A walk around the Dalston streets which Crossrail2 could demolish  

On 27 October TfL unveiled its proposals for a new £28Bn Crossrail2 tube line and announced that the public has until 8th January 2016 to comment on its plans.  The construction of the new underground route passes though Dalston and will involve demolitions to clear buildings, and possibly whole streets, for construction sites and for two new surface level station entrances. You can read TfL's publically available information on its Crossrail2 website including TfL’s map and plans for Dalston.   

TfL held public consultation events in Dalston on 13th and 14th November about its plans.  If you blinked and missed those, more consultation events are listed here including Shoreditch Park on 20 November (12 – 8pm) and  21 November (11 - 4pm). 

OPEN has gained further insight into the potential impact on Dalston by talking and walking the streets with OPEN Dalston members including an underground railway architect and experts on the local townscape. But, before we take you on our walk through Dalston's streets, here's a quick overview of TfL's published plans for Dalston.  After that, we'l look in detail at the buildings  and streets which are potentially at risk of demolition.

You can let TfL know your views by completing a questionnaire or sending an email to or writing to Freepost CROSSRAIL 2 CONSULTATIONS.

An overview of TfL's plans for Dalston 

You will see from TfL's Dalston map that it has outlined in red 5 sites which it will require possession of to complete the Crossrail2 works in Dalston. The sites are on each side of Kingsland Road, east and west, adjoining Dalston Kingsland station in the north and Dalston Junction station in the south.  These sites are either for temporary works or permanent redevelopment eg constructing ventilation shafts, entrances and escalators, a new bridge and building two new aboveground stations inter-changing with the existing Overground railway lines.  

Experience shows that TfL will want to maximise the cleared areas , to avoid any constraint on its future operations. It is expected that, afterwards, the cleared temporary sites will be offered for re-development. TfL hope that re-development profits and the Community Infrastructure Levy will contribute to the enormous cost of Crossrail2. There is a precedent, in Dalston Square, for overdevelopment to meet these costs.

This photo shows part of a Crossrail1 TBM being lowered into the shaft ready for excavation

To create the twin Dalston tube tunnels (northbound and southbound, coloured purple on the map) a mechanical mole, called a tunnel boring machine (TBM), will be lowered from ground level into a massive excavated hole extending some 25 metres deep underground.This video of the TBMs used on the Crossrail1 tube line indicates the scale. TfL advise that inserting the TBM into the underground operating area requires a cleared surface area of some 30 metres in diameter.

This TfL diagram shows the below ground structure of a typical station including the cylindrical station shafts which emerge aboveground, the tunnels with platforms, the escalators and the lift shafts. Even if the TBMs do not require surface level operations in Dalston, the other station works will result in extensive surface level demolitions to accommodate them.

(We need to persuade TfL to use the latest engineering techniques of combining ventilation and escalator shafts, and using diagonal lifts, which will help to target and reduce the extent of  the surface demolitions required. Ed.)

Not only does the waste from the station shafts have to be "mucked away", but so does the waste from the excavation of the tunnels and the 250 yard underground platforms which will link between Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland. Some waste can probably be removed underground rather than brought to the surface. The Crossrail2 operations may take 5-7 years, so we can expect very high levels of road closures and congestion which will vary over a long period.  

The approximate site of the station shafts and the new surface level stations (marked red triangle) on the map at sites B and E, and site D is for a bridge from the Dalston Kingsland Ticket Hall to the west bound overground platform. These sites will require extensive demolition and clearance to build the station entrances linked to the existing overground stations, leaving any leftover land for later redevelopment . 

The proposed new Dalston Conservation Area

At the same time that TfL are consulting on Dalston's buildings and streets potentially required for demolition ( TfL say the plans are only indicative at this stage. Ed.), Hackney is planning to designate a new Dalston Conservation Area (DCA), and it has appraised some of the buildings within it as of "townscape merit" - namely, of particular importance to the character of the area and so most worthy of protection from redevelopment. Most of TfL's sites for potential demolition fall within either the proposed new Dalston Conservation Areas or De Beauvoir CA or Kingsland CA and so any grant of planning permission for redevelopment will  involve balancing the public interest against the need to preserve and enhance the conservation areas and the setting of its buildings.

