Thursday 20 February 2014

Eastern Curve community garden under threat - but public must remain silent (again).

"The Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP) has no policy protection for the (Eastern Curve )Garden" Council officers will advise Hackney's  Planning Committee, at its "special" meeting  next Tuesday at 6:30pm in Stoke Newington Town Hall. Plans for a major re-development of the Kingsland shopping centre will be presented to the Committee by representatives of the site's owner, Criterion. It is a public meeting, which you can attend, but you are banned from speaking. 

Hackney's DAAP vision is for the Eastern Curve Garden to be a "shopping circuit" with some planting

Criterion's plan is to build 445 flats in tall blocks on top of shops, and underground parking, in 4 Phases over the next 6 years. Phase 1 starts with the Eastern Curve. Although Hackney own the entrance and southern end of the garden, and Criterion own the rest of it, the future of the garden is left deliberately vague in the plans.  

The Eastern Curve garden is Dalston's only bit of community managed public green space. It's a haven for our kids as well as plants and wild life.

Hackney have refused to make any formal agreement for its use as a community garden and have always described it as temporary.

Some of us have received an email from the Council inviting us to attend the meeting. 
"The Council’s Planning Service encourages community involvement in the planning process at an early stage...." it says, and goes on to say " The public will not be able to actively participate in the proceedings on this occasion by addressing the Planning Sub Committee." ie we can attend but can't speak as we listen to our futures being discussed! Sounds familiar? 

The Eastern Curve Garden is not the only community amenity under threat - there is no sign of the playground for older children in the new shopping centre plans either, despite the promises in the DAAP .

Even at this short notice ( we've only just learned about it) we urge everyone one who is free to attend the meeting in Stokey Town Hall on Tuesday evening. Even if we are banned from speaking at this public meeting we can make our presence and concern very clear to Hackney and the developer. 

Would Hackney's Mayor Jules Pipe feel he'd been stiched up and silenced if he was refused the right to speak at a public meeting


  1. Since when has this committee held meetings in Stoke Newington town hall, rather than Mare Street?
    And how, if there's any choice of venue for this meeting, can Stoke Newington possibly be regarded as more appropriate? Surely the right place to hold it is in Dalston?
    Or are the developers and planning officers trying to keep local people away from their cosy get-together?

  2. But Criterion gave permission for their land to be used as a community garden on the understanding that it was temporary. Everyone has always understood that.

    1. That is true. Criterion had no use for its strip of land and it provides no through route from Kingsland Shopping Centre site to Dalston Lane without agreement from Hackney which owns the entrance and southern land. Hackney could negotiate to acquire Criterion's strip, as part of a section 106/CIL 'plannning gain' agreement, and retian the lot as a community garden. It just requires political will. Is Hackney's bleating about how much they like the Garden genuine or more vacuous platitudes? What does Dalston need more - a community garden or a shopping circuit?

    2. Going by numbers of Hackney residents who use them, I'd say a shopping circuit. There is no way the garden will remain as is since it is sited in key path between Junction station and new shopping/residential area. The people who actually run the garden have always understood that.

    3. There are a variety of potential routes from Dalston Lane to the Kingsland Shopping Centre, provided Hackney can co-ordinate the various developers feasting on the available sites. If Criterion were clever they could the design land use to create a self-contained Eastern Curve Garden AND get Hackney to agree to have a through route - but I suspect they're too greedy, and too busy elsewhere with their other schemes, to fund such design.

  3. Everyone should turn up and quietly hold placards aloft...the length and width of the room...

  4. I went to Stokey Town Hall to hear the charade. This scheme looks more like a cynical developer hype so it can flog the scheme on with planning permission, the Planning Committee whilstling in the wind for "gold plated" guarrantee that it will progress and a small time architect schmoozing the politicians who probably hasn't even been paid. The only thing guaranteed is that turning the Eastern Curve Garden into 24/7 thoroughfare will kill it.

  5. Shame those people who couldnt care much for the Dalston Curve Garden, and would get far more utility from a properly joined up shopping area, will never be able to manage their interests like the Middle Classes can. Well, that's gentrification for you.

  6. Shame some people think only ‘the Middle Classes’ should have the right to enjoy green spaces. They probably think ‘the working class’ are only interested in shopping too. Well, that's patronising for you.

  7. No-one's suggesting that the working classes shouldnt have a right to green spaces. In fact, they use proper green spaces like hackney Downs a lot. Id imagine that most would consider the twee little Eastern Curve Garden to be fairly low on their priorities, though, especially when total opposition to even having a modest footpath going through it promises to scupper the much needed redevelopment of Dalston. If you love green spaces so much, move somewhere where there's lots of green space - like back to the Home Counties.


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