57East, Kingsland tower - OPEN Dalston's objections to planning application number 2013/2042 February 2014 & October 2013

51-57 Kingsland Road - OPEN Dalston's objections to planning application number 2013/2042 

We note that the applicant has amended its proposal, principally by reducing the height of the tower from 19 to 15 storeys. We do not consider that this amendment sufficiently mitigates the adverse impacts identified in our objections of October 2013 which we now repeat

We also consider that it would be premature for the Committee to determine the application at this stage for the following reasons:

1.    The Design Review Panel has not seen the proposal since February  2013 when it commented that “Overall the tower is not of sufficient design quality to form such a prominent landmark in this busy area of Hackney”. It referred to “fragmented form” and continued “the plan form remains unconvincing” and the Panel “remains to be convinced that the quality of design is sufficient …etc” (Report para 4.6.17)

Concern for the poor amended design is confirmed by:

-        the comments of Islington Council refers to the 5-storey tower being “in a location that is highly inappropriate for a tall building” and “The recent 5 storey reduction in height makes the proposed cylindrical tower appear more stocky and inelegant”. (Report para 4.6.11)

-       The comments of the Mayor of London who would like to see “a more appropriately designed building that is more in keeping with its surrounding and the Kingsland High Street Character Area”

Given the importance of the site the Panel should be asked to comment upon the latest amendments to the proposal

In these circumstances the Committee can not be satisfied that the development will meet the requirements of the Tall Building Strategy for a building which is taller than the surrounding buildings (of 3-4 storey) or alternatively taller than 10 storeys.

2.    There has been no Equalities Impact Assessment of the proposal with particular regard to the views of, or specific consultation with,  the Jewish community on the impact of the proposal on the Jewish Burial Ground ( Kingsbury Conservation Area) . Notwithstanding the comment that “the development cannot be seen from the Kingsbury Conservation Area” (Report para 6.7.29) the view photograph, at page 77/78 of the report and described as View 23, illustrates the dramatic visual impact the tower will have from the Kingsbury Conservation Area  immediately outside the burial ground”.

3.    The Report, and the heritage assessment, have failed to have regard to the adverse impact of the development on The Kingsland (PH) which, we understand, is now a designated heritage asset


For the forgoing reasons, planning permission should be refused or alternatively deferred.

OPEN Dalston objections concerning planning application number 2013/2042 regarding51-57 Kingsland Road, Hackney

OPEN Dalston considers that the applicant’s proposal does not comply with the Dalston Area Action Plan, the LPAs Core Strategy, the London Plan and the NPPF. In summary, the proposal amounts to overdevelopment which, whilst it extracts huge development value from the site, it does so to the detriment of the surrounding area and without conferring adequate community benefit. OPEN Dalston considers that for these and the following reasons, planning permission should be refused.

1              Dalston Area Action Plan

1.1       The Dalston AAP Policy DTC03 : Heritage.  This policy provides that existing buildings and open spaces of historic and architectural merit must be conserved and enhanced.

The supporting text to policy DTC03, at page 30, states that a Character Appraisal of heritage assets (prepared by the Council) is a requirement to ensure that proposals are informed by a sound appreciation of the town centre’s distinct characteristics and which will establish a robust management strategy for their conservation and enhancement.

At the present time the required Character Appraisal is not available to inform to the Council of the benefits and detriments of the proposal. In these circumstances, determination of the application is premature and should be deferred until a Character Appraisal is available

1.2       The Dalston AAP Policy DTC04.1: Building Heights. This policy provides that development proposals are to adhere to the building heights parameters identified in Figure 8 and, in addition, seek to meet additional objectives.

Figure 8 identifies the site for “predominantly 4-6 storeys with potential for some taller building elements (10-15 storeys, subject to further feasibility and evaluation).”

The application is for a 19-storey building and so does not adhere to Policy DTC04 .1 and should therefore be refused.

1.3       The Dalston AAP Policy DTC04 .2 1: Building Heights. This policy provides that very tall buildings will not be appropriate. Tall buildings are defined, with reference to the Hackney Tall Buildings Strategy, as between 10 – 15 storeys and that buildings taller than this, by exception, may only be considered appropriate where it is satisfactorily demonstrated that, in addition to satisfying the eleven codes of the Hackney Tall Buildings Strategy, :-

-  additional height is required by way of robust viability testing, to bring additional significant regeneration benefits as well as achieving

- excellence in design of an exemplar building that positively enhances the character of the Town Centre.

The application is for a very tall building ( ie one which exceeds 15 storeys) and in these circumstances the building would be inappropriate for the DAAP area.

Furthermore the building would not satisfy the exception to Policy DTC04.2. The applicant does claim that the requirements for the exception are met. The additional height does not result in additional significant regeneration benefits and the building is not an exemplar that positively enhances the character of the Town Centre.

