Sunday, 3 March 2013

Hackney deny children's playground provision.

Hackney has denied that it ever intended to build the promised children's playground as part of the Martel Place development. Hackney owns open green space there which is to be sold to the major private developer which is seeking planning permission for the site.

The 5 -10 storey blocks proposed for Martel Place development at the junction with Dalston Lane leading to the Kingsland Shopping Centre's rear car park.

Following public consultation , the promised "active youth facility" ( for 12 year olds and above) was included in the Council's Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP) which underwent government inspection last summer. A skateboard park was talked of. It's location would  be at the " far eastern end of the Eastern Curve", which would be renamed as Ritson Place, and it would be developed  as part of the Eastern Curve ( Sites CA5 which includes Martel Place).

All the other development sites on the Eastern Curve have since been built on with blocks of 8-14 storeys. Martel Place, on which Hackney owns the green open land,  is the only remaining undeveloped site on the Eastern Curve. 

Kingsland Shopping Centre car park which has since been lined with the blocks of 8 -14 storeys of Point One Appartments and Kinetica Tower

Although Hackney recognises the severe deficiency of kids play areas in Dalston, it has now informed us that it's "vision" is not to provide the playground as part of the redevelopment of the Eastern Curve sites at all. It says the playground will be provided as part of the redevelopment of the Kingsland Shopping Centre - but that could be years away in the future, if at all. By that time our "12 year old and above" kids will have grown up after more years of playing on the streets!

The redeveloped Martel Place site will comprise massive blocks containing 121 flats but only 15 (12%) will be for affordable rent and those, in a seperate block, appear to have no direct access to the "semi-private" open space within the development. Hackney's policy is to aim for 50% affordable housing in new developments, of which 60% would be for rent ie 36 affordable rental flats in this case..

Council  planners have taken "independent" advice from Hackney's Property Service Department which, in turn, is seeking to maximise the receipt from its land sale. That Department has advised that 15 affordable rental flats are the most that can be achieved to make the deal "financially viable" ie so the developer makes a 20% profit on investment. 

Although the plans depart radically from the Council's own DAAP guidelines for the site in terms of building height, housing density, priority employment uses and affordable housing, the Planning Department will be recommending approval of the scheme to the Planning Committee which will consider granting planning permission on Wednesday 6th March.  A very large number of objections from the community have been made to the scheme.

You can comment on the official plan here
You can sign the dissenter's petition here

(PS  Play Space is so lacking in Dalston that the authorities 'big idea' now is "Play Streets." Ed)

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