There is a public meeting to support Ridley Road Market Traders starting at 5:45pm next Wednesday 5th December at St Mark's Church Hall, Dalston, E8. Hear what the traders have to say. Listen to this news item - it nails the story.
The treatment by the off-shore developer/landlord is causing the community huge concern - both for the traders and for the future sustainability of the market. Many of the street market traders rely on storing their barrows and stock in the basement and ground floor of the Shopping Village building which is marked for re-development. All of the indoor businesses rely on the existing small affordable trading units on the ground floor. Some 60 local artists rely on the affordable work space on the 1st and 2nd floors. All have been told to get out. Many thousands locally rely on the affordable produce which the market offers.
You can contribute to the traders' fighting fund here to help the traders stand up for their legal rights. You can join the thousands who signed the petition here which is bringing the issues to greater public attention.
It is not too late to object to the developer's planning application. ( Do it! Numbers count. Ed.)
You can send an email objecting to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference2017/2897 51-63 Ridley Road London E8 2NP . State that you are objecting. Your grounds may include objections to the plans for : - a change of use of basement storage facilities, and the first floor, to office use - a change of use of the first and second floors from artists' studios to office use and residential - inadequate provision of ground floor units affordable to independent businesses State your opinion on the effect which the development will have on the character of the market and our local identity.
OPEN Dalston has sent written comments to Hackney Council in response to its "Dalston Conversation". What follows is just a nutshell version. You can read our full comments and proposals here.
In 2017 the Council decided to dispose of all the sites it owns, in Dalston town centre's "Cultural Quarter", for development and refurbishment. We have proposed that a Development Trust should manage this process with the community's interests and our cultural heritage at its heart.
The Eastern Curve Garden is presently designated by Hackney as a "shopping circuit". We propose that its future be secured,with new planning policies and proper land tenure, and by opening up new routes locally to help people get about whilst safeguarding the Garden's character.
We have identified opportunities for expanding our green space and linking up with new ones. The "Cultural Quarter" environment, particularly Ashwin Street, remains ideal to start this process.
We have proposed developing a neighbourhood planning policy, like St Ives in Cornwall, which will restrict the opportunities for absentee owners and buy-to-let landlords to acquire homes in new developments and make them more affordable to local people.
We have identified the opportunity to capture and recycle the heat and CO2 generated from the proposed new Crossrail2 underground railway. The wasted heat would feed into a network benefitting new homes. Rooftop greenhouse would soak up the wasted CO2 and return it as oxygen to residents.
We have also proposed a change for the site of the Crossrail2 Dalston Junction underground station, onto the west side of Kingsland Road, which is less environmentally sensitive.Again capturing waste heat and CO2, we have proposed that the ventilation shafts needed for Crossrail2 underground stations be put to more attractive and good uses.
We have proposed the strengthening of planning polices to ensure that development proposals affecting Ridley Road will not compromise the sustainability of the street market and to ensure that adequate traders' storage facilities, and affordable units for small independent local businesses, will be retained. We have also proposed that change from workplace and cultural uses to residential uses should be resisted unless alternative provision is made.
We have repeated these and similar proposals to Hackney Council and the GLA over many years. Despite the numerous public consultations, they have never received due consideration. We have proposed there now be a community organised public debate with Council representatives. We hope the "Dalston Conversation" will become an actual conversation and that the community will not just be "consulted" but be given the opportunity to participate in Dalston's future development.
This weekend will see DalstonArts150 celebrations for 2018 end with a Winter Weekend of local artists' open studios and galleries and a very special arts and craft fair.
Join us at St Marks Church Hall in Colvestone Crescent to see work by our hugely talented local artists and makers, all of which will be for sale, and enjoy a delicious meal, snacks and mulled wine.
There will also be a professional portrait photobooth at the St Mark's exhibition - so come with your friends or family to capture that special moment.
Also over the weekend seven local artists' studios and galleries are opening their doors to the pubic so you can enjoy an aesthetic safari though our streets and speak to the artists personally.
