Friday, 21 November 2014

OPEN's judicial review battle is in the High Court on Monday 24th November.

On Monday 24th November a High Court Judge,The Honourable Mr Justice Collins, will decide whether Hackney granted planning permission lawfully, to its 'development partner' Murphy on 5th March, to demolish our 16 Georgian houses at 48-76 Dalston Lane.


On Sunday 23 November, the eve of the Court battle, OPEN has organised the "Fabulous Save Dalston Lane Fundraiser", hosted at Passing Clouds, when we will celebrate the 200 year history of the houses and our fight to save them. A stellar cast of  performers, including Dan Cruickshank, Iain Sinclair, Michael Rosen, Rucksack Cinema, the Dulce Tones and others, will be on hand to inspire and entertain you.Tickets will be £10 on the door from 7:30pm.

 The Story of Dalston Terrace 1807 -2014 (Video)

The Council has had a conservation-led policy to regenerate these houses since 2006, but just watch this video to see how total neglect over the years has brought them to their current perilous condition and cost our community £millions.


The argument in Court will focus on the history and whether Hackney properly considered whether the Murphy scheme, which involves demolishing all the houses and building phoney replicas without any affordable housing, was the best option. A Judge has already found that OPEN's case is at least arguable.


Hackney has had a long standing conservation policy for the houses. Its' officers, and independent experts, had advised that a scheme which did not involve total demolition was possible. But that all changed at the last minute. At the Committee meeting on 5th March Muphy's design team advised that, due to the condition of all of the houses, total demolition was necessary. Hackney had received advice from its own independent engineers, and evidence from the intenationally know Morton Partnership, that the buildings could be saved. Hackney's officers recommended demolition. In the face of powerful objections from the public, and national amenity societies, the Committee itself was equally divided. It's Chair used his casting vote for total demolition.


OPEN later wrote to Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe, asking him to meet the Spitalfields Trust which has offered a scheme to restore the houses and develop 24 affordable flats with a Housing Association. What scheme could be more for the public benefit? Regretably the Mayor has not acknowledged our letter and Council officers cancelled a meeting planned with the Spitalfields Trust to discuss its proposal.

Spitalfields Trust's Tim Whittaker has sketched  how the Georgian terrace could be faithfully restored (See Spitalfields Life)

OPEN has raised £0,000s to fight this case and we are grateful for the inspiration and support which has been provided by the Dalston community and by organisations like the Hackney Society, the Georgian Group, the East End Preservation Society, The Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Victorian Society, SAVE Britain's Heritage and many others.  However there is no certainty in the outcome of the Court case  - the Court's powers to intervene are very limited.


You can follow the campaign, and learn the outcome, on Facebook and on Twitter @savedalstonlane and @opendalston 


Whilst Hackney stood idly by and watched the decay we have tried our best, over many years, to defend these final fragments of Dalston's Georgian architectural heritage and to prevent their destruction. They deserve a better fate than this.

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