Saturday 20 December 2008

The 12 days of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me......

Twelve legends dining

This image from Winstan Whitter's new film shows some of the stars associated with the 1886 Dalston Theatre buildings including Sir Robert Fossett (circus owner), Marie Lloyd, Stevie Wonder, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols and The Prodigy. Hackney Council demolished the historic buildings in 2007 to make way New Dalston's tower blocks, brand name shops and a £40million bus station.

Eleven Pipers piping

Hackney Mayor Pipe's Cabinet , embarrassed by recent junketing, is becoming anxious that our much trumpeted Olympic legacy - the media centre intended to attract thousands of new jobs - may never be built in Hackney.

Ten floors and rising

Barratt's development of 10 to 20 storey residential towers on Hackney Council's Dalston Square site where Dalston's historic buildings once stood. Only 28 flats will be for rented social housing - the rest are to be sold to help pay for New Dalston's £40million concrete slab over Transport for London's railway station next door. News of Barratt's credit crunch crash caused fears that we'd be left with half-finished concrete stumps.

Nine members voting

Five Labour Party members outvoted four opposition members in two seperate boroughs to approve anti-social developments. Planning permission was granted by Tower Hamlets Council for this 25 storey tower in Shoreditch and, by Haringey Council, to demolish the Wards Corner community market.

Eight buildings burning

We had seen eight buildings burnt out in Dalston - all on sites identified as development opportunities - then this one in Ashwin Street became the latest casualty. It had been left derelict by the Council for decades which now says that the District Surveyor has declared the whole terrace a dangerous structure.

Seven bailiff's waiting

In November we saw Court Bailiffs abandon plans to take possession of Spirit's home and shop after a rally of local people gathered on Broadway Market to show their support for one of the street's best loved characters . Shortly afterwards, to avoid confrontation, Spirit gave up his keys and his home which Hackney had chosen to sell out to an off-shore company for less than Spirit had offered

Six heart breakers

Five... tower blocks

Hackney Council's visionary rhetoric for Dalston didn't seem to fit with The London Development Agency's plans for more tower blocks on TfL's £40million concrete slab over the railway.But the problem was soon solved when the Rosebery Place cottages shown here were acquired and demolished. Hackney now plan to take money from Shoreditch and cram some affordable housing onto the site which presently has none. On Hackney Podcast Mayor Pipe describes the £40million concrete slab as "a useful bit of (development) land" and as "a good result" for Hackney

Four Aces Club

Winstan's Whitter's brilliant documentary "Legacy in the dust" tells the story of Dalston's legendary reggae club, its relationship with the Council and the police, how it went on to become the Labyrinth and the eventual demolition of its home in Dalston's historic buildings.You can hear Winstan talk about the history on Hackney Podcast

Three charges dropped
Hackney Council has announced that it is dropping the outstanding prosecutions of stallholder Janet Devers for selling in pounds and ounces and by the bowl. But Ridley Road traders are still fighting for survival. Watch the video - Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver buy some bunches of callaloo from Janet in Ridley Road Market - the home of the bargain!

Two writers speak

Despite being banned from speaking on Council premises Iain Sinclair joined Children's Laureate Michael Rosen to address a packed house for the OPEN event "Our Olympic Legacy". The intrepid journalists of Hackney Citizen and Games Moniter have since uncovered evidence of political censorship with Orwellian implications. You can hear Iain talk about Hackney, that rose red empire, on Hackney Podcast.

And a retail opportunity

The authorities plans for the "regeneration" of Dalston involves paying for the £40million concrete slab above the railway station by selling the flats and attracting national chain stores to make Dalston a shopping destination. The Council's Dalston Masterplan, to be unveiled for public consultation in January, follows this approach by proposing a massive redevelopment of Dalston Cross Shopping Centre as a shopping and residential complex of up to 10 storeys.