Saturday, 24 August 2013

Dalston to get shaft (ed)

A new 19-storey, 62 metre high Dalston tower, with a four storey frontage building,  is proposed for 51-57 Kingsland High Street on the Peacocks site next to Dalston Kingsland station. We've nicknamed it 'The Teardrop'.
The developer's previous application, Dalston Green, got unanimously rejected by the Planning Sub-Committee. This new scheme does not comply with the Dalston Area Action Plan either.  You can  let Hackney's Planning Committee know what you think of the new plans and you can sign the objectors petiton - see below.

The Teardrop (as it would be seen from Ridely Road market) is planned next to Dalston Kingsland station and is designed by Jestico and Whiles. The total of 125 flats is double the average density expected for this 0.18 hectare site. The developer states it will contribute £100,000 to any improvements to the neighbouring station, although no specific proposals have been announced.

The developer claims the development "contributes to and enables a balanced and mixed community in the area". However, in this dense private housing scheme, only 14  "affordable" flats are planned for the front building ( all for shared-ownership, not social rent, and only 3 family flats) and 111 private  (unaffordable) flats will be in the exclusive tower behind. Prices will rise to over £1million for the 19th floor penthouses. The developer expects a net profit of over £10million (a 20% return on investment is more or less guarranteed). Where is the community benefit? 

The Teardrop will have no car parking (except for 2 spaces for disabled people) and 210 cycle storage spaces. There will be a 'children's playground' on a roof terrace. The site is west of Ridley Road Market but the tower, they say, won't start to overshadow the entrance until, on average, 5pm.

The huge profits come from stacking up the site with private flats. The Daylight and Sunlight consultant (GVA's) report concludes that the overshadowing effect of the proposed tower has no significant impact". However, of the 37 tests for residential sunlight, their report reveals that 26 (70%) failed the British Standard by exceeding a 20% loss and one amenity area has nearly 50% loss of sunlight in winter. Of 44 tests for residential daylight (excluding Boleyn Road to the west of the site), 33 (70%) will lose more than 20% of daylight.

 The "Teardrop" gets its name from its teardrop, rather than circular, plan form

The climatic effect on our 'public amenity space' ie our High Street pavements, was not tested at all.The tower will, in fact, deduct a bit of sunlight from all of us as well as increase local wind speeds ie the developers profits come at our expense by degrading the quality of our local environmental.  What will Dalston get back to mitigate these effects?

The "Teardrop" as seen looking north along Boleyn Road. The tower's aerodynamic design, it is said, prevents the increased wind speeds accelerating off the north west surfaces from exceeding conditions appropriate for "standing" ie you will be able to stand but will not be comfortable sitting outside.

The developer has already consulted the Planning Sub-Committee, at a recent 'pre-application' meeting, when the public were not allowed to speak. The meeting was intended to remove any 'misunderstandings' which had led to the previous scheme's unanimous rejection.
The Planning Consultants state that "Throughout the pre-application phase consultation took place... including OPEN Dalston ". This is untrue - in fact there has never been any consultation with OPEN Dalston for this scheme.

Four storeys, plus parapet, plus roof terrace, next to the exquisite 1902-3 High Street terrace, which includes Grade II Listed No 41 (Shangai, formerly Cookes) and the locally listed Kingsland pub. Does it enhance or does it dominate the terrace?

The  Heritage consultant (Tavenor's) report is laughably inept. On the subject of Grade II Listed Colvestone Primary school it describes an entirely different building. The consultant also assesses the environmental impact on the Kings Arms, although that pub was demolished several years ago. Fortunately, the Council's Dalston Area Action Plan requires Hackney to undertake its own Character Appraisal  of Dalston's heritage assets to inform its Planning Committee's decisions. Sadly, Hackney's report is not yet available.

The previous planning application for a tower on Peacocks site was rejected on grounds which included it's height , scale and mass being detrimental to the area's appearance, the absence of affordable housing, the reduction in retail floor space and because its design would compromise future development of Dalston Kingsland rail station. The new design is taller, has only 11 affordable homes (of which none are for social rent), has reduced retail floor space and makes no proposals to improve the station.






