Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Dalston's Georgian houses hold their breath.

Tonight, Hackney's Planning Committee will consider and decide, in public, an application by the Council's development partner, Murphy, to demolish the thirteen surviving 200 year old Georgian houses in Dalston Terrace. You can attend the meeting tonight at 6:30pm in the Hackney Town Hall.

We have several objectors registered to speak. You can read our written objections here.

The house were built between 1807 and 1830, and had shops fronts built over their front gardens in about 1890

Murphy, which entered a development agreement with Hackney on 27th June 2013, will tell the Committee that implementing the approved "conservation led " scheme will cause the buildings to collapse, and so they should all now be demolished. Murphy's structural engineers had previously advised that the scheme was possible, when the Committee granted planning permission in August 2012, but had changed their opinion by the time of the development agreement with Hackney on 27 June 2013.

This video shows the appalling neglect and vandalism of the houses by the owners and, despite its promises to us, Hackney's neglect and indifference to their fate and its community's views

Last December Hackney authorised Murphy to commence demolition without planning permission. When we challanged Hackney, Councillor Nicholson admitted that the demolitions were unlawful and they were ceased. Muphy's current planning application is to resume the demolitions.

It has now been revealed that, when the demolitions commenced, Hackney was already in possession of a report by independent expert engineers, Alan Baxter LLP, advising that the main 200 year old houses could be saved if the extent of structural alterations proposed for the houses were reduced - namely, without creating the proposed "open plan" shops

The ground floor interior of one of the 1807 houses that Murphy would rip out under the 'conservation led" scheme.

Since Murphy's application for wholesale demolition, local architect, Lisa Shell, has commissioned a further investigation by the Morton Partnership, an internationally recognised firm of conservation engineers. They advise that, with the use of specialist techniques, not only could the "conservation led" scheme be implemented as designed but also that all, but one, of the thirteen surviving Georgian houses could still be saved.

Hackney's funereal dressing of black paint over the graffiti on the Georgian brickwork and renders. A reminder of the charred remains of the nine buildings burnt down in Dalston over recent years and all on "development opportunity" sites.

The application to demolish the houses has attracted controversy, and a huge number of objections from local residents as well as from The Hackney Society, three local Conservation Area Committees, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Georgian Group, SAVE Britains Heritage, The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, the Heritage of London Trust, the East London Preservation Society and others. We are extremely grateful to them all for their interest and concern.

The Georgian houses of Dalston terrace have had a troubled history. Due to the indifference and neglect by the owner, Hackney Council, only two of originally sixteen businesses remain in occupation and Hackney already demolished three of the houses in 2007 when it declared a "conservation led development scheme". OPEN has always campaigned to save the houses which represent the some of the last surviving fragments of Dalston's historic development and character.

You are entitled to attend the Council meeting tonight to witness democracy inaction.
The Vandals: an eastern Germanic tribe which earned notoriety by sacking Rome in the 5th century, but which was later defeated by the Goths.
Vandalism: the gratuitous anti-social destruction of the environment and artistic creations.
Municipal vandalism: the destruction of our cultural heritage by corporate ignorance, deliberate neglect, greed and vanity, all in the name of regeneration and progress

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