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Sunday, 23 August 2020

"Ridley Road. Here to stay! Luxury flats. No Way!"

An appreciative gathering of local people attended the first public screening last Thursday of the new film "Ridley Road 2020 - a market under threat" . The film was projected outdoors onto the Shopping Village building which features in the film and is the subject of a controversial redevelopment application which has attracted hundreds of objections from the local community due to the loss of affordable space for up to 40 small independent shops, the loss of studios of 60 artists and the loss of 50% of storage for market stallholders. 

The screening was not-for-profit community event taking place on public space with advice to people attending, consistent with government guidelines, about avoiding pandemic risks. Although the Council had confirmed that no licence was required to show the film its Events Office,  which was said to be closed and unable to deal with any applications for advice or support, informed us  that "colleagues are increasingly concerned that you intend to go ahead and they would require confirmation that event will not be taking place at Ridley Road in the current circumstances." No grounds for seeking to ban the event were given and so we could see no basis for cancellation.


The event was also the occasion for the #SaveRidleyRoad team to launch its new manifesto for the market. Many attending the filmshow signed up in support.
 

Not to worry if you missed the screening. Watch this space, and check #SaveRidleyRoad on social media, because we are planning more screenings - indoor and outdoor - and we hope to see you there

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Outdoor screening of "Ridley Road 2020 - a street market under threat"

There will be outdoor screenings of the new film  "Ridley Road 2020 - a street market under threat" on Thursday 20 August at the Ridley Road Shopping Village.The 30 minute film will be screened continuously from 8.30pm until 11pm, weather permitting. It's free,  just turn up, bring your mask, and meet some of the local people who have been involved with the #SaveRidleyRoad campaign.


Here's a 60 second trailer of "Ridley Road2020- a street market under threat"

The film features market traders, their Association, small business owners and artists who work in the Shopping Village which is slated for redevelopment. It even includes an interview with the Mayor of Hackney.  The film tells a local story but with a universal message. - how regeneration, development and bureaucracy can damage the local economy, diversity and culture.  

It you haven't been following the recent history of the threats to our street market you can read the backstory by following the links in these two posts from earlier this year - here  Latest plans for Ridley Road Shopping Village development and here  Hackney Council is "strangling the market with red tape"

 


Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Dig deep Dalston! Help our Curve Garden reopen


Photo: Hollyhocks and Stik Sandra Keating for Dalston Curve Garden.

Dear friends of Dalston Curve Garden
Many thanks to all of you who have donated and supported our Crowdfunder to help reopen the Curve Garden. Together you have helped raise almost £70,000, since we launched the campaign on 2 July.


We have been bowled over by your generosity and the love you have shown for the Garden, not just through your donations, but in your creative offers of help, your sharing of our campaign among your networks and your many kind words of support and encouragement. It has really lifted our spirits!
The money that you have helped us raise so far, has enabled us to make good progress on the remodeling of the entrance area, paying for workers, materials and fittings. 


Our team of staff and volunteers, supported by contractors, have been making massive efforts to keep moving everything forward. We would dearly love to be able to reopen the Garden as soon as possible in August.
To do that and to be confident that once opened, we can ensure that the Garden can stay open for the rest of this year and beyond, we still urgently need to reach our Crowdfunder target of £100,000. You can help make this happen by making a donation here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-dalston-curve-garden



We understand how tough things can be for many people in these times of uncertainty, but rest assured that every donation, no matter how small, will help push forward the reopening of the Garden and then help ensure that we are able to stay open. You can also help by continuing to share our campaign among your networks. It does make a difference.



The Garden urgently needs to reach our £100,000 target in order to:
• Pay for extensive building works in our entrance area, so visitors can safely adhere to social distancing guidelines.
• Cover the impact of to the Garden's operation of the loss of 60% of our annual income, caused by having to close the Garden and our cafe, during our busiest season.
• Survive the year ahead with far less income, because of the requirement to limitt visitor numbers.

If everyone who has ever enjoyed spending time in the Garden, whether enjoying a pizza on a sunny evening, carving a pumpkin for our annual Lantern Festival, listening to live music, taking part in a free workshop or simply stepping away from the busy streets of Dalston to relax among the trees and flowers, donates a little towards our Crowdfunder, we will reach our target.
We look forward to being able to welcome you back here again soon!

With love and gratitude
from Marie and  Brian and all at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Marie and Brian with the BBC Gardeners Question Time crew  

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Artists express fears over loss of Ridley Road's cultural heritage

Despite the lockdown, Ridley Road Market is still trading in essential affordable products. The stalls are widely space, packed out with delicious vitamin rich fresh produce plus you can get a free Vitamin D boost by shopping in the spring sunshine!


Meanwhile Hackney Council planners' decision on the application for redevelopment of the Ridley Road Shopping Village is getting closer. The Council's planning case officer recently commented "It may be on the next sub-committee agenda, so keep an eye out" . The next Committee meeting is on 13th May 




  
Although we have all been in lockdown, campaigners have continued with virtual Zoom meetings and working behind the scene to produce these two short films in which artists based in the Shopping Village talk about their work and the impact which redevelopment could have on Ridley Road and its cultural heritage.




We are saddened to report the passing of Douglas Sparks following coronavirus infection. Douglas was a member of the #SaveRidleyRoad campaign and a musician performing as U K Principal. When the restrictions are lifted we will share memories of those we have lost during the current pandemic.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Hackney reveals nine key Dalston "opportunity sites" with development potential

Hackney has revealed nine key development sites in Dalston with potential for development in the forseeable future.They are  described as "opportunity sites". They appear on this map. Hackney is now consulting the public on its objectives which will shape their future development . 



