The 4 storey-plus frontage block and 15-storey tower, on the Peacocks site next to Dalston Kingsland station, was reduced from a 19 storey tower during the recent public consultation.
The development will have 98 privately owned flats, of which only 15 will be for "affordable sale". The developer claimed that its exclusive development "contributes to and enables a balanced and mixed community in the area". However, in reply to Committee member's questions, the Council's officers advised that the development had "not been designed" to have any flats for affordable rent and that there could only be 15 "affordable sale" flats in the scheme because it would not otherwise be financially viable for the developer. ( The developer is predicted to make £8-£10million profit from the scheme. Hackney's target is 50% affordable flats of which 70% should be for rent. Ed.)
One Committee member expressed concern about more "unaffordable affordable flats" following advice that to purchase one of the "affordable" flats would require a household income of £45K for a one-bed, £55K-£59K for a two-bed and £71K for a three-bed flat. ( More than half of Hackney residents have a household income of less than £30K. Ed.)
Islington Council described the designs as "inelegant". The development was last reviewed by the Council's independent Design Review Panel in February 2013 which commented that "overall the tower is not of sufficient design quality to form such a prominent landmark in this busy area of Hackney". The Committee declined to refer it back to the Panel and were advised that the reason the frontage block ( 4 storeys plus parapet plus roof terrace) is designed to overbear the High Street, and dominate its historic neighbours, is because the "design is modern". (Local planning policy provides that new developments must respect the scale and historic character of the High Street and adjacent conservation areas which are predominantly 3-4 storeys. Ed.).
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
The application has attracted controversy. The previous 18-storey application would have compromised development of the station and was thrown out unanimously by the Committee. The Chair of the Committee had subsequently agreed, following Croydon's example, to have a pre-application "extraordinary" meeting for the developer to present its new scheme to the Committee, at which the public were not allowed to speak. (Croydon was flattened in the 1960s and is about to be
Rothas's previous application, for a 6-18 storey scheme, was unanimously rejected by Hackney following OPEN's public campaign.
TfL has finally started discussion about a £1.2m upgrade to Dalston Kingsland station but commented that the £100K contribution offered by the developer is insufficient in comparison to the direct benefit which it would receive from the station upgrade.
The developer's agent informed the Committee that it should allow this scheme because it didn't appeal against the refusal of the previous scheme, which had 6 storeys fronting the High Street "to which it was entitled". The Planning Committee, whose Chair has recently expressed concerns about the cost and risks to the Council if developers appeal against refusal of planning permission, duly granted its consent to the development.
OPEN thanks all members of the Dalston community who wrote such thoughtful and well argued petition comments and letters to the Council objecting to this development. The Council's consent decision will now be reviewed by the GLA.