(Hackney should insist upon -  as the City of London does - an advanced masterplan for all the affected sites and that any planning permission for demolition can not commence without planning permission also being granted for what will replace it . Ed.)

A walk around the southern (Dalston Junction) site A identified by TfL for possible demolition and later redevelopment 

The buildings within Site A having frontages on Kingsland Road (west side) are considered of townscape merit and all are proposed for inclusion in the new Dalston Conservation Area . However all the streets and buildings within site A are also potentially at risk of total demolition by TfL and, after its' operations, redevelopment. 

The terrace fronting Kingsland Road, extending north from the junction with Tottenham Road to Bentley Road, include six properties, Nos.507-517, built in about 1860.

Nos 519-523, currently Subway and Tesco, were built in about 1945 and various planning applications have been granted for extensions including roof additions. The pub on the corner at No. 525 is dated about 1860 and now has a fourth floor modern addition. It is likely that TfL will want to site a Crossrail2 station entrance somewhere within these frontages

These buildings in Bentley Road ( south side) define the northern boundary of TfL's Site A.They are mainly of mixed historic character, well maintained and on a human scale. Although many of these former light-industrial buildings buildings have been altered, they still retain a sense of history and group value and the scale and rhythm of the original early 19th century development.

The smaller buildings  at 1,1A & 1B Bentley Road ( south side) are within the proposed Dalston Conservation Area but have not been identified as of townscape merit and so are at greater risk from TfL's plans. TfL have identified this area for construction of a station shaft - a massive structure with a large footprint – which may pay no respect to its surroundings, even if clad in a way to try and disguise it, and so may blight its neighbours.  A vent shaft here will inevitable involve substantial demolition in a tight urban area, which could result in a featureless void and make a negative contribution to the surrounding area . 
(There's a lot that could be done, as OPEN has previously proposed, to mitigate the scars of necessary railway intervention - if TfL are open to ideas. Ed.)

TfL's Site A works around this modern, predominantly residential, block at 5-47 Bentley Road (western corner). It is to be spared because TfL is more sensitive to demolishing large residential buildings. 
( We hope TfL can be persuaded to work around our historic character buildings too. Ed.)

The western boundary of  Site A takes in Hackney's Bentley Road public car park, which will be TfLs main area for for Dalston's Crossrail2 construction operations. The car park and Job Centre building ( below) fall within the neighbouring De Beauvoir Conservation Area boundary

Looking east to Kingsland Road along Tottenham Road which defines the southern boundary of TfLs Site A. This "designed for anywhere" UKGov Playle House Job Centre is within De Beauvoir Conservation Area, it occupies a large footprint but is not recognised as of township merit
(Hmmm..there's an underused executive car park within its land which looks worth considering for the station shaft. Ed.)

The view along Tottenham Road east to Kingsland Road is framed on the north (left) side by the warehouse building, Enver House at 2-4 Tottenham Road, and a development of modern flats on the south (right) side. 

On the north side, off Tottenham Road, is the interesting Enver House and Nimrod Passage which are within the proposed Dalston Conservation Area but neither are identified as of townscape merit and the buildings are therefore at greater risk by TfLs plans.

...and a view of the Georgian houses at Nos. 568-544, fronting the east side of Kingsland Road. They are just south of Site E and so not presently at risk from TfLs plans.They are within the Kingsland Conservation Area.

A walk around the southern (Dalston Junction) Site E identified by TfL for possible demolition and redevelopment 

TfL's Site E includes The Slab above the Dalston Junction railway cutting, Within this site is Dalston's £63million Olympic bus stop and, in addition, the north/south bus road (used only by the 488 bus route) and the Overground station entrances.
Although Crossrail2 did identify some land in Dalston as 'safeguarded' when the Overground and Dalston Square were being planned, no thought was apparently given at the time to safeguarding a new Crossrail2 tube entrance as part of the development. The underground piling to support The Slab now potentially constrains TfL's available options now.

Site E extends west from the station entrance to include the houses fronting Kingsland Road (east side). This photo shows the rear of those houses with gardens backing onto the Overground station. The land and buildings are identified for the new Crossrail2 underground station.

