Hackney's Planning Committee approved TfL/Hackney/Taylor Wimpey's Western Curve gated Dalston development last Wednesday. Is their "public/private partnership" up to standard?
TfL/Taylor Wimpey's Western Curve Dalston development, before and after the 'improvements'.
Because the development will breach Hackney's government approved Dalston Area Action Plan the Committee were supposed to consider whether those breaches were "required" for financial reasons, whether they will bring "additional significant regeneration benefits" and whether it will be an "exemplar" building. These requirements were not reported to or considered by the Committee when it's members approved planning permission.
Nor was there evidence that the development will "strengthen and enhance" Dalston town centre's character and identity - in fact quite the reverse, because the "could be anywhere" designs will dominate and overshadow the High Street and its heritage buildings.
Some of the flats, to be packed into TfL/Taylor Wimpey's development, will have between only 0.0% and 3.6% probable sunlight hours annually .This is way below British Standards, and is "Substantial adverse", according to TfL's own consultant's report. The environmental effect of the scheme on our high street, and its heritage assets, will be as bad if not worse. Why are such low standards being allowed?
The Worship of Mammon 1909 by Evelyn de Morgan
“mammon”: (noun) possibly of Aramaic origin, meaning riches. First personified in English as the false god of wealth, avarice and injustice in the mediaeval poem Piers Plowman and later as the fallen angel, Lucifer, in Milton's Paradise Lost.
“mammonistic”: (adjective) consumed by the desire for wealth at the expense of beauty, creativity and the human soul.
"mammonists" : (secretive) the dark forces, including Philistines, pursuing material gain by the obliteration of heritage, identity, culture and sunlight in the name of regeneration, best value, necessity and progress.
TfL will now get a substantial payment for the site from Taylor Wimpey which, in turn, can expect a 20% return on its purchase and development costs. Hackney Council also invested over £1m and will hope for a 20% return too. Dalston loses out.
Sir Richard Rogers said in 2008 "There is something seriously wrong when new houses across the country form rootless estates and could just as well be in Beijing, Buenos Aires or Belfast. These are developments which have no regard for a community's sense of place, belonging or identity. I fear we are building the slums of the tomorrow, but it shouldn't be."
Sir Richard Rogers, Head of the Government's Urban Task Force, that focused on design-led buildings and reform of the planning system to allow greater involvement of residents.
The Independent 29 March 2008
Dalston! If you think the Western Curve development is poor, what do you think of what's coming next?
Emerging proposals for a re-developed Kingsland Shopping Centre - same amount of shops but with 500 flats above them
Revived plans for an 18-storey tower on Peacocks site next to Dalston Kingsland station