The application does not adhere to Policy DTC04 .2 and should therefore be refused.

2              Density

2.1          The site extends to 0.18 hectares and is in a Major Town Centre and has a PTAL rating of 6a. These factors attract policy support under the London Plan for higher densities of housing within the range of 650<1100 240="" dwellings="" habitable="" hectare="" o:p="" or="" per="" rooms="">

2.2          The applicant proposal is for 125 dwellings and so has a density of 2,027 hr ha/ 694 dwellings per hectare. This is almost double the upper London Plan range and is indicative of overdevelopment of the site and is contrary to LPA policy and London Plan policy 3.5

2.3          For these reasons the application should be refused.

3              Housing

3.1          The application is for 111 private flats (89%) in the tower & 14 affordable flats (11%) in the frontage building. All would be for sale with no affordable rented homes.

3.2          The  LPA’s housing policy (July 2005) provides that developments exceeding 10 units should aim to achieve 50% affordable homes of which 60% should be for social rent & 40% for intermediate homes.

3.3          There is a presumption that all sites which are suitable for private housing are also suitable for affordable housing. The applicant does not seek to argue that off-site affordable housing, or cash in lieu, is appropriate for the present application.

3.4          The applicant’s proposal falls far short of the policy target for on-site affordable homes and for inclusion of an appropriate proportion of social rented or affordable rented homes and is contrary to LPA policy and London Plan policy 3.11 & 3.12

3.5          All the affordable flats are in the frontage block contrary to the LPAs policy for integration of housing tenures and contrary to London Plan policy 3.9. The block is on the noisiest part of the site, overlooking the railway and the high street and with a separate entrance.

3.6          In all, 34 flats (27%) would be 3-bed of which 3 (2.51%) would be affordable.There are no flats exceeding 3-beds. The LPAs Core Strategy, Policy 20, notes that the greatest need in Hackney is for affordable family housing. The LPA’s policy provides that developments should aim to provide 1/3 of dwellings as 3 bed/4 person homes and 1/3 as 4 bed/4-6 person homes. The applicant’s proposal fails far short of the policy target.

3.7          Recent market indicators show that some 60<85 acquired="" adequate="" and="" are="" attracted="" be="" been="" buy-to-let="" by="" calculations="" child="" conditions="" consequence="" considered="" conventional="" currently="" east="" families="" for="" have="" homes="" in="" investors.="" is="" likely="" living="" london="" needs.="" new="" normally="" not="" o:p="" of="" overcrowded="" overseas="" per="" predominantly="" properties="" reality="" rent="" size="" that="" the="" their="" this="" to="" underestimates.="" unit="" which="" would="" yield="">

In these circumstances we consider that the provision of child play space should meet and exceed London Plan Policy policy 3.6, unless occupancy is to be conditioned in some way (of which there are no proposals) and we note that the applicants existing provision does not meet current policy guidelines in any event.

3.8          For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

3.9          We consider that, if planning permission is granted, the proposed 3-bedroomed homes should be conditioned for occupation as single family households only.

4              Height

5              The application site, at 51-57 Kingsland Road, is on a historic high street where the buildings are generally of 3-4 storeys in height.

5.1          As indicated at 1.2 & 1.3 above the proposed height (19-storeys/62 metres) is inappropriate for the area and does not meet the requirements for exception.

5.2          The proposal will not satisfying the eleven codes of the Hackney Tall Buildings Strategy   

5.3          The development site is adjacent to a surface, and two sub-surface, railway lines, namely the North London Overground line, the East London Line extension and the channel tunnel rail link to Kings Cross. Consequently, due to engineering constraints, there is limited opportunity to site neighbouring tall buildings. The development will not form part of a cluster of tall buildings but will appear as an isolated structure and an incongruous addition to the historic high street

5.4          The LPAs policy DTC11 provides that new developments should  respect public open space & streets ensuring that building forms are appropriately scaled to their contexts and do not provide excessive overshadowing” and DTC22 “respect and relate to the strong Victorian character, particularly in terms of building height, scale,massing,building line and style and incorporate a regular vertical rhythm”. The proposal does not acknowledge or respect its neighbours or the locality, is overscale, will cause excessive overshadowing and overlooking, and pays very limited regard to these policy objectives. The proposal is contrary to LPS policies and London Plan policy 7.6 B d & 7.7.C b & c.

5.5          The adopted DAAP identifies that “A taller building element may be appropriate at the rear of the site, while retaining the scale of the Kingsland High Street frontage intact”. The applicants proposal meets neither of the latter objectives. The frontage block would comprise 4-storeys plus parapet plus roof terrace which exceeds the parapet and the roof lines of the current High Street. It will dominate its neighbours to the detriment of the character of nearby buildings.  A 19-storey tower would exceed the DAAP indication of a building of potentially between 10 -15 storeys. The applicant provides no adequate justification for a building of the height proposed.

