Wednesday 29 March 2017

Hackney Mayor fails to deny Eastern Curve Garden will be redeveloped

In response to Hackney's public consultation on its Principles for Development of the Dalston Cultural Quarter we sent our representations to the Council this week and let people know on twitter @OPENDalston. You can read what we said to Hackney here
There has been huge public concern about the Council's plans because development site 3 includes the Council owned part of the hugely popular Eastern Curve Garden . Some fine heritage buildings and affordable workspaces for local community and creative enterprises are also to be part of the Dalston Cultural Quarter deal.

We next had a tweet from Hackney's newly elected executive Mayor Philip Glanville. This is what he said.

It was great that Hackney Mayor wanted us to "be clear" about the Council's intentions. But how clear was he? He said the Council wasn't consulting the public about developing the Garden. And that Hackney didn't intend to develop the part of the Garden owned by Kingsland Shopping Centre.
But what about the entrance and 25% of the Garden's land which is owned by the Council? Hackney's Garden land is included in development Site 3 and its' stated intention is to dispose of all four sites to a single "development partner"  to "maximise capital value and rental income for the Council " (see paragraph 7 of its' Cabinet Report)

The Mayor didn't deny that the part of the Garden owned by Hackney would be included in the development deal, just that it wouldn't be a "traditional disposal" and that, anyway, it was "a long way off".
But if the Council hasn't ruled out development of its Garden land why has it been included as part of development site 3 for a 'non-traditional disposal' at all?


Ah - so even if the Garden land is to be part of a  'non-traditional disposal' to a developer we should not assume it will all be completely developed over.  But if Hackney's part of the Garden could be developed on, why are Council officers refusing to consult the public about its future?

So Hackney is consulting on ensuring the "best of Dalston is preserved" - namely heritage, community organisations, culture and workspace. But what about the only, and much loved, local public green space? The Eastern Curve Garden is, notably, not on the Mayor's list and, as the Mayor said from the start, the Council is not consulting the public on the development of the Garden. 

Is that clear now? The Council owned part of the Eastern Curve Garden is included in development Site 3. In due course it will be part of a 'non-traditional' disposal to a single "development partner". The Council is not consulting the public about the Garden's future, because is not part of "the best of Dalston" to be "preserved". And we must not assume that it will be developed over entirely - some of it might be left undeveloped ( Enough for a public thoroughfare perhaps? Ed.)  

What is clear is that the Mayor has failed to deny that the Garden could be developed as part of the Council's Cultural Quarter plans.

Hackney's vision for the future of the Garden - enshrined in the 2013 Dalston Area Action Plan - a public thoroughfare along the Eastern Curve linking Dalston Lane with a redeveloped Kingsland Shopping Centre 

You can read OPEN Dalston's analysis and responses to Hackney's Cultural Quarter plans hereWe hope that these will help inform your views and responses to the Council.You can meet and discuss the plans with Council officers between 6:00pm - 7:45pm at  Hackney Town Hall (Room 32) E8 1EA on 10th April. You can also tell the Council your views here. The public consultation closes on 17th April


Dalston's "Cultural Quarter" - tell Hackney your views

Why is Hackney misleading the public about Eastern Curve Garden?

Hackney's monstrous plan to "regenerate" Dalston's Eastern Curve Garden

Saturday 25 March 2017

Dalston's "Cultural Quarter" - tell Hackney your views

Hackney Council is consulting on its principles for development of four sites in Dalston town centre. The sites have been designated as a  "Cultural Quarter". All are owned by the Council including part of the Eastern Curve Garden (including its entrances, pavillion and hothouse), heritage buildings and two vacant building sites. All the buildings and land are presently occupied by creative, community and charitable enterprises. The Council's stated intention is to "maximise regeneration benefits" and to "maximise capital value and rental revenue for the Council"
The development areas are Site 1 The former CLR James library and the Georgian houses at 18-22 Dalston Lane. Site 2 The vacant site on Ashwin Street west side. Site 3 The Railway Tavern, 10-16 Ashwin Street east side and the southern part of the Eastern Curve Garden and Site 4 The car park in Abbott Street 

You can meet and discuss the plans with Council officers between 6:00pm - 7:45pm at Dalston CLR James Library on the 23rd March and at Hackney Town Hall (Room 32) E8 1EA on 10th April 
The public consultation closes on 17 April.

You can read OPEN Dalston's analysis and responses here and a summary below. We hope that these will help inform your views and responses to the Council.

You can read the Council's consultation documents hereYou can tell the Council your views here.

Summary of OPEN Dalston’s responses

We consider that the Council’s  Development Principles for development of the Dalston Quarter should include the following wording:

a.         Development will not be permitted within the Dalston Quarter which would compromise the existing extent, bio-diversity and continued use of the Eastern Curve Garden and its facilities as an enclosed, secluded and financially sustainable community garden with free public access.The Eastern Curve Garden will be designated as Local Green Space and afforded protection from new development.

