A Dalston resident has issued judicial review proceedings against Hackney's grant of planning permission for private flats which would severely overshadow Colvestone School's nursery playground. It is claimed that the decision amounts to an environmental injustice which will prejudice future generations of children as well as permanently damage the setting of the Grade II listed school building and the Conservation Area.
The legal challenge has won immediate support from local parents and residents who have created an on-line petition "Save Our Sunshine" which urges Hackney to enforce historic property covenants protecting sunlight to the school's land. You can help by signing the petition and, most of all, by going to the community's Crowdfunding appeal and contributing something to the cost of surveyors' evidence and barristers' and Court fees.
This view from Ridley Road market shows the development site and Grade II Listed Colvestone School. The school nursery's open space is between the site and the school and currently receives adequate sunlight. The three storey block, with a ground floor café and flats, could be built right on its southern boundary.
(Judith tells me that, at 9.55m, the wall is nearly three times the height of the Berlin Wall. Ed.)
The Nursery school playground is used throughout the day, year round, as a learning and play space for children up to 5 years old. The southern boundary will have a three storey blank wall looming over the playground blocking out the sunshine and the sky.
The legal challenge has been issued following a study by independent sunlighting consultants, Anstey Horne, who commented that there would be "an increase of three to four times the existing levels of overshadowing" and that " we cannot agree with the report's conclusion that the increase in shadowing will be modest and that the area will continue to receive plenty of sunlight."
After the loss of sunshine, the playground will be less pleasant, more gloomy and cold but also "more persistent overshadowing may prevent frost, ice and snow from thawing and increase the growth of moss, slime etc potentially making it more slippery."
The court claim has been served on Hackney, and on the developer Zoe Chan at her Bayswater address. Hackney is expected to serve an acknowledgement of the claim shortly. In the meantime Hackney, Ms Chan and others have commented on the allegations in the Hackney Citizen.
Children already at the school, and those looking forward to joining the nursery class, were not consulted about the development in advance. However news of the development has been greeted with disbelief, not only by parents, but by many younger residents as well.
(The Colvestone School dispute is one of a number of recent controversial schemes involving pressure on Hackney's education land and the interests of private residential investors. Ed)