Saturday 24 August 2013

Dalston to get shaft (ed)

A new 19-storey, 62 metre high Dalston tower, with a four storey frontage building,  is proposed for 51-57 Kingsland High Street on the Peacocks site next to Dalston Kingsland station. We've nicknamed it 'The Teardrop'.
The developer's previous application, Dalston Green, got unanimously rejected by the Planning Sub-Committee. This new scheme does not comply with the Dalston Area Action Plan either.  You can  let Hackney's Planning Committee know what you think of the new plans and you can sign the objectors petiton - see below.

The Teardrop (as it would be seen from Ridely Road market) is planned next to Dalston Kingsland station and is designed by Jestico and Whiles. The total of 125 flats is double the average density expected for this 0.18 hectare site. The developer states it will contribute £100,000 to any improvements to the neighbouring station, although no specific proposals have been announced.

The developer claims the development "contributes to and enables a balanced and mixed community in the area". However, in this dense private housing scheme, only 14  "affordable" flats are planned for the front building ( all for shared-ownership, not social rent, and only 3 family flats) and 111 private  (unaffordable) flats will be in the exclusive tower behind. Prices will rise to over £1million for the 19th floor penthouses. The developer expects a net profit of over £10million (a 20% return on investment is more or less guarranteed). Where is the community benefit? 

The Teardrop will have no car parking (except for 2 spaces for disabled people) and 210 cycle storage spaces. There will be a 'children's playground' on a roof terrace. The site is west of Ridley Road Market but the tower, they say, won't start to overshadow the entrance until, on average, 5pm.

The huge profits come from stacking up the site with private flats. The Daylight and Sunlight consultant (GVA's) report concludes that the overshadowing effect of the proposed tower has no significant impact". However, of the 37 tests 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.

 The "Teardrop" gets its name from its teardrop, rather than circular, plan form

The climatic effect on our 'public amenity space' ie our High Street pavements, was not tested at all.The tower will, in fact, deduct a bit of sunlight from all of us as well as increase local wind speeds ie the developers profits come at our expense by degrading the quality of our local environmental.  What will Dalston get back to mitigate these effects?

The "Teardrop" as seen looking north along Boleyn Road. The tower's aerodynamic design, it is said, prevents the increased wind speeds accelerating off the north west surfaces from exceeding conditions appropriate for "standing" ie you will be able to stand but will not be comfortable sitting outside.

The developer has already consulted the Planning Sub-Committee, at a recent 'pre-application' meeting, when the public were not allowed to speak. The meeting was intended to remove any 'misunderstandings' which had led to the previous scheme's unanimous rejection.
The Planning Consultants state that "Throughout the pre-application phase consultation took place... including OPEN Dalston ". This is untrue - in fact there has never been any consultation with OPEN Dalston for this scheme.

Four storeys, plus parapet, plus roof terrace, next to the exquisite 1902-3 High Street terrace, which includes Grade II Listed No 41 (Shangai, formerly Cookes) and the locally listed Kingsland pub. Does it enhance or does it dominate the terrace?

The  Heritage consultant (Tavenor's) report is laughably inept. On the subject of Grade II Listed Colvestone Primary school it describes an entirely different building. The consultant also assesses the environmental impact on the Kings Arms, although that pub was demolished several years ago. Fortunately, the Council's Dalston Area Action Plan requires Hackney to undertake its own Character Appraisal  of Dalston's heritage assets to inform its Planning Committee's decisions. Sadly, Hackney's report is not yet available.

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. The new design is taller, has only 11 affordable homes (of which none are for social rent), has reduced retail floor space and makes no proposals to improve the station.