Western Curve - OPEN Dalston's plannning objections


OPEN Dalston’s comments on TfL’s “Western Curve” Planning application 2013/1039 at 10-34 Kingsland High Street and the north west side of Ashwin Street (eastern site); and 25-33A Kingsland High Street and the south eastern corner of Boleyn Road

1     Design and departures from the “Planning and Design Guidance for the Dalston Western Curve” and the Dalston Area Action Plan.

 

This Guidance was adopted by the Council Cabinet on 26.10.09 to provide detailed planning and design guidance:

-        which was intended to be, and is, a “material consideration for planning applications” and

-       which would result in “development and public realm that will be of high quality and well integrated within the fabric of Dalston, will provide services and amenity that enhance the town centre and will provide housing”.

 

At the same meeting the Cabinet approved a contribution from the Council to TfL of £1.325m towards the cost of design and construction of ‘decks’ over the railway cuttings to facilitate enhanced construction of above ground development which previously comprised 1-2 storey buildings only.

 

The application departs from the objectives and detailed recommendation contained in the Guidance in the following respects and for these reasons the application should be refused:

 

1.1         The application does not meet the Guidance’s aspiration that “New and improved areas of green open space and/or public realm will be encouraged subject to appropriate design” and “public spaces, small and large, should be considered and designed to integrate with the existing fabric of the street and area..” The design provides no green open space and/or public realm and precludes the opportunity to consider “elements of green open space and or public realm surrounded by active frontages” on the southern site. OPEN Dalston engaged in public consultation regarding the Guidance but the applicant has ignored the local community’s desire for green open space in the site.

1.2         The application does not meet the Guidance’s aim that “The possible development envelope could incorporate building heights of a maximum of six storeys”. The building heights exceed the Guideline and is not, and cannot be, justified by the applicant.

1.3         The application does not meet the Guidance’s requirement  that the development “should demonstrate an exemplar standard of design ad sustainable construction”. The designs are bland and undistinguished. They overpower the attractive and notable buildings locally and render them as subservient. They are not designs which are worthy of replication as “exemplars”.

1.4         The application does not meet the Guidance’s aim  to “improve overall permeability and the pedestrian environment on Dalston town centre”. The designs preclude the opportunities which exist within and around the sites to meet these objectives

1.5         The application does not meet the Guidance requirement to properly consider the “impact on its immediate and wider context –Dalston Town centre and surrounding listed buildings” and “impact of overshadowing of taller elements on amenity space and neighbouring development”. The designs deprive locally listed and notable buildings of adequate natural light, namely the locally listed Reeves and Sons Printhouse in Ashwin Street and 51-57 Kingsland High Street (which includes  Grade II Listed Cookes) and renders the amenity space within the proposed development as 90% overshadowed.

1.6         The application does not meet the Guidance requirement of buildings “ranging between 3-6 storeys high. The maximum height considered appropriate is 6 storeys for both sites, subject to the quality of the design proposed”. The design for the southern site creates a continuous 6-storey roof line  which obscures views form the High Street and encloses Ashwin Street, and the northern site 7-storey block exceeds the guidelines. Both site designs “result in domineering levels of development” which are contrary to the Guidance.

1.7         The application does not meet the Guidance requirement for “contemporary architecture of the highest quality which enhances the ‘sense of place’ of Dalston town centre.” The architectural designs create a ‘sense of anyplace’, and ‘out of place’ which does not respond to or enhance Dalston Town Centre.

 

2     Housing Provision

Of a total of 106 flats only 9 (8.5%) are for affordable social rent and 6 (5.6%) are intermediate.

Of a total of 106 flats only 20 (19%) are 3 bed family homes, of which only 5 (5%) are for social rent.

The provision does not meet the Guidance objective that 30% of homes should be accessible for wheelchair users.

Having regard to local needs we consider that

-        the provision of family housing is totally inadequate.

-       the provision of affordable housing is totally inadequate and contrary to the LPA’s Planning and Design Guidance for the Western Curve ( 50% affordable of which 70% should be for social rent and 30% Intermediate) and both the LPA’s & GLA’s overarching policy targets for affordable housing.

The applicant does not and cannot justify the inadequate provision

For these reasons the application in its present form should be refused.

3    Building heights

The northern site development rises to 7 storeys. The height is so overscale to the streetscape that it would dominate the surrounding buildings of 3-4 storeys, adversely affect the setting of heritage buildings at 51-57 Kingsland High Street and (the applicant’s sunlight report reveals) reduces the natural sunlight to them to below BRE standards. This is clear evidence of overdevelopment.