5.6          The applicant promotes the design as a ‘landmark’ building however any building of five storeys or above would be taller than its surroundings and so of prominent landmark appearance. No justification is given for a landmark building which necessitates a 19 storey structure. 

5.7          The DAAP states that “retaining Dalston’s unique character and heritage is a key goal”. A development of modern imaginative design would be consistent with Dalston’s character but the excessive height and mass of the proposal not only fails to strengthen local character and identity but dominates the human scale of the surrounding buildings to the extent of damaging Kingsland High Street’s local character and identity.

5.8          For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

6              Impact on the natural environment

6.1          The tower exceeds 60 metres in height. The tower will create both long and wide shadows over large areas of Dalston Kingsland. Like a lighthouse in reverse it will take light from public space, local homes and roof gardens, businesses, locally listed buildings and from Ridley Road market.

6.2         The Daylight and Sunlight consultant (GVA's) report concludes that the overshadowing effect of the proposed tower has no significant impact" on neighbouring windows. However, of the 37 tests undertaken for residential sunlight, their report reveals that 26 (70%) failed the British Standard by exceeding a 20% loss and one amenity area has nearly 50% loss of sunlight in winter. Of 44 tests for residential daylight (excluding Boleyn Road to the west of the site), 33 (70%) will lose more than 20% of daylight.

6.3          To the east of the site is the entrance to Ridley Road market which extends eastward. The market contributes significantly to the social and economic vitality of the town centre. GVA’s report states that overshadowing will affect the market only by 5pm but no evidence of this assertion is produced, and so further evidence should be sought. 

6.4          To the north east of the development site is the locally listed building at 74-76 Kingsland High Street. GVA’s report fails to consider the environmental effect of the development on this site and further specific information should be sought.

6.5          GVA’s report  states wrongly that the tower would not impact on Colvestone Primary School because it is overshadowed by its own buildings. In fact, the front elevations of the school, with its windows, garden and listed railings, face south, and its nursery playground is on the south/west side, and are not overshadowed by the school buildings. Further information should be sought concerning the overshadowing impact on these school amenities.

6.6          The noise consultant reports only with regard to the interior environments of the flats, particularly on the towers’ north side adjacent to the railway. The Applicant has failed to report on the impact of airborne sound reflected from the north face of the development , arising from the railway ,on homes and businesses to the north of the development site

6.7          The wind consultant’s report identifies that the design of the development creates adverse accelerated wind speeds locally in ground level public areas so as to render them unsuitable for sitting.

6.8          For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

7              Impact on Townscape & Heritage Assets

7.1          The Tavenor report Townscape and Visual Assessment acknowledges the existence of the four conservation areas which surround the site and the presence of the Grade2 listed building at 41 Kingsland High Street (formerly Cooke’s Eel Pie and Mash shop). We strongly disagree with the report’s conclusions that the development will not harm the views and settings of any relevant heritage assets and that no mitigation measures are required.

7.2          The Grade II listed building at 41 Kingsland Road, and the locally listed Kingsland PH at 37-39 Kingsland Road, form part of a terraced group of four storey buildings at 37-49 Kingsland Road constructed in about 1902/3 (“the group”). In our opinion the front elevations of this group comprise one of the most attractive terraces surviving in Dalston in view of the diversity and quality of the designs and the fine detailing. They have obvious historic and architectural merit and townscape value. They are in a prominent position opposite the high street entrance to Dalston Kingsland shopping centre. The Tavenor report fails to recognise the quality of this group’s elevations and to assess the impact of the development on them.

7.3          The Tavenor report does focus on 41 Kingsland Road but only on the unattractive recent additions to the rear, and on its splendid interior which would be unaffected by the development.  However the listing record for 41 Kingsland Road records the character & detail of its front elevation in considerable detail. It is the whole building which is listed, not just it’s interior. The Tavenor report fails to consider adequately the character of the elevation and the setting of the listed building, and its group, and the adverse impact which the development would have on its setting.

7.4          The proposed 4 storey frontage plus parapet plus roof terrace of the proposed development  would immediately abut the group in an overbearing manner and would dominate it and thereby diminish its character and prominence. We consider that limiting the development frontage at 51-57 Kingsland Road to three storeys with a roof terrace would preserve the setting of the listed building and its group whereas the proposed development would damage it.

7.5          To the east of the proposed development are listed buildings within the St Marks Conservation Area. These include St Marks church (Grade II*) and Colvestone Primary School (Grade II)  which is within 100 yards of the Ridley Road market entrance on Kingsland Road directly opposite the proposed development. The Tavenor report omits any assessment of the effect of the proposed development  on the school’s setting.

