Friday 23 May 2014

Spitalfields Trust offer to save Dalston's Georgian houses from Hackney demolition

Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust have today made a proposal to Hackney Council to buy and restore the 17 Georgian houses of Dalston Terrace which Hackney, and its development partner Murphy Homes Ltd., have planned to demolish later this month. The Spitalfields Trust is also in discussion with Housing Associations for inclusion of affordable housing within the restoration project.

 "We feel we cannot stand by and see these buildings demolished" said Oliver Leigh-Wood of the Spitalfields Trust

Here comes the cavalry!! Spitalfields Trust have rescued numerous historic buildings and are regarded by many as the most successful historic buildings trust in the country. Its projects have included the exemplary restoration of 107/113 Mile End Road , 12/20 Mare Street in Hackney, Turner/Varden Street in Whitechapel and 1/8 Minor Canon Row in Rochester.

The history of the terrace, and the present condition of the surviving houses, is controversial. Although Hackney has had a conservation-led plan since 2006, the unannounced demolition of the houses was halted following community objections last January ( read 'Hackney admits demolition unlawful' here. Ed.) Later, in March, Hackney accepted Murphy's evidence that the houses were all now beyond repair and it granted permission for demolition ( Read 'One man, two votes' here. Ed). However two independent structural engineers provided evidence that some, if not all, can certainly be saved ( read 'Was there a cover up' here. Ed). "The current condition of the houses does not concern us in the least. We have taken on far worse examples" the Spitalfields Trust's says in its letter to Hackney.

This is how Dalston Lane terrace looked at the turn of the century - a thriving terrace of  homes and businesses which have ben reduced to dereliction in the last 30 years

OPEN has raised £0000s from a community campaign to fund legal expenses and commenced Court proceedings against Hackney to try and overturn its decision to permit demolition. Hackney has refused to review its decision or refer the decision back to elected councillors, which had voted only for a conservation led project and not for total demolition. A Court decision is awaited but in the meantime Hackney's development partner, Murphy Homes Ltd., have agreed not to commence demolition before  28th May. 

This video shows the appalling neglect and vandalism of the houses by the owners over the last 30 years. Despite the history many of the houses can still be restored and these surviving fragments of Dalston's historic character and identity can be saved.