...and this shows the frontages of those buildings at 574 to 586 Kingsland Road. Although they are also proposed for inclusion in the new Dalston Conservation Area, and are identified as buildings of townscape merit, they face demolition by TfL . Some of the houses in the terrace further north are nationally listed .

Now, having walked TfL Sites A and E , we head up north, passing the Dalston Lane/Balls Pond Road junction (As it used to be in about 1900. Ed.) towards Kingsland High Street and Sites B, C and D. 

The northern (Dalston Kingsland) sites B, C and D

Much of these TfL sites are also within the proposed Dalston Conservation Area and many of the buildings have been appraised as of "townscape merit". We will describe the buildings on these sites with reference to a leaked report by Edmund Bird for Design for Londonand the appraisal by Dr An Robey for the new Dalston Conservation Area 

Buildings identified by TfL for possible demolition on Site C (Kingsland High Street,  east side)

All of the buildings fronting Kingsland High Street (east side), extending back as far a Birkbeck Mews,  are identified as buildings of townscape merit within the proposed Dalston Conservation Area. They are all also identified by TfL for potential demolition. These buildings play a key role in the historic townscape of Dalston so their loss to the character and identity of the area would be considerable.

74 -76 Kingsland High Street (Nat West Bank) is an attractive and prominent Victorian building designed by Horace Cheston, RIBA, at the junction with Winchester Place. Of Italianate style it is both striking and distinguished.

The decorative date plate which reads ‘LCB 1891’ suggests that it was originally purpose-built as a bank for the London and County Banking Company.  It is presently ‘locally listed’ by Hackney Council  as a building to be preserved and enhanced. 

Next to the bank are Nos 68 -72 Kingsland High Street which frames the entrance to Ridley Road street market. These three mid - 19th Century properties are very attractive, retaining their fine London stock elevations and elegant window surrounds and a bold cornice at parapet level, No.68 turning into Ridley Road with a graceful recessed curved corner and a three bay return frontage. The roof is crowned by two substantial chimney stacks with pots extant.

This is a view of the backs of 68-76 Kingsland High Street as they face onto Ridley Road market

No 78 and 80 Kingsland High Street are a pair of mid 19th Century properties, No.78 retains its simple original stock brick façade whilst No.80 appears to have been re-fronted in about 1920s with prominent quoins, a red brick frontage and a central raised parapet added.

'Boots' shop at Nos 82-84 Kingsland High Street is a single storey structure built on the site of two former shops (Amhurst Laundry and Lloyd’s Milners) that were destroyed in the Blitz. 

The two buildings at Nos. 86-88 Kingsland High Street are now occupied by a branch of Santander and look of mid- 19th century origin, but the facade of No. 86 looks rebuilt, probably in the 1950s. 
Nos 90-116 Kingsland High Street ( partially painted white) is one of the longest terraces on Kingsland High Street. Over half of the once uniform stock brick elevations were rendered-over prior to the 1980s with replacement windows and shopfronts, although the continuous cornice is intact. Several in that terrace are earmarked for potential clearance.

Winchester Place extends back from Kingsland High Street, on the north side of the Nat West bank building, linking the High Street to Ridley Road market and Colvestone Crescent to the east. In the picture Birkbeck Mews is on the right (north) and it marks the eastern boundary of the proposed Dalston Conservation Area.

Light industrial buildings at 1-2 Colvestone Crescent. Clearly not all the buildings within TfLs Site C have equal historic or achitectural value and so sufficient space for TfLs operations could be found whilst protecting Dalston's character buildings within the area.

TfL have identified everything both sides of Winchester Place, extending to the High Street frontage buildings, for potential demolition and later redevelopment. Crossrail2 proposals would obliterate the historic street pattern. Winchester Place could completely disappear due to the construction of a station shaft - a massive structure with a large footprint – which will pay no respect to its surroundings.  A vent shaft here will inevitable involve substantial demolition in a tight urban area and could result in a featureless void which will make a negative contribution to the surrounding area. Part of this Site C is also for a proposed entrance and escalator to the Crossrail2 underground platforms. The area backs right onto Grade I I listed Colvestone Primary School. 