  1. This looks like it will be a great development, and with fantastic transport on the doorstep. I wonder how much the flats will cost? I am definitely in the running for one. I could kick myself for not buying into Dalston Square before it got expensive. Dalston seems much less of a risk now they have cleaned it up, it certainly feels less violent. Please keep us informed of any further news.

    1. Good thinking Kate - then you could pay for it by letting it out at an extortionate rent to people who can't afford the deposit to buy. You'll get rich at other's expense. Nice one!

    2. I've lived in Dalston for over 30 years and have never experienced violence. It's true Dalston Square is part of these developments sanitising and homogenising the area - creating a safe haven for buy-to-let capital. But Barratt's 'two-for-one' offers during the property crash are now a thing of the past in Dalston, so I think 'Kate' has missed the boat.

  2. This site seems to attract ever worse ideas for massively over-profitable over-development.
    Why on earth (arrogance aside) nickname a tower for the shape of its cross-section, which no-one sees? The two parts of the scheme don't even fit together visually: it's more like an oversized beanstalk stuck onto a box than anything else!

  3. Actually no, I hope to buy the flat with a mortgage, which I will pay for with my salary as a social worker.
    Why, do you have a problem with a 43 year old key worker hoping to buy a one bedroom flat after saving for years and years for the deposit?
    So sad. Why carry around so much bitterness and anger towards people just hoping to buy a decent place to live.
    Please keep your negativity to yourself.

    1. I doubt that social workers on an average salary are going to get a mortgage offer at these prices, even if they have saved the deposit. Neither would teachers, nurses, police and fire services. That is why Hackney has a policy of 50% to be "affordable" for key workers, but this development will have only 11%. How can the developer claim to be contributing to a "balanced and mixed community"? It's dishonest spin.

  4. I wonder if these anonymous positive comments are from the PR department of Jestico and Whiles..

    1. Almost certainly - that type of astroturfing is almost de rigeur on sites like this nowadays.

      It's an ugly ugly building which is simply ludicrously high for the area.

  5. Dalston is changing and for the better, get over it! Do you want us to go back to how it was on the 90's with filthy crime ridden streets? Slag off Dalston Square all you want but at least you can now walk down Dalston Lane after Dark without fear of getting mugged. And before anyone replies with more paranoid PR ramblings, yes I do live in Dalston Square. The reason I bought there 30 months ago was because it was the best I could afford. I paid £395 per sq foot, probably the cheapest in zone 2 at the time and I spent a long time looking. I was no stranger to Dalston having lived 'next door' in Islington for over 20 years.
    Dalston Square and developments like it house decent hard working people who go to work everyday to pay their rent or mortgage. They spend their money locally as well, despite what a few narrow minded idiots think. That is why the high street is changing from pound shop hell.
    It is intersting that most of the posts on this blog receive no comments, that is because nobody is much interested, they prefer the positive changes taking place in the area.
    If you dislike what Dalston has become, why not just move? Nobody is forcing you to live here, London is a big and ever changing place. But of course it is easy to just moan about how things used to be.
    I am sure this blog is well meaning, but unfortunately it now has zero credibility due to it's 100% negativity towards any new developments in the area. Try spending a couple of hours reading previous posts, it is grim depressing reading in a 'Daily Mail' kind of way.

    1. What's your point? Are you saying that developments like Dalston Square and the proposed Peacocks tower couldn't be better designed? So we shouldn't object? Is the 'cheap' housing you have bought in Dalston Square the best possible outcome for the area? Should we ignore the demolition of our historic buildings, and the £63million of public money spent on the Slab for just one bus? What about there being just 11% affordable housing on the Peacocks site, you're OK with that - dont worry, there are residents leaving Dalston, but it isn't from choice. As for your claim that this blog has 'zero credibility', I see it has had over 200,00 hits - why is that? Perhaps you shouldn't read this blog - switch to Barratt's & Criterion's press releases which would be more to your taste.

    2. Anon's comment is laughable. Dalston Square broke practically every one of Hackney's design protocols. The only design features which it's Head of Regeneration complimented at the time were never in fact implemented by Barratt. Anon may consider he represents the views of the silent majority but in fact the overwhelming number of people who actually take the time to comment to the planners (ie people who, like Anon, also work hard and pay their rent or mortgages) are opposed to the exploitation by overdevelopment of the area. Anon's arrogant tone is uncalled for.

