Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Is Hackney Council selling our school childrens' sunlight to developers?

Evidence has been revealed that land next to Colvestone Primary School, which Hackney sold and is now owned by developers Chan and Eayrs, is subject to a restrictive covenant safeguarding "the right to uninterrupted and unheeded access of light and air" over the school's land. The covenant would have been known to the developers when they purchased the land.

Looking south from Colvestone School nursery's outdoor learning/playground space, for 60 kids under 6, as it is today.  There will be a three story blank wall, on its southern boundary, to replace the sunshine and the open aspect

Last Wednesday Council  officers recommended, and Hackney granted planning permission, for a three storey development on the school's southern boundary. It will deprive the nursery school's outdoor learning area/playground of most of its sunlight.

After the approved development this will be the view south from Colvestone School Nursery's outdoor learning/playground space 

"We believe that simple things like the natural light that fills a space and awakens your spirits...enriches life in a way that is priceless"  from Chan and Eayrs [the developers] website, But at the planning meeting the developers claimed that only an annual average of 2 hours per day of direct sunlight over half of the school childrens' outdoor space was sufficient. Planning permission was given using the Committee Chair's casting vote.

A request has been made to the Council to say whether it will protect the school's sunlight by using the restrictive covenant to stop the planned development.

It is unusual for a developer to invest large sums in a planning application for a development which can't be built, however restrictive covenants safeguarding sunlight can be removed by agreement between the landowners.

Is Hackney selling our school children's sunlight to the developers? (...or has it already done so? Ed.)

Chan and Eayrs [the developers] who have announced that their 'Herringbone House' Jude Street E8 development, marketed for £2.25million ( 4 bed/3 baths and sprinklings of antiquities), has been sold.


  1. Dear Ed,

    It also appears that our couple, who were introduced as local residents actual address is New Cross. Amazingly enough coincides with another of their denying natural sunlight developments. Previously they appear to be residing in Notting Hill, with another development proposal.

    Obviously they are not doing this to manipulate officers and Councillors.

  2. Can the school governors not go to court to enforce the covenant?

  3. A local health professionalThursday, 10 September, 2015

    Vitamin D, produced through sunlight on skin, is commonly deficient. Deficiency can lead to bone disease but is also increasingly linked to asthma and infectious illnesses. Many in Hackney’s population are likely have risk factors for deficiency and also have less access to outdoor space and, therefore, sun exposure. Chan and Eayrs (C&E) description of natural light as a “simple thing” feels belittling. Natural light is not merely a pleasant phenomenon that “fills space and awakens your spirits”, but a necessity for psychological and physiological health. I imagine C&E get a good quota of sunshine and are unlikely to be, as our local children are, more dependent on a small patch of playground in which to be outside in it; especially during the prime vitamin D producing hours of 11am to 3pm that fall within the standard school day. The school should not be deprived of its sunlight.

    1. Hackney's census shows that 76% of its residents live in flats, compared to 45% in London, and are generally without direct access to private open or green space. Dalston is severely deficient in public open space and is one of the most deprived wards in one of the most deprived boroughs in London. Colvestone School's pupil intake reflects this demographic and already has children with recognised Vitamin D deficiency. Shouldn't the Council consider the health and well being of its school pupils when making decision affecting them?


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