(As pointed out for Site A and, as we previously proposed, there's a lot that could be done to mitigate the scars of necessary railway intervention - if TfL are open to ideas. Ed.)

Buildings identified by TfL for demolition on Site B (Kingsland High street, west side)

Site B takes in everything on the Kingsland High Street (west side) between the station and the corner of Bradbury Street and everything along the south side of Bradbury Street, extending all the way back to the overground railway embankment, and the houses on Bolyen Road. All of the frontage buildings included are identified as buildings of townscape merit within the proposed Dalston Conservation Area. They are also all identified by TfL for potential demolition.These buildings play a key role in the historic townscape of Dalston so their loss to the  character and identity of the area would be considerable.

The Dalston Kingsland station is not the most attractive example of 1980s architecture having a cheap corrugated metal roof akin to a light industrial park unit. It is severely congested at peak times, lacks disabled access and is under-scaled compared with the general three to four storey building height along the High Street

The recently vacated Railway Tavern at 59 Kingsland High Street, next to the station, has elevations of attractive red-brick with distinctive streamlined moderne style brick banding at third floor level on the façade, canted corner and on its south elevation .  It is adorned with traditional signage . The building dates from c1935 and it has a pleasing art deco style ground floor frontage 

Nos. 61-69 Kingsland High Street is a three storey terrace dating from the mid 19th Century comprising shops with flats/offices over, which stands north of the Railway Tavern. The terrace has an elegant rounded corner framing the junction with the narrow lane of Bradbury Street. 

Overall, the buildings on this stretch of the Kingsland High Street are of group value and contribute to the historic character of the area.

Buildings identified by TfL for possible demolition on Site B - Bradbury Street ( south side) and Boleyn Road

This gateway, near the south east end of Bradbury Street, is the entrance to a site housing a small community overlooking the Dalston Kingsland railway embankment. None of the buildings within it are identified as of townscape merit in the appraisal for the proposed Dalston Conservation Area, however they do include this interesting converted industrial warehouse and, concealed from view, a terrace of modern houses (see below).The loss of the warehouse/workshop building would completely remove all trace of this element of Dalston’s history, including some interesting recent residential interventions. 

This is the terrace fronting the south side of Bradbury Street, looking west, which is earmarked by TfL for demolition. The buildings are three-storey, well maintained, on a human scale and, after earlier run-down years, are now fully occupied with independent businesses on the ground floor. This terrace of houses is identified as of townscape merit in the appraisal for the proposed Dalston Conservation Area.

This is the same Bradbury Street south terrace, looking back east, which is earmarked by TfL for clearance. The potential loss of these buildings will significantly detract from what is a high quality and improved area of attractive local townscape. The street has a high sense of enclosure and notable group value. To lose Bradbury street south side would have a very negative impact. 

Worthy of note are Nos. 48- 52 Boleyn Road on the corner of Bradbury Street, also identified by TfL for demolition, and  which have recently been refurbished. They are another example of community investment in the regeneration of the Bradbury Street area. These houses are identified as of townscape merit in the appraisal for the proposed Dalston Conservation Area.

Looking from the Boleyn Road railway bridge across the north side of the tracks we see the modern terrace of houses and, beyond, the converted warehouse referred to above. This terrace is behind the Bradbury Street south side frontages and are also identified by TfL for demolition. They overlook the Dalston Kingsland station eastbound embankment. None of these buildings are identified as of townscape merit in the appraisal for the proposed Dalston Conservation Area.

Site D  is planned for a new bridge to the westbound embankment of Dalston Kingsland station overground line

Behind the embankment is the site where Taylor Wimpey's 15-storey tower, called FiftySeven East, is under construction We do not presently know whether TfL's needs have been safeguarded on this site for the bridge or, indeed, why TfL did not consider purchasing the whole or part of this site for the new Crossrail2 station, instead of demolishing Bradbury Street south side.They were well aware of its sale for re-development, having had discussion with the former owner.

You can let TfL know your views by completing a questionnaire or sending an email to or writing to Freepost CROSSRAIL 2 CONSULTATIONS.

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