The Dalston Area Action Plan, approved by a Planning Inspector, identifies that 4-6 storeys would be an appropriate height for developments on this site. The Applicant fails to justify any development exceeding 4 storeys and was unsuccessful in its representations to the Inspector that it would be appropriate to exceed the DAAP guidelines on height.

The southern site development proposes a continuous terrace of 6-storeys. The height is so overscale to the streetscape such that it dominates surrounding buildings, adversely affects the setting of heritage buildings in Ashwin Street, namely Reeves & Sons  and Shiloh Pentcostal Church and ( the applicant’s sunlight report reveals) reduces the natural sunlight to Reeves & Sons to below BRE standards. This clearly demonstrates overdevelopment.

The Applicant fails to justify a development exceeding 4 storeys. The continuous roofscape is contrary to paragraph 3.51 LPA’s Planning and Design Guidance for the Western Curve which seeks variable building heights.

We consider that the buildings described here as adversely affected by the development are local and national heritage assets and are representative of Dalston’s character, identity and cultural history. We consider that the applicant’s development would substantially and irreversibly damage their settings and amenities including sunlighting.

The applicant states that no sunlighting study has been carried out to the lower floors of the Reeves & Sons building, which is presently occupied by Arcola Theatre, because sunlight is “not required”. We disagree and consider that any current occupiers are temporary custodians of the buildings and that their settings and amenities should be safeguarded for future generations.

The proposed development fails to give due consideration to its impact on the town centre and surrounding listed buildings contrary to paragraphs 3.48 LPA’s Planning and Design Guidance for the Western Curve and contrary to the LPA & GLA policies and the NPPF

For these reasons the application in its present form should be refused.

Public realm

The design of the development misses the opportunity to set back further the development at the Abbott Street junction which would both enhance pedestrian entry to Ashwin Street and assist alignment of the pedestrian way across Kingsland High Street between Abbott St and Boleyn Rd.

We consider that the proposals fail to adequately respond to paragraph 3.64 of the LPA’s Planning and Design guidance “to link the site into existing local routes; reduce pedestrian congestion.and to improve overall permeability and the pedestrian environment in Dalston town centre 

The 6-storey height of the continuous terrace along the southern site obscures light to Ashwin Street which is detrimental to the sun lighting of its ‘pavement café’ and pedestrianised use.      

The proposal is to remove some street trees from Ashwin Street ( to facilitate HGV turnaround there)  and to plant one tulip tree and four small trees on Ashwin St west pavement and   5 small trees on Boleyn Rd. east pavement and a mature plane tree and to provide planting pots on Boleyn Rd. west.

We consider that the applicant’s description of such planting as creating a “green way” is derisory. The provision is wholly inadequate given the extent of the applicant’s public land available to create ‘pocket parks’ on each of the northern and southern sites to enhance the public realm and to create ‘stepping stones’ of green oasis along the route

We consider that the proposals fail to respond adequately to the LPA’s Planning and Design guidance that “new and improved areas of green open space and/or public realm will be encouraged subject to appropriate design” and, to paragraph 3.64 for “public spaces, small and large,…should be designed to integrate with the existing fabric of the street and area…and new green public open space and or public realm on the southern site..”.

OPEN Dalston has had extensive discussion with the applicant and proposed designs which would be compliant with the Guidance, the LPA’s & the London Plan and NPPF. OPEN Dalston’s proposals are attached here and form part of these representations and  demonstrate the opportunities which the applicant has missed in its application. The applicant has rejected these proposals but has pursued an application which is non-compliant with planning policies.

For these reasons the application in its present form should be refused.

Gated Community

The Western Curve sites are railway land owned by TfL, a public body. The scheme is subsidised by a very substantial financial contribution by the local authority but the development proposal makes no provision for public open or green spaces on the sites nor provides for any public access into or through the sites. The developments occupy the entire sites and creates a private enclave of almost exclusively unaffordable homes for sale, with the minimal provision of green and amenity space which is enclosed within the development and 90% overshadowed. The design effectively creates a barrier between the development and the rest of Dalston rather than an accessible mixed-tenure, diverse, sustainable community.   

For these reasons the application in its present form should be refused.

Bio-diversity 

The designs miss the opportunity to enhance bi-diversity within the Dalston Town Centre by the provision of managed green space and urban food growing , contrary to the NPPF, the London Plan, the LPA’s Core strategy and the applicants own policies and public commitments.

Provision for Children

The designs make no provision for children’s play areas contrary to the NPPF, the London Plan and the LPA’s Core strategy

13.6.20

 

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