7.6          Opposite the proposed development are the locally listed buildings at 74-76 Kingsland High Street. The Tavenor report fails to consider the effect of the development on their setting at all.

7.7          Over some years the characterful period buildings of Boleyn Road (south of Crossway), have all been carefully restored and developed to a human scale. They provide the western entrance and the setting of Gillett Square and Bradbury Street which are of considerable importance locally for its public amenity space and for the Vortex Jazz Club and numerous independent businesses. The tower would have an incongruous presence which would dominate an area of micro-regeneration and creativity. 

7.8          The Tavenor report fails to adequately consider the setting of the listed Rio Cinema, and in particular the bleak north face of the tower, when arriving in the Town Centre past the Rio from the north. The tower, and frontage block, would all exceed the existing roof lines and would appear overscaled and would diminish the prominence of the high street buildings. 

7.9          The ground plus 19-storey elevation of the tower on its west side severely compromises Boleyn Road and its future development potential.

7.10       The Tavenor report’s failure to consider all the relevant heritage assets which would be adversely affected by the development is a serious omission and that the report is not compliant with PPS5, HE6.1 & 6.2., DTC22

7.11       The proposed development does not acknowledge or respect the historic setting and would not preserve or enhance the local heritage assets but would infact damage their settings. For this reason the proposed development  as currently designed is not compliant with PPS7 ,  the London Plan 7.8.D, the LPAs Core Strategy Policies 24 & 25 and the DAAP Policies DTC02 & 03

7.12       The proposal it is not compliant with the Council’s policy comprised within “The State of Our Historic Environment”

7.13       For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

8              Employment

8.1          As noted above the development reduces the existing retail offer and fails to make any provision for employment uses on the upper floors contrary to policy DTC – CA1

8.2          For these reasons the application should therefore be refused 


9              Transport

9.1          The present use of the ground floor commercial unit is by Peacocks, a clothing retailer. The site’s previous occupant was Sainsbury’s supermarket. The Applicant argues for building over the Boleyn Road delivery yard to the rear of the site which may not be required for the current occupant. We consider that future occupancy of the site is likely to change over the duration of the buildings’ lifetime and the absence of a delivery yard will restrict potential future uses and/or compromise the traffic management and residential character of Boleyn Road

9.2          For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

10           Public Consultation

10.1       We are informed  that the applicant’s pre-application consultation did not include discussion with Colvestone Primary School which will be directly affected by the proposed development. We understand that the school presently has no additional capacity.

10.2       We are informed that the applicant’s pre-application consultation did not include discussion with Ridley Road Market Traders Association which will be directly affected by the proposed development.

10.3       The tower will be in close proximity to the jewish burial ground but the applicant has not apparently consulted the jewish community

10.4       The applicant’s Statement of Community Involvement incorrectly claims to have held a pre-application consultation meeting with OPEN Dalston.

10.5       For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

11           Planning history

The previous planning application for a tower on Peacocks site was rejected on grounds which included it's height, scale and mass being detrimental to the area's appearance, the absence of affordable housing, the reduction in retail floor space and because its design would compromise future development of Dalston Kingsland rail station.

In comparison with the proposal previously refused, the new proposal is taller with more storeys, has only 11 affordable homes (of which none are for rent), has reduced retail floor space, and the proposal to contribute £1 million for station improvements is a reduction of the £1.7million improvements previously proposed. The grounds for refusing the previous application are equally applicable to the current proposal, if not more so. For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

12           Overdevelopment

12.1       We consider that the applicant’s proposal would amount to overdevelopment of the site by reason of its excessive scale, mass, height and density. Several indicators support this conclusion notably the incongruous appearance of the tower looming over the streetscape, the adverse impact upon the natural environment of the surrounding area and the detrimental impact on the area’s historic assets. Whilst the development may extract huge value from the site’s modest footprint, it does so at the expense of the surrounding natural and built environment.

12.2       For these reasons the application should therefore be refused

13           Conclusion

13.1            For the forgoing reasons, planning permission should be refused.

OPEN Dalston is an association of people who live or work in Dalston. OPEN is an acronym for Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Limited. OPEN's objects are to promote excellence in the quality of the built environment, in the provision of transportation and in the provision of amenities, and to ensure that changes to these have proper regard to the needs of residents and businesses and the maintenance of a sustainable residential and business community.

1 comment:

  1. Reading the excellent comments made by OPEN Dalston, I find extremely difficult to comprehend that the authorities have disregarded them totally and that the scheme may have gone through. Can ANYTHING still be done against it? Me and my neighbours are horrified by this. Did Hackney Council approve this because of fear of pressures from the developers? If the Council has such limited powers to defend the citizens from such greedy buildings, who totally disregard the impact people's lives, God save us.


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