The studios taking part are :
Hempstead May Gallery on Saturday 10 - 5pm at 67 Dalston Lane E8 1PQ
Hang-UP Gallery on Saturday 11 - 6pm at 81 Stoke Newington Road N16 8AD
BSMT Gallery on Saturday and Sunday 11 - 5pm at 5D Stoke Newington Road N16 8BH
DIY Art Shop on Saturday 11 - 6pm and Sunday 12 - 4pm in Shacklewell Lane and
Resident artists on Saturday 10 - 5pm and Sunday 10 - 2pm at 44b Englefield Road N1 4HA
Print Club on Sunday 11- 4pm at Unit 3, 10-28 Millers Terrace E8 2DS
Made It Arts and Crafts Club on Sunday 11- 4pm at Tuck Inn, Bradbury Street
This week solicitors, acting for the off-shore developer/landlord Larochette Real Estate Inc., have written to traders in Ridley Road Shopping Village telling them they have no right to continue trading there and must get out unless they sign up to new terms this Friday. The new terms seek to load traders with additional charges, deny them the protection which business tenants usually have in law, and would require them to leave on 3 weeks notice given at any time in the future.
How do the landlord's current actions fit with the promises its UK representative, Rainbow Properties Ltd., made when it met Hackney's Mayor? On 30th October Hackney Mayor Glanville released a statement following that meeting. He said "Rainbow Properties was positive and they reassured us that they will...honour traders' leases and that similar, affordable provision will be included in their planning application."
Ridley Road not only provides a living for its market traders but a source of affordable food and goods for thousands in our community. The Shopping Village building also provides essential storage for the Ridley Road market's street traders. Larochettes redevelopment plans, combined with the Council's own plans to redevelop market stores in Birkbeck Mews, is putting the survival of Ridley Road market at great risk. What could be motivating such high-handed behaviour?
Last Friday 26th October was the day when traders in the Ridley
Road Shopping Village were to be evicted. They had been given 14 days notice to
get out, by the management company which collected the rents in the covered
market. Many of the traders have been there for years.
But, following an effective community campaign, instead
of changing the locks that day the management company handed back its lease to
the owners of the building - Larochette Real Estate Inc, a company
registered in the British Virgin Islands. The Village traders now have an off-shore company landlord.
Larochette had bought the site for £6.5million in November 2016. Little is known about Larochette
itself but it's UK contact address is also the registered
office of Rainbow Properties Limited. Rainbow's director, Guy Ziser, is also a
director of two other companies (Neuva and Rosetree) which in 2015 appeared to have shareholdings
in a British
Virgin Islands company called Maple Ash limited.
Image of the planned redeveloped Ridley Road Shopping Village, designed by Jestico and Wyles, who also designed 57East - the tower next to Kingsland Station - which can be seen in the background of this image
Rainbow is seeking planning permission to turn the Ridley Road
Shopping Village into offices and shops plus 10 "high quality duplex
apartments" ( AKA luxury flats - Ed.) on the
1st and 2nd floors and new third floor.
Rainbow's Planning Statement describes the Ridley Road Shopping
Village as already vacant. In fact the Village is occupied by about 20 traders on the ground
floor, about 60 artists on the 1st and 2nd floors and provides storage for
barrows and stock for the market's street traders.
Some traders panicked when they got the eviction notice and held a "fire sale" of their stock and left Rainbow's redevelopment plans first came to public attention during the DalstonArts150 open studios event last September when
announced they had been asked to vacate by 31st December . Next there was a police raid,
were found at one of the units. The management company then issued an eviction letter toall of the traders.Its letter referred to a discussion with Hackneyand the police regarding a Closure Order, and a police notice being served
on management, so that "We have no
alternative but to CLOSE...in any event our landlord's intention is to demolish
the building shortly".
In fact there was no Closure Order - the police had simply
required the management company to meet conditions which would reduce local
crime. Hackney Mayor Glanville was quick to express concern, describing the
managers action as "misleading and a betrayal...an excuse to close the
market early".But the managers did not meet the police requests nor withdraw the
traders' eviction notices.
When news of the 14 day eviction notice got out, there was a
public outcry. Within days a petition had been signed
by over 8,000 people expressing disgust at the traders' treatment.
A deputation of traders went to Rainbow's offices to complain about their
The traders formed an Association and instructed solicitors who
informed the management company and Rainbow
of the traders legal right to a minimum 6 months notice and that they "are not
required to and are unwilling to give up possession". A
Court injunction application was threatened.
And so, instead of evicting the traders last Friday, the
management company handed back its lease to the owner, Larochette Real Estate
Inc., which has now become the new landlord
of the traders remainingin
Image of the planned redeveloped Ridley Road Shopping Village with front ground floor shops and luxury flats above One exception to business
tenants security of tenure is where the landlord intends to redevelop the
property and cannot reasonably do so with the tenants in occupation.
Redevelopment requires planning permission and so the local planning policies
for Ridley Road market, and whether planning permission will be granted, are
critical to these traders' futures.
