Wednesday, 7 February 2007

The destruction of Dalston Theatre has begun

"We are championing the historic environment and using the Borough’s heritage as a key component of economic regeneration... " Hackney Council, September 2005

Independant environmental consultants, White Young Green, advised the Council "...given the strength of local public feeling towards the site, the nature of the development and the loss of the theatre building in particular...a more detailed analysis of alternative development schemes considered for this site would be helpful...". The Council did not consider any alternative to demolishing these buildings.

English Heritage commented in June 2005 " of the site have a strong historic character...These should be retained where possible and used positively to inform new patterns of development and reinforce the areas character and identity..". The Council officer's report to the Hackney Committee said that English Heritage had not commented.

Ken Livingstone's London Plan prescribes 50% affordable housing in new developments. Hackney Council's Planning Brief for the site prescribed 50% affordable housing and a maximum of 12-15 storeys. The new developments here will have only 24% affordable housing, towerblocks of up to 20 storeys and with families with children living up to the top floor.

The Council's property consultants, Drivers Jonas, stated that "Throughout the project it has been the intention of the client group (ie the landowners Hackney Council and Transport for London) that any land value arising from the Dalston Lane south proposals would contribute to the extraordinary costs of construction of the slab". In other words,they had decided before the public consultation started that Dalston's heritage buildings were to be demolished to pay for TfL's £39million new bus station which is to be built over Dalston station. That cost works out at over £2million per bus stand and Dalston being blighted.

The Council's own architects, Arup Associates Ltd., had proposed in their Environmental Impact Assessment report that an event be held to celebrate the history of Dalston Theatre before its demolition. OPEN had made a similar proposal to the Council. These suggestions have been ignored by the Council. There has been no event to celebrate this building's service which has been to provide public entertainment and performance arts in Dalston for over 120 years.

For a more detailed history of this site, please see the posting below "The story that was never told"

All photos are the copyright of Mike Wells
+44 77 99 152 888


  1. And how odd that there don't appear to be any workers dressed up and ready to remove the asbestos! I went down to the site and as you see they've bashed great holes in the fabric of the building and yet we had been told that part of the problem with the building was that it would be too expensive to get rid of the asbestos. Oh really? So either it's now too expensive to safeguard the health of the demolition workers, passers-by and nearby inhabitants or that they were lying when they said it was full of asbestos. Now which is it?

  2. If you want to complain to the Council about the asbestos or the fires the demolition team like to have burning, email
    He works on this kind of thing.

  3. Despite the wintry weather today, clouds of smoke were billowing from a huge unattended bonfire at the south end of the theatre site, hours after the workmen had evidently left.
    Could Hackney be any more callous about destroying our heritage as agonisingly slowly but as ruthlessly as it has done here ?

  4. Hackney Council are morally bankrupt.

    Along with the 'issues' affecting Broadway Market it makes me wonder if we live in a democracy at all. Have Hackney not learnt from the mistakes of the past? Tower blocks: do we need anymore in Hackney?


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