The Eastern Curve Garden is a community garden on historic open space which attracts 150,00 people each year. It is where people meet plants, children play and learn safely, a place for solace, for creative and cultural events and it is a wildlife corridor

b.         New development within the Cultural Quarter and on adjoining land, including Thames House and the Kingsland Shopping Centre, will be designed to improve pedestrian permeability through the area without the need to utilise the Eastern Curve Garden as a public thoroughfare

The Council has designated the Eastern Curve, including the Garden, as a hard surfaced public thoroughfare ("shopping circuit"). This image shows that, working with adjoining sites, there are plenty of other opportunities for interesting pedestrian routes through the area without compromising the Garden.  

c.         The historic buildings are the key driver to the regeneration of the Cultural Quarter. They, and their settings, will be safeguarded and enhanced. Alterations to the buildings will not be permitted which harm or cause any risk of future harm to their historic structures and character 

These are the last surviving pairs of Georgian houses at 18-22 Dalston Lane. All the others were demolished either for redevelopment purposes or due to historic neglect.  

d.         Only professional consultants and contractors with conservation accreditation and expertise will be appointed to deal with historic buildings.

We consider that these buildings at 10-16 Ashwin Street, designed in 1870 by Edwin Horne,  and the former Victorian factory behind them, are of high heritage, aesthetic, cultural and communal value. Any intervention would require considerable expertise to avoid loss or damage to their character and significance

e.         Any new development will preserve and enhance the setting of historic buildings and of open spaces and their amenity.

The buildings Ashwin Street have had a historic association with the visual and performing arts since 1870 and are still fully occupied by artists and other creative businesses today. Extensive work to these, and the other buildings, and higher rents, could see the existing uses permanently displaced. 

f.          Affordable workspace presently used for cultural, charitable and community (third sector) activities will not be reduced in its amount and will be enhanced in quality

g.         Section 106 planning agreements will secure developer contributions towards the conservation of the area's heritage and the support of the cultural, charitable and community uses to which the land and buildings are put

The Railway Tavern, built in 1868, is in a prominent position at 11 Dalston Lane. The building cannot be demolished without loss of heritage significance to this part of Dalston.”

h.         Cyclists will be required to dismount in areas of pedestrian public realm save where there are safe demarcated routes for cyclists. If the Council insists upon implementing "shared space" for cyclists and pedestrians it should consider requiring cyclists using such space to have third party accident insurance 

i.          Access for motor vehicles from Dalston Lane into, and parking in, Ashwin Street will be removed other than for those with disabilities. 

The Reeves factory for artists' paints was designed in 1868 by Edwin Horne and is now occupied by Arcola Theatre, Cafe Oto and the Bootstrap Company with numerous small independent enterprises

j.          Any new residential development will be sufficiently remote from performing arts venues within the Cultural Quarter so as to avoid conflict between different uses 

The Council's public consultation closes on 17 April.You can read OPEN Dalston's detailed responses here  We hope that these will help inform your views and responses to the Council. You can tell the Council your views here.

Back stories:

Why is Hackney misleading the public about Eastern Curve Garden?

Hackney's monstrous plan to "regenerate" Dalston's Eastern Curve Garden

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Hackney Council - champions of our heritage and hard working people (NOT)

Twenty four brand new Georgian "heritage likeness" private flats, 100% unaffordable, are now for sale in Dalston Lane.  (Thanks Hackney! Ed)

Alternatively try Mansion Global USA who are seeking off-plan overseas investors for the new Kingsland tower. "Dalston with a view" flats are offered at prices from £470,000 to £1.5million in London's "trendiest district" with "views of the Shard".
Only 90% unaffordable but the remaining 10% "affordable flats" (with own poor door) cost many times what locals on average can afford. (Thanks again Hackney! Ed.)

Thursday 16 March 2017

Why is Hackney misleading the public about Eastern Curve Garden?

When Hackney launched its public consultation proposals on 25 February, for development of Dalston's "Cultural Quarter",  there was immediate public outcry. Our much loved public Garden is included within development site 3 (Ashwin Street east) for "regeneration". An SOS was issued -" The Garden is at risk and we need your help!" - and local people are coming in huge numbers to see what they could do to help.

The Garden was included by the Council in development site 3 from the outset. Hackney's Regeneration Czar Councillor Nicholson explained this was because "the next stage is...engagement with the local community to explore initial options.....the inclusion and consideration of the future of the part of the potential options for delivery of the Quarter, is important to explore and confirm how the Garden may be treated going forward"

So the Garden is included in site 3 for "consideration of the future". But on 1st March Hackney's Press Office issued a statement that "The Garden isn't included in the consultation" and when people attended CLR James Library, to comment on the plans, they were informed that the Garden "was not part of the consultation".  In other words, Hackney is not interested in hearing the community's views on "how the Garden may be treated going forward" - only about how site 3 could be developed regardless of compromising the Garden's future.

But that's not the only example of Council misrepresentation. Fronting 10-16 Ashwin Street is a fine Victorian terrace built as houses of quality” designed by the noted architect Edwin Horne in 1870, who also designed the Reeves Artist's Colourworks (home to Arcola Theatre and Cafe Oto). Behind it is an 1870 factory built for Tyer & Co., who invented railway telegraph signalling. 

Hackney's independent heritage consultants, Allies and Morrison, describe the Ashwin Street group of buildings overall as of "MEDIUM" historic value and the rear factory as of “HIGH historic value”. But Hackney's consultation document states "the blocks to the rear are of LOWER historical value". This is totally misleading. This misdescription is likely to prejudice the public’s opinion as to the value of retaining the rear factory, and so strengthen the argument for demolition. ( How could Hackney have got it so wrong? Is facadism Hackney's real agenda here, or worse? Ed.)