Image of the planned redeveloped Ridley Road Shopping Village with rear ground floor offices and luxury flats above
The Shopping Village is just one of the sites in Ridley Road which
is potentially facing re-development. We have already seen one planning
application granted for luxury flats - although this was later
overturned by the Courts. Other applications are in the pipeline.
many of the buildings in Ridley Road would benefit from refurbishment, it is
quite a different thing to replace the small affordable units, and market traders’
storage facilities, with unaffordable offices and luxury flats.
Last year Hackney resolved to dispose of these town centre sites, in and around Ashwin Street, to a developer to "maximise" the financial return to the Council . They call the sites the "Cultural Quarter". All are owned by Hackney, many are of heritage value, and all are presently occupied for affordable cultural and social uses. Could Hackney change its plans and instead work with the community to set up a Development Trust, to improve and expand these uses, without selling them off? What do you think? You can comment on the Dalston Conversation map
How does the conversation work?
On the Dalston Conversation home page you'll see "View map and comment". A click on that takes you to the local map. There's lots of speech bubbles on the map and you can click on them to see what others have said - and then you can click on Agree and Share those comments. At the top right corner of the map, in the menu bar, you will see "+Have your say". Click on that and you can then stick a virtual pin in the place you want to talk about and type in your comment. Other people can then agree with and share your comment. Hackney may well place greater weight in future on people's shared concerns and on those comments which most people agree with.
This photo is of the Halloween event at the Eastern Curve Garden last year ( Don't miss it this year! Ed.). The Garden has been under constant threat of being turned into a hard-surfaced shopping circuit linking Dalston Square to Kingsland Shopping Centre. Do you think the Dalston Area Action Plan for the Garden should be changed to protect and expand the Curve Garden? You can comment on the Dalston Conversation web page
Is it a conversation with Hackney?
Not exactly - the map isn't interactive in the sense that you can have a 2-way conversation with people who have commented or with Hackney. But Hackney says there is more development coming, it's listening to the community, and that "your views will help us decide what our priorities should be" and "we want to make sure that our strategy to secure responsible regeneration has your priorities at its heart. Next year, we’ll set out a clear delivery plan based on your feedback." Hackney will also announceface-to-face events throughout autumn so, if you want to know about those, send an email email@example.com
The Dalston Conversation is not just about the "Cultural Quarter". Hackney want to know your views about the pressure for development of future Crossrail2 stations and the Kingsland Shopping Centre. Could Hackney help develop a neighbourhood plan that protects new homes for local people and not just absent investors and buy-to-let landlords - perhaps something like Cornwall's St Ives Council which requires a proportion of owners to actually live in new developments. Why do Hackney say they're now listening? When Hackney announced its plan last year, to dispose of it "Dalston Cultural Quarter" sites to a developer it caused a widespread and hostile reaction locally, particularly about the Curve Garden . We wrote about it here and here . The community's reaction caused Hackney to re-think its plans which is why it has now launched this new consultation called the Dalston Conversation.
Some people say gentrification and Hackney's licensing policies are killing Dalston's nigh time culture and economy. What do you think? Could more be done to ensure that there's something for everyone in Dalston? You could make a comment on the Dalston Conversation map. Can you be bothered? You may think, from past experience, that your views will make no difference. Whats changed? The local public's reaction and views expressed last year did cause Hackney to at least re-consider its approach. It's interesting and sometimes surprising to see what other people have to say on the Dalston Conversation website. Whatever your concerns - for Ridley Road market, the Curve Garden, historic buildings, affordable homes and work spaces, playgrounds, culture and nightlife, local crime, air pollution - it only takes a couple of minutes to agree with a comment, and to make your own comments. ( Why not give it a try - what's there to lose? Ed)
This quote is from the Aarhus Convention, to which the UK is a signatory. It requires early public consultation on environmental issues - like housing, green spaces, heritage buildings and air pollution - "when all options are open and effective public participation can take place" . Hackney says that that is what the Dalston Conversation is offering - but only time will tell.
Over 100 Dalston artists will open their studios to the public on Saturday from 11am to 5pm and there will be an exhibition and sale of work at St Marks Church Hall on Saturday extending into Sunday until 5pm as well.
You can plan an aesthetic trail on Saturday from this map showing the open studios. It shows where the artists' studios, and the exhibition of work for sale ( plus tasty food), will be open to receive you. And don't forget the After Party on Saturday at SET, 27a Dalston Lane til 2am
The exhibition of art and craft with food for sale at St Marks church hall is on both Saturday 8th until 7pm and Sunday 9th September until 5pm.
This DalstonArts150 short film gives the backstory of Dalston's 150 years of association with the performing and visual arts and explains why the character, cultural uses and affordability of the area are again under threat from "regeneration".