The "opportunity sites" identified include some which have already been or remain in contention like Ridley Road and the  Ashwin Street "cultural quarter" (including the Eastern Curve Garden) and Gillette Square. Others include Birkbeck Mews where plans are now on hold; Kingsland Shopping Centre which  would be developed for flats, shops and as an underground station if Crossrail2 goes ahead; Kingsland overground station and the former CLR James library 




Hackney has released a summary and a detailed report on the community's views over a wide range of local issues - it has reviewed over 2,000 on-line comments made on its Dalston Conversation website. Hackney have now proposed some development objectives and it is seeking further public comments on those objectives which it says will inform its policies for the 15-year Dalston Plan.


This is a screen shot of Hackney's Dalston Conversation on-line comments map. Hackney reports that, including public meetings,  5,000 people took part in the consultation and over 2,000 people pinned comments to the online map 

10 issues have been identified to focus the public's views on Hackney's local development objectives . They ask us to comment on issues including green and open space, shopping and town centre, Ridley Road, transport and movement, buildings, work space and employment, housing, culture, evening and night time economy, inclusive and safe environment. You can make your comments either on-line here or by attending Hackney's events at CLR James Library on  Tuesday/Wednesday  11/12th February at 4pm – 8pm and at Eastern Curve Garden on Saturday 15 February, 12am – 3pm.



If you go on-line here to comment you will see the 10 issues boxes. When you click on one you can read what the community has previously said, what Hackney's borough wide Local Plan 2030 policy states, and you are then asked to indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with Hackney's development objectives. There is also very important space at the end of each to make general comments about omissions and reasons for disagreement.


When the 57 East tower was approved there was a policy for 50% affordable housing but only 15%  resulted and none for social renting.

You may find many of the "Objectives" seem positive, but consider them carefully. We have had positive planning policies before but these often seem to have been ignored when permission was granted. Can the objectives be tightened up? Based on your knowledge and experience of the area, is their wording strong enough to protect what we love locally and do they go far enough towards meeting the diverse needs of the whole community. Will there be something left in Dalston for everyone?

There was a  policy to preserve our local heritage but permission was granted to redevelop Hackney's Dalston Lane Georgian terraces with a scheme which resulted in their total demolition with no affordable housing at all



There was a policy to protect public space but buildings have been allowed which plunge public spaces, like the entire Eastern Curve walkway and our community garden, into shadow .

In terms of the objectives proposed, for example, one of the green space objectives is "to protect the Eastern Curve Garden" but the words "as an enclosed managed space" have been omitted. Without enclosure the open space could still become a public thoroughfare and lose its sense of intimacy, its secure environment for children and its financial sustainability. 



Another example : what would happen to the traders and artists who will face eviction by the Ridley Road Shopping Village office/residential redevelopment ? The objectives refer generally to "protecting and promoting" Dalston's market traders and Dalston's arts and culture - but they don't require that workspace of the type which would be lost in that redevelopment must be retained or replaced. How would that redevelopment sit with Hackney's decision that the local benefit of the existing uses make the site an asset of community value?



We encourage everyone who is invested in Dalston's future to spend some time considering the Council's plans and, using your own knowledge and experience of the area, suggest improvements to their development objectives.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Latest plans for Ridley Road Shopping Village development

Larochette, the owner based in the Virgin Islands tax haven, has submitted amended plans for the redevelopment of the Ridley Road Shopping Village.  The new plans will involve a substantial loss of space presently used for market storage and by numerous small independent traders and artists. Hackney recently decided the existing uses made the site an "asset of community value".


The present mix of uses comprises basement market storage, a ground floor indoor market for up to 60  small businesses, open amenity space on the forecourt and 2 upper floors of studios used by 60 artists. Since the original development plans dated April 2018 the site has been contested space and attracted controversy.


You can see the developers latest planning application documents dated 27.11.19 here.  You can comment and object on-line  until 16.02.20 or later by email to planning@hackney.gov.uk quoting the reference number 2017/2897. You can see OPEN Dalston's detailed description of the development, its impact and objections here.


The planning application was amended on 27 November and would, in summary, now involve:
- the loss of 39 of the 60 units for small independent traders, with space lost being used to service the proposed offices and flats
- the loss of 50% of the basement's market storage, with the remainder to be offices
- conversion of the 2 upper floors to "high standard" offices with only 10% to be affordable at 80% of market rate ( The artists probably wont be able to afford what's "affordable"! Ed.)
- a new 3rd storey for 1x2-bed and 4x3-bed "very high standard" flats.
- landscaping of the forecourt's open space
These changes will result in a substantial  reduction of the existing uses which Hackney Council found contribute to the "social well being of the community" when it concluded that the building is "an asset of community value".


To protect the existing uses, and even if you objected to the earlier plans, please make objections to the Council planners. If you are in the market please sign the petition which many traders are promoting to support the #SaveRidleyRoad campaign.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Hackney Council is "strangling the market with red tape"

The Ridley Road Market Traders Association has sent in objections to Hackney's plans to increase market fees and charges and to impose draconian licensing conditions on its traders by 1st April.


Hackney's 280 conditions have been described as a licence for slavery. The Association commented that "Our overall view is that, far from helping the market, the existing and new conditions are strangling it with red tape" and that "the imposition of these requirements make many traders businesses unviable".


The Association described the Council's consultation as a "deeply flawed process" and its proposed licensing conditions as "oppressive and disproportionate" which could lead to "a loss of respect for and ridicule of the regulatory process, and expose both [Council] officers and traders to allegations of abuse and to actual abuse"


The Council did not consult the Association on its plans and refused to extend its consultation period. However Councillor Nicholson informed the Association that "officers would consider its views". Traders voted overwhelming to reject the Council's plans at a meeting last Thursday, organised by the Association, and now await the outcome of  their objections.