Wednesday, 3 September 2014

High Court to hear OPEN's challenge to demolition of Dalston's Georgian houses

On 3rd October the Planning Court is to decide whether OPEN should be granted a judicial review of Hackney Council's decisions to demolish sixteen Georgian houses in Dalston Lane. At OPENs recent Annual General Meeting members approved its Directors' decision to ask the Court to reconsider the case at a full Court hearing. It is expected that Hackney will attend the Court hearing and vigorously oppose the application.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so generously to pay for legal expenses to date - you have given us inspiration and hope! Some of you have donated £000s but it is the small sums that are really adding up!!

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata.

OPEN now has to raise a further £10,000 to fund the legal costs of a full Court hearing. We urge everybody to donate whatever they can to support the campaign.  Please give whatever you can afford to help defeat municipal vandalism and save some of Dalston's surviving fragments of Georgian heritage. You can donate by PayPal...

or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:

OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659

The decisions challenged are those of Hackney's Planning Committee to grant permission for total demolition of the houses and the Council's failure to refer the case back to its' Cabinet, which had originally only granted approval for a conservation scheme and not one for total demolition. You can read the background to this story here.

Hackney favours the developer, Murphy's, opinion that the bricks of the houses are of such poor and decayed quality that demolition is the only option, but Hackney's own independent expert engineers have commented that their analysis is flawed and the real problem is with the design of the scheme - which involves demolishing all the ground floor walls to create 'open plan' shops. The scheme was designed by Hackney's independent design consultants, whose services were later transferred to developer Murphy, and who advise that the scheme which they designed can not now be built.

OPEN has previously successfully challenged the Council for allowing Murphy to demolish the houses without any planning permission at all. It is hoped that if OPEN is successful in its current legal challenge Hackney will then give proper consideration to the offer by Spitalfields Trust to purchase and restore the houses and provide some affordable housing. Hackney's current scheme would provide no affordable housing at all.

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