Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Council grant development approval. Dalston playground land to be sold.

Last night Hackney's Planning Committee granted approval for a massive residential-led scheme on Martel Place/Dalston Lane - the last undeveloped site on Dalston's Eastern Curve - despite the Council having promised, following public consultation on its Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP), that there would be a kids' public playground as a priority. A skateboard park had been flagged up.

Kids and parents attended the Town Hall in numbers to protest at the sell off of Council open green land on the site to the private developer but were only allowed five minutes to voice their many objections to the multi-million pound scheme. SAVE Britains Heritage also wrote in to object.

After the hearing one of the kids, Dex, said "It's disgusting. They said the playground must now wait to see if they'll build tower blocks on the shopping centre site. Still, we've now found a great new place for  skateboarding - on The Slab above Dalston junction station."

The Slab, which Hackney helped subsidise, was built by TfL for its buses at a cost of £63million but only one bus, the 488, uses it and there are only five of those an hour. "We can easily dodge the 488, so The Slab is fairly safe" said Dex "We just have to watch out for the police. They chuck us off when we skateboard there, and on the shopping centre car park, but there's nowhere else to go."

Council officers informed the Planning Committee that the playgound was always planned to go on a re-developed Kingsland Shopping Centre site however the site policies in the DAAP makes no mention of it there but expressly refers to the playground going on the Eastern Curve site. Martel Place is part of the 'Eastern Curve Character Area' in the DAAP.

The planning permission departs radically from the planning guidance for the site in terms of height, density, affordable housing and employment space. The value of the land Hackney is selling to the Martel Place developer will increase substantially if the planning permission is eventually upheld. Hackney's Mayor Pipe and the private developer will both be delighted by this windfall.

Because of the size of the scheme Hackney's planning permission will require approval by Boris' GLA. Objectors are entitled to make representations to the GLA

You can sign the dissenter's petition here


  1. Skateboarding is an excellent activity for young people. They form strong friendships, they are learning new skills, they are taking part in good cardiovascular exercise. We want our young people to get outside and have fun.
    Many young people have formed groups to help organise and build skate parks. This ownership helps them to take pride in their place and in turn look after it. Skateboarding is not a passing fad, it is here to stay, lets make a valid investment in our young people by making them part of our urban spaces instead of criminalising them by forcing them to appropriate the urban area around them.

  2. Yes you are right, it is an excellent activity, if kept to a park. I have seen these skateboarders and they are a nuisance and very intimidating for for people trying to use the path by the road. They are also extremely noisy for the people living in the flats by the side of the road
    Most of the skateboarders I have seen using this area are not kids, they are grown men over 18 years old, usually mid 20's I would say but some over 30.
    However, having had a conversation with them once they did come accross as kids, and very young ones at that.

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  3. Why on earth would they be intimidating? If anything it should make you feel safer that these guys are hanging out here as it would be completely abandoned otherwise. If you are intimidated by some hipster guy in his mid-20s on a skateboard, you can't have a very easy time living in Hackney? And regarding residents, perhaps they should have thought about noise problems before moving into / buying a flat overlooking a bus station?

  4. They are intimidating for some people ie elderly, people with young children, pushchairs etc. I have watched thse skaters several times. They purposely skate very close to people showing off. There is no noise problem coming from the bus station, only from the people on the skateboards going up and down the road. This road is just that, a road, not a skateboard track.
    Maybe you should take a minute to think of the affect their behaviour/noise has on other people before jumping to their defence.

  5. I can understand why some people may be disturbed by skateboaders playing in a public space. But I'm baffled how the Council & TfL can spend £63million on a bus facility for just one bus but can not afford a proper skatepark for our kids. It beggers belief.


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