Thursday, 16 March 2017

Why is Hackney misleading the public about Eastern Curve Garden?

When Hackney launched its public consultation proposals on 25 February, for development of Dalston's "Cultural Quarter",  there was immediate public outcry. Our much loved public Garden is included within development site 3 (Ashwin Street east) for "regeneration". An SOS was issued -" The Garden is at risk and we need your help!" - and local people are coming in huge numbers to see what they could do to help.


The Garden was included by the Council in development site 3 from the outset. Hackney's Regeneration Czar Councillor Nicholson explained this was because "the next stage is...engagement with the local community to explore initial options.....the inclusion and consideration of the future of the Garden...as part of the potential options for delivery of the Quarter, is important to explore and confirm how the Garden may be treated going forward"


So the Garden is included in site 3 for "consideration of the future". But on 1st March Hackney's Press Office issued a statement that "The Garden isn't included in the consultation" and when people attended CLR James Library, to comment on the plans, they were informed that the Garden "was not part of the consultation".  In other words, Hackney is not interested in hearing the community's views on "how the Garden may be treated going forward" - only about how site 3 could be developed regardless of compromising the Garden's future.


But that's not the only example of Council misrepresentation. Fronting 10-16 Ashwin Street is a fine Victorian terrace built as houses of quality” designed by the noted architect Edwin Horne in 1870, who also designed the Reeves Artist's Colourworks (home to Arcola Theatre and Cafe Oto). Behind it is an 1870 factory built for Tyer & Co., who invented railway telegraph signalling. 



Hackney's independent heritage consultants, Allies and Morrison, describe the Ashwin Street group of buildings overall as of "MEDIUM" historic value and the rear factory as of “HIGH historic value”. But Hackney's consultation document states "the blocks to the rear are of LOWER historical value". This is totally misleading. This misdescription is likely to prejudice the public’s opinion as to the value of retaining the rear factory, and so strengthen the argument for demolition. ( How could Hackney have got it so wrong? Is facadism Hackney's real agenda here, or worse? Ed.)


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