The artists' events are a continuation of the DalstonArts150 celebrations which have included an exhibition at Bootstrap Printhouse, a guided heritage trail and beautifully produced local map ( still available from Eastern Curve Garden), a gospel choir concert at Shiloh Pentecostal Church and film screenings of our cultural heritage at Cafe Oto. The DalstonArts150 short film gives a background story of Dalston's 150 years of association with the performing and visual arts and explains why the character, cultural uses and affordability of the area are again under threat from "regeneration".
Winstan Whitter will be presenting and discussing his brilliant documentary film "Legacy in the dust: The Four Aces story" at a rare screening in Cafe Oto on Monday 27th August as part of the DalstonArts150 celebrations. You can read more about it and get tickets in advance here and on the door. The evening will begin with a very special treat - a trailer to Winstan's latest film "The Bastille Concerto" (see below)
Also on the platform with them will be Keith Drummond, the former lead singer of the roots rock reggae band Black Slate and a regular performer at, and patron of, the Four Aces Club.
And there's a very special treat in store to start the evening - a sneak preview of Winstan's current 'work in progress'. This is how he describes it:
Director: Tony Collins
+ Winstan Whitter
A short taster of a new film
by Tony Collins and Winstan Whitter.
The Bastille Concerto is the
story of a piece of music composed by Malcolm 'Shorty' Jarvis whilst in prison
with his friend Malcolm X.
Now, 70 years after it was
first composed it is being resurrected in the UK by a generation of Jazz
artists who form part of its fascinating history.
Clifford Jarvis - the son of 'Shorty' who wrote the Bastille Concerto
"The Bastille Concerto" traces the story of a jazz composition passed from father to son and reveals links between Boston USA and Dalston UK and the part played by Pyramid Arts in its former home at 10-14 Ashwin Street, Dalston. The film includes footage of the brilliant jazz drummer Clifford Jarvis, known for his work with Sun Ra's Akestra, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and others, who settled in Dalston. Clifford became a mentor to many of the talented young musicians emerging in the UK 1980s jazz scene who have later gone on to win international acclaim.
The film evening is hosted by Cafe Oto in continuation of the DalstonArts150 celebrations. Forthcoming events include a not-to-missed weekend of local artists' open studios on Saturday 8th September
and an exhibition of art and craft with food for sale at St Marks church hall on both Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September.
This short film gives a background story of Dalston's 150 years of association with the performing and visual arts and an explanation of why the character, cultural uses and affordability of the area are again under threat from "regeneration" .
Here's a rare opportunity to see Winstan Whitter's brilliant documentary film "Legacy in the dust: The Four Aces story". It will be screened at Cafe Oto on Monday 27th August as part of the DalstonArts150 celebrations. You can read more about it and get tickets in advance here and on the door.
The film charts the story of the legendary Four Aces reggae club which started life in 1966 in Dalston's old 1886 Circus and Victorian Variety Theatre entrance halls at 14 Dalston Lane. The venue soon acquired an enviable reputation and went on to present reggae and soul artists of international standing, and later became The Labyrinth hosting dances and raves attracting thousands of visitors.
The main entrance of the former Labyrinth Club in Roseberry Place off Dalston Lane. The 1886 building was originally a circus, later a Victorian variety theatre and then the Gaumont Cinema until 1963
The film is one of several which have built Winstan Whitter's reputation for radicaL documentary film making - others include You Cant Move History about the fight to preserve skateboarding on the South Bank and Save our Heritage about the destruction of Dalston's architectural and cultural heritage. Winstan will be present to discuss his films and to present a trailer for his latest film - which traces the story of a jazz concerto passed from father to son, and reveals links between Boston and Dalston and the part played by Pyramid Arts of Dalston's Ashwin Street in the emerging 1980/90s jazz scene in the UK. (Fascinating stuff! Ed.)
This short film gives a Dalston background story of its 150 years of association with the performing and visual arts and an explanation of why the character, cultural uses and affordability of the area is again under threat from "regeneration" .
DalstonArts150 has been staging various events in 2018 to celebrate Dalston's 150 years of association with the performing and visual arts. Forthcoming events include a weekend of local artists' open studios and an exhibition and sale of work at St Marks church hall on 8th and 9th September.
Last Wednesday 6th June Hackney's Planning Committee gave permission for the Curve Garden's new Big Bad Neighbour to be built on the Thames House site next door.
The development will be like a 30 metre high cliff running right along the Curve Garden's southern boundary, not only blocking out most of its morning and early afternoon sunshine, but dominating the open space and destroying its feeling of intimacy. You'll see the plans reported previously here.
