Last night Hackney's Planning Committee granted approval for a massive residential-led scheme on Martel Place/Dalston Lane - the last undeveloped site on Dalston's Eastern Curve - despite the Council having promised, following public consultation on its Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP), that there would be a kids' public playground as a priority. A skateboard park had been flagged up.
Kids and parents attended the Town Hall in numbers to protest at the sell off of Council open green land on the site to the private developer but were only allowed five minutes to voice their many objections to the multi-million pound scheme. SAVE Britains Heritage also wrote in to object.
After the hearing one of the kids, Dex, said "It's disgusting. They said the playground must now wait to see if they'll build tower blocks on the shopping centre site. Still, we've now found a great new place for skateboarding - on The Slab above Dalston junction station."
The Slab, which Hackney helped subsidise, was built by TfL for its buses at a cost of £63million but only one bus, the 488, uses it and there are only five of those an hour. "We can easily dodge the 488, so The Slab is fairly safe" said Dex "We just have to watch out for the police. They chuck us off when we skateboard there, and on the shopping centre car park, but there's nowhere else to go."
Council officers informed the Planning Committee that the playgound was always planned to go on a re-developed Kingsland Shopping Centre site however the site policies in the DAAP makes no mention of it there but expressly refers to the playground going on the Eastern Curve site. Martel Place is part of the 'Eastern Curve Character Area' in the DAAP.
The planning permission departs radically from the planning guidance for the site in terms of height, density, affordable housing and employment space. The value of the land Hackney is selling to the Martel Place developer will increase substantially if the planning permission is eventually upheld. Hackney's Mayor Pipe and the private developer will both be delighted by this windfall.
Because of the size of the scheme Hackney's planning permission will require approval by Boris' GLA. Objectors are entitled to make representations to the GLA
You can sign the dissenter's petition here