article easier to read here.

Had the planning permission been granted the developer could have proceeded, as planned, to build towers with windows in the north boundary walls overlooking the railway land. Network Rail stated that it has no plans presently to develop the station and was not going to oppose the planning application. However a later planning application by Network Rail to develop the station would be likely to be refused if it would result in the windows of the new towers being obscured.

The developer had maintained that an 18 storey tower was essential to the financial viability of the scheme which included paying £1.7 million for the Dalston Kingsland station upgrade instead of providing affordable housing. OPEN Dalston queried what Network Rail would get back from the developer in exchange for giving up its development rights and why the developer, and not Network Rail, was paying for the station upgrade.

The developer's solicitors wrote to OPEN in very forceful terms stating that no agreements had been, or were intended in the future to be, discussed with Network Rail and Transport for London. You will see from the press clipping that Network Rail also have stated, to Hackney Gazette, that there has been no agreement made with Rothas Ltd ( the developer).

In the absence of any agreement between them it appears that Network Rail would have got nothing back as a result of forgoing its development rights and the developer would have got a substantial windfall benefit by being able to substantially increase the numbers of windows, and so the number of habitable rooms, in the towers.

Hackney Gazette reported that the Chair of the Planning Committee said he believed the application should be refused on grounds which included that it compromised future development of the railway station.

(Although the Committee refused the towerblock application, the developer could appeal or re-submit an amended scheme. It's been buried for now...but it's not dead. Ed)

5 comments:

  1. Doesn't the existing building on the other side of the station also have windows that overlook the station? And hasn't this already "compromised future development of the railway station"?

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  2. Could OPENDalston explain in what context do they mean they are an "environmental group"? Are they concerned with reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change?

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  3. The Railway pub on the north side of the station has long since acquired rights of light to its windows, so if the station were to be developed then that would require negotiation. The point, it seems, is that Network Rail were allowing the developer to acquire something on the south side by default

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  4. Benjamin @ 12:21 - OPEN Dalston's aims are explained on the side bar 'About OPEN Dalston'.

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  5. As the editor of a news website that has been covering the application for a high-rise on the site next to Dalston Kingsland station, I have noticed great architectural literacy in readers’ comments.
    Though Hackney council rejected the application, the property owner is, of course, likely to re-apply.
    If I am correct in my belief that there is a lot of architectural expertise in Hackney, perhaps an alternative planning application could be made, one that would respect both the setting and the needs and wishes of local people.
    This is what happened on the South Bank of London when a developer announced his intention to build Europe's tallest hotel and offices in Coin Street. Residents submitted their own people-before-profits plan. It led, after many years, to utter defeat for the Philistines.

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