In granting permission the Committee also pulled the final curtain across the Council's long planned Eastern Curve pedestrian 'green' public walkway. Sunshine will now be almost completely blocked out for the entire length of the proposed new public realm which curves eastwards from the Peace Mural along the former railway line round towards Dalston Lane bridge where it once joined up with the North London overground line.
The decision will have a particularly devastating impact on the community's Curve Garden and the 130,000 visitors each year who enjoy the natural environment in a dense urban setting, find solace there and enjoy its diverse cultural events.
School children, who have very little access to open green space locally, come to play in the sunshine and learn about plants in a secure and secluded environment. The space will now become overshadowed and overlooked.
The designs for the new Thames House redevelopment have also been criticised for its sub-standard accommodation - the new affordable family homes have been pushed into the darkest corner of the site (Block C) where 75% of kitchens,45% of bedrooms and 31% of living rooms will fail to meet BRE standards for natural light. Also contrary to planning policy, there will be no common amenity areas for the private residents and office workers.The cramped and overcast open spaces are said to be for "access only".
Strong objections were made to the Committee by Dalston Ward Councillors Soraya Adejare and Peter Snell as well as an impassioned plea from the Curve Garden's Marie Murray. Bill Parry-Davies, for OPEN, referred to the clear breaches of the Dalston Area Action Plan and the Council's recent Appraisal which warned that the greatest threat to the Conservation Area's character and numerous local heritage assets was from "large scale redevelopment" of precisely this type.
Planning Committee Chair Vincent Stops celebrating Hackney's "regeneration".
( Who's been running rings round Mr Stops? Council officers and developers? Ed.)
Such was the Committee Chair, Vincent Stops's, enthusiasm for the scheme that he proposed the Committee move to discussion and vote as soon as the objectors' allotted 5 minutes was completed. He had to check himself when realising that, in his "excitement", he had not thought it necessary to invite the developer's agent to justify its proposals. The Committee voted 5:1 to rubber stamp its planning officer's recommendation to approve the Thames House re-development scheme.
Despite the hundreds who have recently expressed their concern for the Curve Garden to the Council's planners it all seemed, once again, that the public's opinion - and even objections from our elected representatives - carried very little if any weight. Criticisms had been made of the planned development from the outset, but little was changed. Those criticisms were repeated again and amplified when the application was formally published and again when put to the Committee for approval.
The Eastern Curve public realm
Hackney's planned Eastern Curve public realm started life as a proposed "linear park" in the draft Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP). That received public support but, after the consultation closed, the Council changed the proposal to a hard surfaced "shopping circuit", linking Dalston Square to a proposed re-developed Kingsland Shopping Centre, with "some"green spaces. Despite OPEN's objections to the loss of bio-diversity, and the lack of evidence that a 'retail led' plan was viable, the government inspector approved the amended DAAP in October 2012.
The Eastern Curve planned new public realm started to take on its cliff like form when the 14-storey Kinetica Apartments tower obtained planning approval in 2007.
Next to it came the 8-storey Point1 Apartments in 2008
Finally, after the slow recovery following the 2009 banking crash, came Martel Place with its token "public space" in a north facing canyon where the sum rarely touches the ground. The Thames House redevelopment will pull the final curtain across the Council's Eastern Curve public walkway and block out the remaining sunshine except at the very end of the day in summer.
The future of the Curve Garden The damage to the Curve Garden's setting, and indeed its survival, will be compounded by new risks arriving with the Council's latest plans to "regenerate" the Dalston "Cultural Quarter". Hackney bought the bomb damaged 1-7 Ashwin Street (Site 2), and the buildings and land bounding the Curve Garden's entrance, in 2009. It reported that its "masterplan has identified the need to regenerate
the north side of Dalston Lane and Ashwin Street as a natural progression of
the ongoing development to the south with Dalston Square” ( It didn't explain what was "natural" about the Dalston Square development. Ed.) In 2010 it then demolished the charming old houses at 2-8 Ashwin Street, without a full structural survey to investigate their potential for retention, to create another redevelopment site. Both of the 1-7 and 2 - 8 Ashwin Street vacant sites, as well as the surviving houses at 10-16 Ashwin Street which have been occupied for decades as affordable cultural workspace, and an unidentified area of the Curve Garden's land, are now included within Sites 2 & 3 as part of Hackney's plans for sale to a "private development partner" on terms which will "maximise capital
value and rental revenue for the Council". The Council will shortly unveil plans for a new public consultation on these proposals.