  6. The original 'Kate' comment is clearly bullshit as is the fake persona of an earnest social worker struggling valiantly, etc. Witness the sudden angry change of tone and 'Kate' disapearance. Maybe the same hand?. Pathetic. Developers: screw an area, make a fortune and move onto the next.

  7. My point is that this blog does not like ANY of the buildings or changes going on in Dalston. There is nothing wrong with the buildings or design in Dalston Square. This is inner London, a million more people live here than 10 years ago, where do you expect everyone to live? We have to build up.
    Yes this site has has 200.00 hits but people will read any crap on the internet we all know that. How many people have bothered to comment on the posts? The same few paranoid angry people everytime.
    Dalston and Hackney has enough council estates and affordable housing. It is the private developments that have brought with them better shops and high streets.
    If you want to go back living in a crappy area then move to one. The vast majority of people in Dalston are happy about these fantastic changes taking place.
    And please don't reply with stupid posts about me working for the developers. Really, grow up!

    1. Of course people need homes and, like it or not, Dalston has long been marked down as an area for major residential development. But why do developers always apply to overdevelop sites? Is it greed? Is it because they know Hackney's planners are afraid of appeals? Why don't developers make proposals which are within planning guidelines and do more to respond, and mitigate damage, to local character and which meet local needs? Community scrutiny and opposition to these major schemes have resulted in some modest improvements and so should be supported, not condemned with the hostility you show. As a newcomer you also don't seem to be aware that Dalston's revival, with the steady growth in independent (particularly creative) businesses and its 'cool' factor, was well underway before Dalston Square was built. It's been a long incremental process and developers have followed in that wake, rather than the reverse, because people (like you) now want to buy into the area. As for the past and in places continuing dereliction eg Dalston Lane terraces, it is also worth noting that it is public bodies which own those sites and it was their indifference which allowed decay to the point of destruction. This blog has relentlessly, and quite rightly, criticised them for blighting the area and has demanded improvements. Your comments echo Jules Pipe's smear against Michael Rosen and other local campaigners who he described as the "keep Hackney crap brigage". The Mayor may have thought Hackney was crap but that is no reason to try to demonise those who suggest alternatives to the public authorities' "top down" solutions.

    2. Just for the record, this blog had had 223,421 hits annd 441 comments to date.

  8. I have to agree that in terms of its nuanced look at society this site is nothing better than the Daily Mail. Every time it becomes clear that you don't want debate, instead you create a hostile and polarised picture and allow people to spread unjust rumours about people posting on this page. Very disappointing for an organisation who in principle I completely support.

    1. OPEN Dalston has undertaken very extensive consultation with the local community over the years. We involve local people by arranging public meetings, pre-application meetings with developers and we assist with making representations to the Council in writing and at its meetings.
      In our postings about local developments we highlight the key issues which we have learned are of local concern eg height, design, affordability, environmental impact, level of consultation etc. We also provide links to the developers' planning application documents and the Council's committee papers and comment pages so that people are better informed, involved and can make up their own minds.
      We don't censor but publish virtually all comments made on the blog, including hostile comments, and if you view the 440 odd comments over the years you will see the blog has engendered extensive debate by people of very different views.

      (I don't read the Daily Mail but, if that's what it does too, then maybe I should. Ed.)

    2. "Every time it becomes clear that you don't want debate, instead you create a hostile and polarised picture and allow people to spread unjust rumours about people posting on this page." I agree.
      I've tried numerous times to get this pseudo "community" or "environment" group to address the key issues and all I (eventually) got from its founder Bill Parry-Davies was a dismissive note suggesting I take a one-way trip to New York!
      OPENDalston doesn't inform the community of the issues but rather attempts to instruct them what to think.

    3. Benjamin - whatever debate you may or may not have had on other blogs you have, in your alternate persona as 'Hackney Urban Design Dialogue', been provided with a platform for your views on this blog - see . We have published many commentators expressing strong views about the benefits and detriments of tall buildings in Dalston (which seems to be your main concern). We hope the debate will continue, even if universal agreement is not reached.


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